Essential Elements Of A Professional Learning Community


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Essential Elements Of A Professional Learning Community

  1. 1. Essential Elements of a Professional Learning Community Anthony Muhammad Principal Southfield High School Southfield, Michigan
  2. 2. Schools Don’t Make a Difference <ul><li>Student achievement is primarily a function of his or her background. Schools do little to lessen the gap between more and less able students, and there is little evidence to suggest school reform has any impact on student achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Jenks, et al, Inequality: A Reassessment of the Effects of Family and Schooling in America , 1972 </li></ul>
  3. 3. Schools Do Make a Difference <ul><li>Effective Schools Research of Ron Edmonds, Larry Lezotte, Wilbur Brookover, Michael Rutter, and others concluded that: </li></ul><ul><li>All Children Can Learn </li></ul><ul><li>Schools control the factors to assure that students master the core of the curriculum </li></ul>
  4. 4. Schools Do Make a Difference <ul><li>An analysis of research conducted over a thirty-five year period demonstrates that schools that are highly effective produce results that almost entirely overcome the effects of student backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Marzano, What Works in Schools , 2003 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Current Challenges <ul><li>Flattening of the world and a new world economic structure </li></ul><ul><li>NCLB </li></ul><ul><li>Training and retaining qualified educators </li></ul><ul><li>Reform vs. Reculturing </li></ul><ul><li>Societal value of education </li></ul><ul><li>“ These are the best of times and the worst of times” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Three Ways to Change People <ul><li>Use of Force </li></ul><ul><li>Persuasion </li></ul><ul><li>Learning (which leads to a paradigm shift) </li></ul>
  7. 7. PLCs? <ul><li>The PLC framework provides a vehicle for educators to implement best practice in a way that is both beneficial to the students and the adults </li></ul><ul><li>The primary function of a PLC is Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Systematically implemented for the first time at Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL by Dr. Richard DuFour and his staff </li></ul>
  8. 8. Professional Learning Communities <ul><li>“Professional” – someone with the expertise in a specialized field, an individual who has not only pursued advanced training to enter the field, but who is also expected to remain current in it’s evolving knowledge base. </li></ul><ul><li>“Learning” – ongoing action and perpetual curiosity </li></ul><ul><li>“Community” – a group linked by common interests </li></ul>
  9. 9. Characteristics of a PLC <ul><li>Shared Mission, Vision, Values and Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Collective Inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative Teams </li></ul><ul><li>Action Orientation and Experimentation </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous Improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Results Orientation </li></ul>
  10. 10. PLC Fundamental Questions about Learning <ul><li>What do we want students to know? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we know if the students have learned it? </li></ul><ul><li>What do we do when students don’t learn it? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we believe that they can learn it? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Levey Middle School A PLC Success <ul><li>97% African-American student population – Student population of 800+ </li></ul><ul><li>School-wide Title 1 eligible </li></ul><ul><li>Over 80% of students live in single female headed households </li></ul><ul><li>Achievement scores well below state averages </li></ul><ul><li>25% – 40% annual student turnover rate </li></ul><ul><li>2000-2001 school over 3000 disciplinary suspensions </li></ul><ul><li>2000-2001 school year over 150 students failed two or more classes and were required to attend summer school </li></ul><ul><li>2001-2002 school year, I was the third principal in three years </li></ul>
  12. 12. Year #1 <ul><li>Make school principle-centered and defend those principles </li></ul><ul><li>Establish order and discipline for all </li></ul><ul><li>Build belief and provide vision for staff, students, and parents </li></ul><ul><li>Study high-achieving schools with same demographic and SES status </li></ul>
  13. 13. Year #2 <ul><li>Update and align curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Develop Common Assessments </li></ul><ul><li>Systematically provide daily collaboration time for teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Systematically provide support for struggling students </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze school mission and vision </li></ul><ul><li>Continue work from Year #1 </li></ul>
  14. 14. Year #3 <ul><li>Professional Development! </li></ul><ul><li>Staff Evaluation! </li></ul><ul><li>Work on Affective Needs </li></ul><ul><li>Continue work from Years 1 & 2 </li></ul>
  15. 15. Year #4 <ul><li>Build Community Partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Market School </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize Parent and Community Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Implement Service Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Continue work from Years 1,2, and 3 </li></ul>
  16. 16. Year #5 <ul><li>Develop a system to constantly monitor, evaluate, and refine systems </li></ul><ul><li>Develop future leaders among staff members </li></ul><ul><li>Showcase your school state wide and nationally </li></ul>
  17. 17. Levey Achievement Results <ul><li>Reading </li></ul><ul><li>2001 – 40% Proficient (State Avg. 68%) </li></ul><ul><li>2005 – 88% Proficient (State Avg. 62%) </li></ul><ul><li>Math </li></ul><ul><li>2002 – 42% Proficient (State Avg. 54%) </li></ul><ul><li>2005 – 76% Proficient (State Avg. 62%) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Other Levey Victories <ul><li>2004-2005 school year, 6 students failed one or more academic classes, down from 150 in 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>2004-2005 school year, 148 student suspensions, down from over 3000 during the 2001-2002 school year </li></ul><ul><li>52% of Levey students are on the honor roll </li></ul><ul><li>18 charitable student service learning projects completed during the 2004-2005 school year </li></ul><ul><li>Trailblazing “Hip-Hop” class that links literacy to pop culture </li></ul><ul><li>Business course and student run store offered for students in grades 6, 7, and 8 – “The Levey Dollar Store” </li></ul>
  19. 19. Paradigm Shifts <ul><li>Schools are not places designed to give adults a place to work, they are designed to be places where students are served </li></ul><ul><li>Data is used to inform instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration is essential to achieve success for all students and is embedded into the school culture </li></ul><ul><li>Assurances are made to students as well as adults </li></ul><ul><li>Students are guaranteed extra time and support when they struggle with learning essential standards </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development is job embedded </li></ul>
  20. 20. Paradigm Shifts <ul><li>Shifts the emphasis from “teaching” to “learning” </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers focus instruction on Essential Standards and teach more in-depth </li></ul><ul><li>Goal is success for all instead of “sorting” students </li></ul><ul><li>Celebration of achievement is a part of a PLC’s culture </li></ul><ul><li>Provide systematic and timely intervention </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Levey Formula <ul><li>Same Students + Same Building + Same Challenges + Same Parents + Same Community + Different School Professionals = </li></ul><ul><li>Different Results </li></ul>
  22. 22. Conclusion <ul><li>Why did you become a teacher? To change the lives of kids, to make a difference!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging environments need the best teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>You are the best, a revolutionary – Change the World! </li></ul>
  23. 23. Anthony Muhammad [email_address]