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  • 1. The Power of Professional Learning Communities at Work™: Bringing the Big Ideas to Life Featuring Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Rebecca DuFour
  • 2. Session One: What Is a Professional Learning Community?
    • The purposes of this session are:
    • 1) To introduce the professional learning community concept, and
    • 2) To show the cultural shifts that must occur when a school decides to take action to ensure all kids learn
    • by becoming a PLC.
  • 3.
    • “ Schools have traditionally operated from the premise that educators have a responsibility to provide students with the opportunity to learn.
    • Whether or not students actually learn depends on factors educators cannot influence, such as innate ability, student motivation, a home environment that supports and encourages learning, student work habits, and so on.”
  • 4.
    • “ A professional learning community is an ethos that influences every single aspect of a school’s operation. When a school becomes a professional learning community, everything in the school looks different than it did before.” —Andy Hargreaves
  • 5.
    • “ Some students will always choose to fail, regardless of what we do in our schools and classrooms. It is impossible to help all students learn if students refuse to learn.”
    • “ We could help more of our students be successful if we were willing to work together to implement more effective practices.”
  • 6. Session Two: A Focus on Learning
    • This session shows how focusing on learning (instead of teaching) can change everything about the way a school and all of its classrooms are run—
    • from the way teachers select their subject matter,
    • to the way they assess learning,
    • to the way they respond when students do not learn.
  • 7.
    • The Charles Darwin School
    • “ We believe all kids can learn . . .
    • based on their ability. ”
    • The Pontius Pilate School
    • “ We believe all kids can learn . . .
    • if they take advantage of the opportunity we give them to learn .”
    • The Chicago Cub Fan School
    • “ We believe all kids can learn . . .
    • something, and we will help all students experience academic growth in a warm and nurturing environment .”
    • The Henry Higgins School
    • “ We believe all kids can learn . . .
    • and we will work to help all students achieve high standards of learning .”
  • 8. A Shift in the Response When Students Don’t Learn
    • From individual teachers determining the appropriate response . . .
    • to a systematic response that ensures support for every student
    • From fixed time and support for learning . . .
    • to time and support for learning as variables
    • From remediation . . .
    • to intervention
    • From invitational support outside of the school day . . .
    • to directed (that is, required) support occurring during the school day
    • From one opportunity to demonstrate learning . . .
    • to multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning
  • 9. A Shift in the Work of Teachers
    • From isolation . . .
    • to collaboration
    • From each teacher clarifying what students must learn . . .
    • to collaborative teams building shared knowledge and understanding about essential learning
    • From each teacher assigning priority to different learning
    • standards . . .
    • to collaborative teams establishing the priority of respective learning standards
    • From each teacher determining the pacing of the curriculum . . .
    • to collaborative teams of teachers agreeing on common pacing
  • 10. A Shift in the Work of Teachers
    • From individual teachers attempting to discover ways to improve results . . .
    • to collaborative teams of teachers helping each other improve
    • From privatization of practice . . .
    • to open sharing of practice
    • From decisions made on the basis of individual preferences . . .
    • to decisions made collectively by building shared knowledge of best practice
    • From “collaboration lite” on matters unrelated to student achievement . . .
    • to collaboration explicitly focused on issues and questions that most impact student achievement
    • From an assumption that these are “my kids, those are your kids” . . .
    • to an assumption that these are “our kids”
  • 11. Session Three: A Culture of Collaboration
    • The purpose of this session is to clarify how teams work in a professional learning community:
    • how they are organized,
    • what their purpose is, and
    • what steps will help a group of teachers become a collaborative team.
  • 12.
    • Collaboration or Coblaboration?
  • 13.
    • Collaborative team: A group of people working interdependently to achieve a common goal for which members are mutually accountable.
    • “ These are my kids, my room, and I am the ruler of my room.”
  • 14.
    • Horizontal teams: Teachers who teach the same course or grade level (content-specific or interdisciplinary teams)
    • Vertical teams: Teachers who teach the same content over different grade levels (perhaps including teachers from other schools in the district)
    • Logical links: Teachers who are pursuing the same learning outcomes (including teachers in special education or specialist subjects such as music, art, physical education, and so on)
    • Electronic teams: Teachers who seek connection with colleagues across the district, state, or world
    • ( Learning by Doing, DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006, pp. 93-95)
  • 15. Parameters for Creating Time for Collaboration
    • Students must remain on campus during collaboration.
    • It can’t increase costs.
    • It won’t result in significant loss of instructional time.
  • 16. Strategies to Create Time for Collaboration
    • Provide common preparation time.
    • Use parallel scheduling.
    • Adjust start and end times.
    • Share classes.
    • Schedule group activities, events, and testing.
    • Bank time.
