Collaboration and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

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.

 

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