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of A Highly Effective
Professional Learning Community
 Leadership
 PLCs sustain where we find committed,
skilled leaders who continue to learn
 Collaborative learning teams
 Adult learning and student learning are
directly related to the quality of team
 Using data
 Information (data ) informs –does not
What is your dream
for the children?
Social Capital
“The Missing Link in School Reform” by Carrie R. Leana.
Stanford Social Innovation Review, fall 2011.
HUMAN CAPITAL – abilities, knowledge and skills
developed through formal education and on-the-job
SOCIAL CAPITAL – the relationships among teachers
that promote a teacher’s growth and improvement
a. peer helping
b. atmosphere of high trust
Study in NYC public schools:
 2005-2007
 1,000 4th and 5th grade teachers in 130 elem. schools
 Corrected for poverty, attendance & special education
 Focus on math (research shocking)
 Teachers 2x more likely to ask peers for help than
experts & 4x more likely to ask peers than principal
 Teachers who reported frequent conversations
w/peers re: math instruction & where there was trust
among teachers – the students had higher gains in
math achievement. So, social capital was a significant
predictor of achievement gains above and beyond
teacher experience or ability.
“Hope burns brightest in those who believe in their
ability to impact the future. Leaders of learning
communities will keep hope alive in their schools
and districts by modeling that belief and calling
upon all staff to do the same.”
“Professional learning communities set out to restore
and increase the passion of teachers by not only
reminding them of the moral purpose of their work,
but also by creating the conditions that allow them
to do that work successfully.”
A good leader is a learner / Asks questions / Seeks solutions.
Form a guiding coalition.
 Identify known and likely implementation challenges.
 Problem solve (include staff input regularly)
 Give teachers tools* to facilitate the PLC work.
Communicate expectations.
 Focus is always on all students learning at high levelswhatever it takes.
 Teachers are valued, supported, empowered and invited
to lead.
 Teachers know there are some non-negotiables.
Apply tight/loose leadership. Keep hope alive.
 Flexibility in beginning
 Non-negotiables (high expectations, focus on results,
Empower staff but tight on team accountability
Teams set their goals, but whole faculty sets vision,
collective destination for school
Using multiple data to inform decisions is nonnegotiable; some decisions made by teams, some
school-wide process
Create and support shared leadership
Collaborative Teams: Learn by Doing!
Curriculum and Instruction
 Teams create, revise & monitor curriculum
–align with NJCCCS and Common Core
State Standards (CCSS) – ongoing work,
should be routine practice
 Teams use resources and their collective
experience to improve instruction – serves
to improve teachers’ pedagogy
Collaborative Teams: Learn by Doing!
Teams focus on student learning objectives
and track student learning. DuFour:
What do we want students to know?
What instructional strategies will be
How will we know if students don’t
What will we do if they don’t?
What will we do if they already know it?
Collaborative Teams: Learn by Doing!
A word about curriculum and instruction—
Things can get disconnected. Curriculum,
instruction and assessment must be tightly
connected. It’s your primary work and teams are the
2. Teachers are knowledgeable. But they need each
other to bounce ideas, share strategies, plan
interventions, share kids, think about barriers to
learning & solutions, and have fun together. This is a
culture of inquiry!
Collaborative Teams: Learn by Doing!
What do we want students to know and what
instructional strategies will be effective?
Establish common goals (school, team,
classroom) based on adequate information
Determine individual and team professional
learning needs to meet those goals.
Seek resources and tools to help you structure
team meetings focused on curriculum,
instruction and assessment.
Tuning Protocols Defined
1. a professional learning process that honors the work
we as educators are trying to do (our practice). They
help us fine TUNE (think of tuning a radio to get the
clearest reception or tuning a car so that it runs
better) our practice using a PROTOCOL or formal
process for examining our work in a supportive,
problem-solving group. Lois Brown Easton
2. a teacher presents actual work before a group of
thoughtful “critical friends” in a structured
reflective discourse aimed at “tuning” the work to
higher standards. Joe McDonald
Collaborative Teams
Hope is Alive
“Teaching at this school is a better experience
than I could have ever hoped for . . . . It is
amazing.” Elementary school teacher
PAIR UP: discuss for 2 minutes what makes/can
make your school amazing.
Be ready to share ideas – something you or a
colleague said that helps to keep us passionate.
5 minutes
Using Data
Analyze Student Data in Teams
Collect multiple data on student learning
 Summative data
 Formative data
 Social-emotional data
Data = information
Summative Assessment Data
What do we want students to know & how will we know if
they learned it?
 state tests gr. 3-8, 11
 school-wide interim assessments
 teacher-made tests, team designed tests
Opportunity to create SMART goals that everyone
agrees on and aims to achieves
Formative Assessment Data
What will we do if students don’t learn it? What will we
do if students already know it?
Interim assessments
Common formative - team created (weekly, monthly,
quarterly –intervals determined by team)
Student work
assignments, quizzes, projects, portfolios, etc.
Teacher-made tests
Social-emotional Data
How will we factor in influences beyond academic
Social worker, Nurse
Anti-bullying specialist
Other teachers (coaches, electives, tutors, etc.)
Other students
Referral & attendance records
Leadership. PLCs sustain where we find committed,
skilled leaders who continue to learn
Think of an excellent leader you know or work with.
What attributes qualify this person to be a PLC
5 minutes
Collaborative learning teams. Adult learning
and student learning are directly related to the quality of
team collaboration.
Think of a collaborative team you know or work
What attributes qualify this team to be called
5 minutes
Using data.
Data informs – does not drive - decisions
Think of a collaborative team that uses data
(information) to improve teaching and learning.
What are they doing right?
5 minutes
 NJ Tool Kit ([email protected] )
all staff members should download a
personal copy
 Teacher Leader Model Standards
 Learning by Doing (2006). Richard DuFour,
et al., Solution-Tree.
 Team to Teach: A Facilitator’s Guide to
Professional Learning Teams. (2008). Anne Jolly,
National Staff Development Council.
 Powerful Designs for Professional Learning, 2nd
ed. (2008). Lois Brown Easton, National Staff
Development Council.
 Leading Professional Learning Communities.
(2008). Shirley Hord & William Sommers,
Corwin Press.
NJDOE Online Resources
Professional learning planning documents:
PLC videos and materials:
THINKSHEET Instructions
Col. One
Decide on one, two or three PLC elements you would like to
implement in your school or district.
Col. Two
If present in the school/district, circle “Yes” and describe the successes
and challenges experienced. If not, circle “No.”
Col. Three
Reach agreement on some short-term and long-term steps to take to
reach your implementation goal.Your steps may fall into one or
more of the three themes; it is not essential to address all three.