Presentation on theme: "The First Step in Building a Professional Learning Community Austin G. Buffum, Ed.D. Senior Deputy Superintendent Capistrano Unified School District."— Presentation transcript:
The First Step in Building a Professional Learning Community Austin G. Buffum, Ed.D. Senior Deputy Superintendent Capistrano Unified School District
FUNDAMENTAL ASSUMPTIONS We can make a difference; our schools can be more effective. People improvement is the key to school improvement. Significant school improvement will impact teaching and learning.
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. The path to change in the classroom lies within and through professional learning communities. »- Milbry McLaughlin, Stanford University
Characteristics of Learning Community Shared mission, vision, values, goals Collaborative teams Collective inquiry Action orientation/experimentation Commitment to continuous improvement Results orientation
Barriers to Learning Community Inability to establish clear and focused educational purpose and goals.
First step in Improving Results The first question in increasing productivity has to be, “What is our purpose?” “What is the task we are to accomplish?” –Peter Drucker
Critical Corollary Questions If we believe all kids can learn –What is it we expect them to learn? –How will we know when they have learned it? –How will we respond when they don’t learn?
Barriers to Learning Community Teachers work in isolation.
Teacher Isolation The crush…of our myriad daily events and duties kept us from collaborating on such obvious and challenging concerns as how to teach composition more effectively, and how to make literature more exciting…and so we worked consciously and unconsciously toward our own goals, within the limitations of what each of us knew or did not know. »Mike Schmoker, Results
Need for a Collaborative Culture Throughout our ten-year study, whenever we found an effective school or an effective department within a school, without exception that school or department has been a part of a collaborative professional learning community. Milbrey McLaughlin, Stanford University
Need for a Collaborative Culture Improving schools require collaborative cultures….Without collaborative skills and relationships, it is not possible to learn and to continue to learn as much as you need to know to improve. –Michael Fullan
Need for a Collaborative Culture Creating a collaborative culture is the single most important factor for successful school improvement initiatives and the first order of business for those seeking to enhance the effectiveness of their schools. Eastwood and Lewis
Need for a Collaborative Culture If schools want to enhance their capacity to boost student learning, they should work on building a collaborative culture….When groups, rather than individuals, are seen as the main units for implementing curriculum, instruction, and assessment, they facilitate development of shared purposes for student learning and collective responsibility to achieve it. »Fred Newmann
Group IQ There is such a thing as group IQ. While a group can be no smarter than the sum total of the knowledge and skills of its members, it can be much “dumber” if its internal workings don’t allow people to share their talents. Sternberg
Assumptions IF schools are to improve, staff must develop the capacity to function as PLCs. IF schools are to function as PLCs, they must develop a collaborative culture. IF schools are to develop a collaborative culture, they must overcome a tradition of teacher isolation. IF schools are to overcome their tradition of teacher isolation, teachers must learn to work in effective, high performing teams.
Definition of Team A group of people working INTERDEPENDENTLY to achieve a common goal
Keys to Effective Teams Collaboration embedded in routine practices WITH A FOCUS ON LEARNING Time for collaboration built in the school day and school calendar
Parameters for Collaborative Time Try not to keep the kids at home Try not to increase costs Try not to significantly impact instructional time
Keys to Effective Teams Collaboration embedded in routine practices Time for collaboration built in to the school day and school calendar Teams focus on key questions Products of collaboration are made explicit Team norms guide collaboration Teams pursue specific and measurable performance goals
Identify a SMART goal for your school Specific and Strategic Measurable Attainable Results-oriented Time bound
Are these SMART Goals? By the end of the 2004-2005 school year we will: Implement three new reading strategies aligned with the skills and concepts outlined in the state standards. Increase the use of cooperative learning activities in our classrooms by 25%. At least 90% of second grade students will score 80% or higher on the district reading assessment.
Keys to Effective Teams Collaboration embedded in routine practices Time for collaboration built in the school day and school calendar Teams focus on key questions Products of collaboration are made explicit Team norms guide collaboration Teams pursue specific and measurable performance goals Teams have access to relevant information
DATA RICH, BUT INFORMATION POOR Schools are often data rich, but information poor. Data is not information. Translating fact to understanding means relating data to something you know and can visualize. This typically requires comparison.
Feedback is Relevant to Teachers When The results focus on the performance of their students, In meeting an agreed-upon standard, On a valid assessment, In comparison to others.
Team Learning Process Clarify Common Outcomes by Course or Grade Level Develop Common Assessments Establish Specific, Measurable Goals Analyze Results Identify Improvement Strategies
“With sex education, self-esteem, multiculturalism, computer studies, and inclusion, I’m not going to have time for reading, writing, and arithmetic. That’s where you, as parents, come in ….”