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Power of Professional Learning Communities

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1 Power of Professional Learning Communities
Schalmont Central School District September 3, 2013

2 The Power of Professional Learning Communities
“The most promising strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement is building the capacity of school personnel to function as a professional learning community” McLaughlin, 1995 The path to change in the classroom lies within and through professional learning communites.

3 Clarity Precedes Competence
“It is hard enough to explain what a complex idea means for action when you understand it… It is impossible when you use terms that sound impressive but you don’t really understand what they mean. Pfeffer & Sutton, 2000, p. 52 Rollout plan Invite hybrid attendees to stand. Our review discussion. Everyone was unanimous with this proceeding. You will hear us talk about clarity proceeding confidence. New educational lexicon.

4 PLC Defined An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. PLCs operate under the assumption that the key to improve learning for students is continuous, job-embedded learning for educators. (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2010) Framework, Process ongoing, ethos,

5 Video Clip What is a PLC? -

6 PLC Structure Long term stretch and short term goals.

7 Characteristics of a learning community
Shared vision, mission, values, goals Collaborative teams focused on learning Collective inquiry into best practice and current reality Action orientation and experimentation Commitment to continuous improvement Results orientation

8 Big Idea of a PLC We accept learning as the fundamental purpose of our school and therefore are willing to examine all practices in light of their impact on learning “Teaching without learning isn’t teaching, it’s just presenting” National Superintendent of the Year Student Achievment =the criterion for teaching curriculum and assessment, relentless regularity, is it working to improve student learning

9 PLC’s focus on the Critical Questions of Learning
1. What is it we expect them to learn? 2. How will we know when they have learned it? 3. How will we respond when they don’t learn? 4. How will we respond when they already know it?

10 Second Big Idea Video clip 2

11 Collaborative Culture
We are committed to working together to achieve our collective purpose. We cultivate a collaborative culture through the development of high performing teams. COLLABORATE = CO-LABOR Co-labor on the right work - educators work and learn collaboratively with a clear focus on the learning of students as well as themselves. Teachers are given the time and tools to collaborate, the organization and structure is set in such a way that makes this a priority. (Not an Add-On)

12 Why should we collaborate?
Gains in student achievement Higher quality solutions to problems Increase confidence among all staff More peer support of strengths and accommodation of weaknesses Ability to test new ideas More support for new teachers Expanded pool of ideas, materials and methods This list is from Little who did a study of multiple schools who were organized as a PLC.

13 Teams in Professional Learning Communities
Collaborate on the Right Issues To Impact Child & Adult Learning

14 Collaboration Video clip 3

15 Results Oriented Goals
We assess our effectiveness on the basis of results rather than intentions. Individuals, teams, and schools seek relevant data and information and use that information to promote continuous improvement.

16 Professional Learning Communities focus on results in two ways
1. To identify students who need more time and support for learning. 2. To identify strategies to improve upon both our individuals and collective ability to teach each essential skill and concept.

17 Third Big Idea Video clip 4

18 School Culture “ School culture is the set of norms, values and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, symbols and stories that make up the persona of the school” Peterson, 2002

19 Necessary Cultural Shifts
In traditional schools each teacher in isolation: Decides what to teach and when to teach it Administers infrequent summative assessments Focuses on inputs of teaching Practices the “if only” model of improvement Determines what to do when students don’t learn In Professional Learning Communities teams of teachers: Build shared knowledge about essential learning and pacing Administer frequent common formative assessments Focus on results – evidence of learning Practice the quote “What if” model of improvement – looking in the mirror Create systemic responses that ensure learning support for every student

20 Cultural Shifts and Reflections
Video clip 5

21 Timetable for PLC Sept 4 - PLC presentation #1: Building Shared Knowledge: Mission, Vision and Collective Commitments Sept 11 - PLC Presentation #2: Building Shared Knowledge: PLC tenets and SMART goals Sept 18 – PLC Presentation #3: Structure of teams, setting norms and looking at SMART Goals Sept 25 – Time for completion of tasks based on presentations Sept 27 – Professional Development Day, presentation/work time on Common Formative Assessments

22 Hand in Hand, We All Learn
“ Ultimately there are two kinds of schools: learning-enriched schools and learning-impoverished schools. I have yet to see a school where the learning curves… of the adults were steep upward and those of the students were not. Teachers and students go hand and hand as learners… or they don’t go at all.” Barth 2001, p. 23

23 Linking Learning and Improvement
Plan Do Study Act Plan – a change or action based on data, Do – the change or action, Study – the results to learn what did and did not work & Act – by refining the idea or implementing on a broader scale

24 Pursuing Both Short Term and Stretch Goals
“When building a results-oriented culture, leaders must find a balance between the attainable goals teams feel they can achieve in the short term and stretch goals – goals so ambitious they could not possibly be achieved unless practices within the organization change significantly.” Connect to strategic plan, “collegial support and professional development in schools are unlikely to have any effect on improvement of practice and performance if they are not connected to a coherent set of goals that give direction and meaning to learning and collegiality” Richard Elmore

25 SMART Goals Strategic and Specific Measurable Attainable
Linked to strategic priorities part of a larger vision of success for the entire school district Measurable Being able to measure a change in results based on specific actions Attainable -Within the realm of our influence and control Results oriented Define not only what is expected but a desired end point Time bound Helps keep achievement of the goal a priority

26 SMART Goal Worksheet

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