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Professional Learning Communities


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  • 1. Professional Learning Communities PLC’s (Principal’s Learning Creatively: Beamer, Hutton, Lyle, and Williams
  • 2. What are Professional Learning Communities (PLCS)?
    • A professional learning community is characterized by the collaborative work of educators to continuously seek, share, and act on their learning in order to improve
    • their practice for the purpose of improved student outcomes (Astuto, 1993).
  • 3. Why Are Professional Learning Communities Important?
    • They function as an effective strategy for building school capacity around core issues of teaching and learning (Darling-Hammond, 1995);
    • They foster the democratic practices required to undertake and sustain fundamental, systemic change (Bryk, 1994); and,
    • They can serve as a mechanism for transforming school culture.
  • 4. How Do PLCS Impact Students?
    • By modeling collegiality, intellectual inquiry, critical discourse, and continuous improvement, professional learning communities raise the expectation and standard for students’ level of engagement, development, and achievement .
    • Studies indicate that students tend to be engaged in learning at high intellectual levels when the adults are engaged with one another and with their students at high intellectual levels around a shared vision for student success.
  • 5. What are Key Characteristics of PLCS?
    • Shared Norms and Values
    • (Vision/Mental Image)
    • Collective Responsibility for Shared Norms and Values
    • Focus on Student Learning
    • De-Privatization of Practice
    • Collaboration/Collective Creativity
  • 6. Conditions and Structures Necessary to Support PLCS
    • School leadership support, school autonomy and shared decision- making.
    • Time for teacher planning and analysis.
    • Professional development opportunities.
    • Resources.
    • Training in the skills required to facilitate collaborative work.
  • 7. Quality PLCS are characterized by the same attributes associated with high quality professional development.
    • They shift the notion of professional competence from individual teacher expertise to professional community expertise;
    • They foster a collective sense of responsibility for students’ progress (Anderson, Rolheiser, & Gordon, 1998);
    • They are inherently job-embedded and team-based (Darling-Hammond, 1996,1998b);
    • They require a community of learners to translate into higher levels of learning for all (Jones, 1998; Sparks & Hirsh, 1997); and,
    • They are embedded in school-wide goals for student learning specific to the school community (Renyi, 1998; CCSSO, 1997; Sparks,1998).
  • 8. PLCS Set SMART Goals
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Realistic
    • Tangible
  • 9. Observed Outcomes For Staff
    • Increased commitment to the mission and goals of the school and increased vigor in working to strengthen the mission.
    • More satisfaction, higher morale, and lower rates of absenteeism.
    • Significant advances in adapting teaching to the students accomplished more quickly than in traditional schools.
    • Commitment to making significant and lasting changes.
    • Higher likelihood of undertaking fundamental systemic change.
  • 10. Observed Outcomes For Staff
    • Shared responsibility for the total development of students and collective responsibility for students' success.
    • Reduction of isolation of teachers.
    • Powerful learning that defines good teaching and classroom practice and that creates new knowledge and beliefs about teaching and learners.
    • Increased meaning and understanding of the content that teachers teach and the roles they play in helping all students achieve expectations.
    • Higher likelihood that teachers will be well informed, professionally renewed, and inspired to inspire students.
  • 11. Observed Outcomes for Students
    • Decreased dropout rate and fewer classes "skipped“.
    • Lower rates of absenteeism.
    • Increased learning that is distributed more equitably in the smaller high schools.
    • Greater academic gains in math, science, history, and reading than in traditional schools.
    • Smaller achievement gaps between students from different backgrounds.
  • 12. When Do PLC Teams Work Together?
    • Common Plan Time
    • During Inservice Time
    • During Meeting Times
    • After School
    • During School (release time)
  • 13. Examples of PLC Projects
    • Lesson Study
    • Differentiating Instruction
    • Developing Interdisciplinary Units
    • Integrating Community Resources
    • Using MAP Data to Drive Instruction
    • Incorporating Instructional Technology
    • Using Formative Assessments
  • 14. All PLC Work Has in Common…
    • Focus on Student Learning.
    • Analysis of Student Work/Performance.
    • Collaboration/Collective Creativity.
    • Teacher Reflection on Practice.
  • 15. Together We CAN Make a Difference!