    • Use in-service and faculty meeting time wisely.
    • ( Learning by Doing, DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006, p. 97)
  • 17.
    • The fact that teachers collaborate will do nothing to improve a school. The pertinent question is not, “Are they collaborating?”
    • but rather, “What are they collaborating about?”
    • Building a collaborative culture is a means to an end, not the end itself.
    • The purpose of collaboration—to help more students achieve at higher levels—can only be accomplished if the professionals engaged in collaboration are focused on the right things.
  • 18.
    • Team norms: Protocols or commitments developed by each team to guide members in working together. Norms help team members clarify expectations regarding how they will work together to achieve their shared goals.
  • 19.
    • A clear definition of norms
    • Examples of norms
    • Research on why norms are important
    • Research on the norms of the most effective teams
    • Templates for writing norms
    • Parameters to help a team assess the quality of norms
  • 20. Session Four: A Focus on Results
    • The purposes of this session are:
    • 1) To establish that the most powerful strategy for helping a school move forward as a PLC is to engage teachers in writing common assessments and using the data to respond to students, inform teaching practice, and fuel continuous improvement;
    • 2) To stress the significance of SMART goals in helping a group become a team and creating a results orientation; and
    • 3) To establish the significance of celebration in sustaining momentum.
  • 21. SMART Goals
    • S trategic and S pecific
    • M easurable
    • A ttainable
    • R esults-Oriented
    • T ime-Bound
  • 22.
    • Common assessment: An assessment created collaboratively by a team of teachers responsible for the same grade level or course and administered to all students in that grade level or course.
    • Formative assessment: An assessment used to advance and not merely grade learning. A formative assessment is an assessment FOR learning (that is, used as part of the teaching and learning process) as opposed to a summative assessment, an assessment OF learning (used to determine if the student achieved the intended outcome by the deadline).
  • 23. Common formative assessments are used frequently throughout the year to identify:
    • Individual students who need additional time and support for learning
    • The teaching strategies most effective in helping students acquire the intended knowledge and skills
    • Program concerns—areas in which students generally are having difficulty in achieving the intended standard
    • Improvement goals for individual teachers and the team
    • (adapted from Learning by Doing , DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006, pp. 214-215)
  • 24. To determine if an assessment is formative, ask:
    • Is one of the reasons we give the assessment to identify students who are having difficulty in their learning?
    • Do we require those students to devote additional time and utilize additional support to help them acquire the intended knowledge or skill?
    • Do we then give those students an additional opportunity to demonstrate that they have learned?
  • 25. A Shift in the Use of Assessments
    • From infrequent summative assessments . . .
    • to frequent common formative assessments
    • From assessments to determine which students failed to learn by the deadline . . .
    • to assessments to identify students who need additional time and support
    • From assessments used to reward and punish students . . .
    • to assessments used to inform and motivate students
    • From assessing many things infrequently . . .
    • to assessing a few things frequently
  • 26. A Shift in the Use of Assessments
    • From individual teacher assessments . . .
    • to assessments developed jointly by collaborative teams
    • From each teacher determining the criteria to be used in assessing student work . . .
    • to collaborative teams clarifying the criteria and ensuring consistency among team members when assessing student work
    • From an over-reliance on one kind of assessment . . .
    • to balanced assessments
    • From focusing on average scores . . .
    • to monitoring each student’s proficiency in every essential skill
  • 27.
    • Harvard sociologist Henry Louis Gates contends,
    • “ Collecting data is only the first step toward wisdom. Sharing data is the first step toward community.”
    • The goal of a learning community is ultimately to make data easily accessible and openly shared among members of a team so that team members can use it to inform and improve their practice and better meet the needs of their students.
  • 28. The 3Rs advocate that every teacher should have the benefit of:
    • 1. Regular and timely feedback on his or her student’s progress . . .
    • 2. . . . in achieving an agreed-upon essential standard
    • 3. . . . as measured on a valid, team-developed common assessment
    • 4. . . . in comparison to the other students in the school who are attempting to achieve that same standard.
  • 29. Tips for Incorporating Celebration Into Your School Culture
    • 1. Explicitly state the purpose of celebration.
    • 2. Make celebration everyone’s responsibility.
    • 3. Establish a clear link between the recognition and the behavior or commitment you are attempting to encourage or reinforce.
    • 4. Create opportunities for many winners.
    • ( Learning by Doing, DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006, p. 31)
  • 30. A Shift in School Culture
    • From independence . . .
    • to interdependence
    • From a language of complaint . . .
    • to a language of commitment
    • From long-term strategic planning . . .
    • to planning for short-term wins
    • From infrequent generic recognition . . .
    • to frequent specific recognition and a culture of celebration that creates many winners