32 Slices
Medium 9781879639898

Chapter 5 A Call for Action

Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

At the conclusion of our workshops we often ask participants to complete an evaluation to give us feedback on the program, to indicate their degree of enthusiasm for the PLC concepts, and to identify the “next steps” they are prepared to take to advance those concepts in their school or district. Very discernible patterns have emerged over the years. Respondents are typically very positive about the call for schools with shared mission, vision, values, and goals where teachers work together in collaborative teams engaged in collective inquiry and action research, and where continuous improvement processes help the school focus and improve upon results. They heartily endorse the PLC model, and they would love to see it implemented in their schools; however, they are not always optimistic.

The reason for this lack of optimism typically depends upon the respondent’s position in the school district. Teachers report that they would love to see their school function as a PLC, but that a lack of administrative support would prevent it from happening. Principals report they would love to see their schools functions as a PLC, but teacher opposition and interference from the central office will prevent it from happening. Central office staff report they would love to see their schools function as PLCs, but ineffective principals and resistant teachers will prevent it from happening.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781934009055

Collaborative Teams

Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

SCHOOLS THAT FUNCTION as professional learning communities are always characterized by a collaborative culture. Teacher isolation is replaced with collaborative processes that are deeply embedded into the daily life of the school. Members of a PLC are not “invited” to work with colleagues: They are called upon to be contributing members of a collective effort to improve the school’s capacity to help all students learn at high levels.

Getting Started

THE COLLABORATIVE TEAM IS THE ENGINE that drives the PLC effort. Some organizations base their improvement strategies on efforts to enhance the knowledge and skills of individuals. Although individual growth is essential for organizational growth to take place, it does not guarantee organizational growth. Building a school’s capacity to learn is a collective rather than an individual task.

Whatever It Takes

THE CULTURE of a professional learning community is characterized by collaborative teams whose members work interdependently to achieve common goals, for which each member is mutually accountable. Special attention must be paid to the “interdependence” and “common goals” if we are going to have high-quality collaboration and truly effective teams.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781879639898

Chapter 3 Lessons Learned: Boones Mill Elementary School

Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

Rebecca DuFour

I first learned about professional learning communities when I was making the transition from being an assistant principal to becoming a principal in Franklin County, Virginia. To prepare for that transition, I attended a leadership conference at the College of William and Mary. The first speaker was Mike Schmoker, an educational consultant and the author of Results (1996), who spoke about strategies for helping schools and teachers become more goal-oriented. I felt very affirmed by much of what he said. His message was consistent with the Effective Schools Correlates that the county superintendent had instilled in our schools, and Schmoker’s message confirmed many of the things we were already doing in the Franklin County Public Schools.

The next presenter was Rick DuFour. He described schools that focused on learning rather than teaching as schools that

• Were united by a shared vision, collective commitments, and common goals

• Involved teachers in collaborative teams that considered the important questions of teaching and learning

See All Chapters
Medium 9781879639898

Chapter 6 Artifacts

Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

The following pages contain examples, handouts, and assessment tools that can be used as schools make the cultural shifts to becoming professional learning communities.

The Professional Learning Community Continuum

It is helpful to view the development of a professional learning community in stages. This is a tool for assessing each element of a professional learning community along four stages of a continuum: Pre-initiation, Initiation, Developing, and Sustaining.

Summary Checklist: Tracking and Assessing Cultural Shifts

This is a tool for assessing “where we are” as we move towards becoming a professional learning community.

10 Steps in Becoming a Professional Learning Community: A General Guide

Becoming a professional learning community is not a step-by-step process, but many schools have found this general guide to be helpful.

The New Catholic High School Mission

See All Chapters
Medium 9781934009055

Clarifying and Assessing the Essential Curriculum

Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

HAVING A CLEAR CURRICULUM FOCUS means that teachers in a learning community not only decide together what students should be able to do, they also decide what not to teach.

PLC at Work

IT IS AT THE TEAM LEVEL that teachers have the greatest opportunity for engagement, dialogue, and decision-making. When teachers have collaboratively studied the question of “What must our students learn,” when they have created common formative assessments as a team to monitor student learning on a timely basis, and when they have promised each other to teach essential content and prepare students for the assessments, they have exponentially increased the likelihood that the agreed–upon curriculum will actually be taught.

Learning by Doing

ASSESSMENT OF A STUDENT’S WORK should provide a rich array of information on his or her progress and achievement.

PLC at Work

ANY ASSESSMENT PROCESS MUST BEGIN by defining what it means to succeed.

PLC at Work

See All Chapters

See All Slices