32 Chapters
Medium 9781932127423

Section 2 Critical Questions of PLCs

Richard DuFour Solution Tree Press ePub

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In an astonishingly short period of time, the standards movement has swept the nation. While only a handful of states had adopted academic standards in the early 1990s, the use of standards is now a matter of federal law and all 50 states have adopted one version or another. Although the terminology surrounding standards varies widely, the notion that an educational system should have a coherent set of expectations about what students should know and be able to do is widely held in public and private schools throughout the world. As standards have become commonplace in the United States, forests have been cleared to publish the documents accompanying academic standards. Every textbook and curriculum document in the land claims to be “standards-based,” as if such an imprimatur were the educational equivalent of a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” of a bygone era. The cynics were certain that—along with Outcomes-Based Education, Behavioral Objectives, Mastery Learning, and a host of other reform ideas—standards would go the way of the dinosaur and eventually be of interest only to educational paleontologists of a future era. Standards advocates, on the other hand, were certain that the battle was won with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. Both sides were wrong. The one thing that can be said with certainty is this: Standards are not enough.

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Medium 9781934009055

Additional Time, Support, and Enrichment

Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES create a systematic process of interventions to ensure students receive additional time and support for learning when they experience difficulty. The intervention process is timely and students are directed rather than invited to utilize the system of time and support.

Learning by Doing

IN TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS, time is a fixed resource. The length of the school day, the number of minutes per class, and the number of days in the school year are all rigidly set. When time is up, it is time to move on. In a PLC, time is considered a critical component in learning, and the school becomes resourceful in providing additional time for students who need it. If learning is to be the constant for all students, time must become a variable.

Whatever It Takes

WHEN A SCHOOL BEGINS TO FUNCTION as a professional learning community, teachers become aware of the incongruity between their commitment to ensure learning for all students and their lack of a coordinated strategy to respond when some students do not learn.

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Medium 9781932127423

Section 5 A Call to Action

Richard DuFour Solution Tree Press ePub

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We often pose this question to groups with whom we work: “If we could present an absolutely irrefutable case that the successful implementation of professional learning community concepts in your school will result in higher levels of student achievement and greater professional satisfaction for your educators, would you be willing to make substantive changes in your traditional practices to effect that successful implementation?”

We are confident we can make a compelling case for PLCs. For those who would be persuaded by a clear consensus of the leading thinkers in the field, we point to the authors of this book and many other renowned educational leaders who endorse the concept. For those who want a solid research base in support of PLCs, we can provide it. For those who are skeptical of research and want to see actual examples of schools and hear from the practitioners who have created PLCs, we can refer them to schools at all levels.

In fact, it is not difficult to build a strong case for the concepts upon which the PLC model is based, and for years we looked for just the right argument—the most persuasive metaphor, the best powerful illustrative example, the clinching closing argument—that would be so compelling that educators en masse would acknowledge that the PLC model was preferable to their traditional practices.

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Medium 9781934009055

Closing the Knowing-Doing Gap

Robert Eaker Solution Tree Press ePub

THE QUESTION CONFRONTING MOST SCHOOLS and districts is not, “What do we need to know in order to improve?” but rather, “Will we turn what we already know into action?”

Learning by Doing

HERE IS THE BRUTAL FACT: The most common reason for failure to close the knowing-doing gap is not conflict with others, but conflict from within. We fail to do what we recognize we should do simply because it is easier to continue an unquestionably ineffective or bad practice than it is to adopt a new one.

Learning by Doing

ADVANCED PLC TRAINING does not come from formal training: It comes from doing the work of PLCs. It comes from trying a lot of things, learning from what works and what does not, thinking about what was learned, making adjustments, and trying again.

On Common Ground

SCHOOLS THAT WAIT FOR EVERYONE to get on board the school improvement train are unlikely to ever leave the station.

Getting Started

ISN’T IT IRONIC HOW FREQUENTLY we question the willingness of others to do what must be done to improve our schools, and in doing so, absolve ourselves of the responsibility for taking action?

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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

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