Presentation on theme: "Professional Learning Communities Leveraging Collective Expertise and Improving Professional Practice to Improve Student Achievement Mark Cerutti Director."— Presentation transcript:
Professional Learning Communities Leveraging Collective Expertise and Improving Professional Practice to Improve Student Achievement Mark Cerutti Director – Secondary Education Elk Grove Unified School District
Professional Learning Communities: Organizational and Leadership Readiness How do you assess your individual and collective leadership readiness for the successful development, implementation and evaluation of Professional Learning Communities? 2
Professional Learning Communities Is your school organization ready for Professional Learning Communities? –Do you as a school leader have the necessary experiential background, as well as pertinent knowledge/skill set to successfully implement PLCs? –Does the staff have the necessary experiential background, as well as pertinent knowledge/skill set to successfully adopt and participate in PLCs? –Does your schools Mission, Vision and Core Values align with Professional Learning Communities? 3
Professional Learning Communities: Essential Questions How do we define PLCs? What are essential characteristics? How do they form? Who gets to be part of a PLC? How do you know work is being accomplished? How do you know when the work is completed? How do PLC members act? How are PLC members held accountable? Who leads PLCs? What knowledge/skills are needed to effectively lead a PLC? How are PLCs assessed/evaluated?... Should they be? 4
Professional Learning Communities: Example of Key Characteristics –A focus on student learning –A collaborative culture –Collective inquiry into research-based best practice –Action orientation – professional learning by doing –All members mutually accountable for targeted results Adapted from Richard DuFour (Learning By Doing – 2006) 5
Professional Learning Communities: Rationale Why Professional Learning Communities? What distinguishes Professional Learning Communities from committees, teams, cohorts, ad-hoc groups... ? 6
Why Professional Learning Communities? Abundant research indicates they work: –Robert Marzano –Richard DuFour –Kati Haycock –Linda Darling-Hammond –Mike Schmoker –Ron Edmonds –Larry Lezotte Collective intelligence is more powerful than that of any individual –Do you/we believe in this? If so, there are several critical questions associated with PLCs that must be asked/answered. 7
Why 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. Milbrey McLaughlin Stanford University School of Education 8
Why Professional Learning Communities? 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 - Professor University of Wisconsin-Madison Director for the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools 9
Professional Learning Communities: FLEXIBILITY Having the freedom to pursue important tasks for a long period of time (staying the course) Being nimble enough to confront new challenges, to take on new members with alacrity Expanding focus when the need arises 10
Professional Learning Communities: FLEXIBILITY Flexibility is a necessary characteristic of effective and productive PLCs. The challenge to ensure flexibility is significant in that ardent, opposing forces may be present. How do we balance – –Depth and Breadth? –Stability and Change? –Diversity and Focus? –Networking and Integration? 11
Professional Learning Communities: EFFECTIVENESS Not all PLCs are equally effective We need to ensure there is clarity, precision, rigor, discipline and clear purpose to the work of PLCs so that they successfully raise both staff and students to higher levels of performance. How is PLC effectiveness measured? 12
Professional Learning Communities: SUSTAINABILITY How can we work to create learning communities that support enduring change that results in: –Improved teaching and services for all students? –Improved student achievement for all students? Confirmative Evaluation –Ensuring our efforts result in necessary changes/improvements 13
Professional Learning Communities: What is Needed There must be a PLC Framework in place which provides clarity and confirmation of: –Your definition of PLC –How PLCs align with and contribute to your Mission, Vision, Core Values –A confirmation by all staff that PLCs add value to the organization –Motivation and readiness 14
Professional Learning Communities: What is Needed There must be a PLC Framework in place which provides clarity and confirmation of: –A systematic means of implementation –An understanding of the culture change typically associated with PLC implementation –Alignment of PLC efforts to targeted school- wide student achievement goals –Resource allocation and alignment 15
The intent of sustaining professional learning communities, is to look beyond inclusiveness and transformation to the perilously difficult task of holding onto and improving upon valuable work once it has begun. The literature of educational reform is, unfortunately, replete with examples of beneficial changes that failed the test of time. Professional learning communities, if properly established, well maintained and sustained, can support enduring change. Professional Learning Communities Robert W. Cole - Educational Author, Founding Member of the Schlehty Center of Leadership in School Reform and Founder of Edu-Data) 16
The Power of Teacher Efficacy One of the most powerful sources of influence on student achievement was the development of administrative and teacher leaders efficacy about their jobs. It was found this efficacy stemmed from a clearly shared vision and beliefs and collaborative professional practice. –Research on effective schools – Kenneth Leithwood (Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy – University of Toronto). The study examined 180 high performing schools in 43 school districts.
Learning is the Work In seeking deep change, people have to learn in the settings in which they work. It turns out that learning in this way, individually and collectively, requires enormous focused and sustained attention to a small set of key factors that are essential for success. Continued on next slide...
Learning is the Work If one looks closely at the companies that do this well, such as Toyota and Southwest Airlines, what is striking is that being successful year after year, decade after decade, demands concentrated effort by scores of people reinforcing and leveraging each others efforts. This is why so few organizations do it. –Richard Elmore – Harvard School of Educational Leadership (2008)
A 7-Step Process It is imperative for schools leaders to focus on each of the seven steps to the successful institutionalization of high performance teams (Professional Learning Communities) –Culture shift –Defining PLC/High Performance –Identifying essential leadership characteristics –Goal setting (effective decision making) –Evaluation of team effectiveness –Sustainability
Key Elements of Leadership for Sustained Growth
Its hard work – but it works! As much attention must be paid to the health and performance of teams as it is paid individuals in your school organization. Teams are actually more fragile than individuals It requires 100% attention, 100% of the time, indefinitely... This take resources and tremendous energy.
Sustained Growth Leverage your collective expertise Improve your professional practice Improve student achievement –Sustaining organizational growth through the development of teams and individuals.