Professional Learning Communities, called PLCs for short, focus on LEARNING, COLLABORATION and RESULTS. When thinking about LEARNING, we ask four questions: What do students need to learn? How will we know if they learned it? What do we do if they didn’t learn it? What do we do if they already know it? When thinking about a culture of COLLABORATION, we remember that no school can help all students achieve at high levels if teachers work in isolation. Schools improve when teachers are given the time and support to work together to clarify essential student learning, develop common assessments for learning, analyze evidence of student learning, and use that evidence to learn from one another. When thinking about RESULTS we know PLCs must measure their effectiveness on the basis of results rather than intentions. All programs, policies, and practices are continually assessed on the basis of their impact on student learning. Additionally, all staff members receive relevant and timely information on their effectiveness in achieving intended results.
The work of a teacher PLC includes inquiry cycles that include examining expectations, developing pacing guides, developing common formative assessments, providing quality first instruction, administering common assessments, analyzing data, and implementing interventions (RtI) and enrichment. Teacher leadership plays a critical role in the success of PLCs. One system we have put in place to support this distributed leadership in Orting is hosting PLC Summits for facilitators and administrators.
We have supported principals, central office directors and school boards in functioning as PLCs through engaging in collaborative inquiry around a real problem of practice, having evidence-based conversations around the work, and then responding to the needs of the system.
The following are some resources and presentations for Professional Learning Communities support.
- Article called “Sustaining A Sense of Urgency” and the protocol we used with it March 2014
- PLC Research quotes January 2014
- A collaboratively developed document that describes the roles and responsibilities of teacher-facilitators and administrators November 2013 – Leadership that Supports Effective PLCs
- Data Analysis Cycle and Protocol (OHS)
- “Journey of a PLC” presented at Teacher University January 2011 – http://www.slideshare.net/MarciShepard/journey-of-a-plc
- “Learning by Doing: An Introduction to PLCs” presented at Teacher University October 2010 – http://www.slideshare.net/MarciShepard/introduction-to-plcs-14009912