Where do we begin?
(Adapted from Professional Learning Communities at Work
Designed by DuFour, DuFour and Eaker)
December 6-8, 2013
What does PLC mean?
An on going- process in which educators work
collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective
inquiry and action research to achieve better
results for the student they serve.
PLC’s operate under the assumption that the key to
improved learning for students is continuous, job
embedded learning for educators.
DuFour, DuFour, Eaker and Many (2010)
Big Ideas & Core Values
Ensuring that students learn
–Learning for all
A Culture of Collaboration
Focus on Results
The PLC Big Ideas #1
LearningWe accept learning as the fundamental
purpose of our school and therefore are
willing to examine all practices in light of
their impact on learning.
“the fundamental purpose of the school is to
ensure that all students learn rather than
see to it that all students are taught-an
enormous distinction.” from Raising the Bar and Closing
the Gap-Whatever it Takes
Critical Questions of Learning
1. What is it that we expect them to
2. How will we know when they have
3. How will we respond when they
4. How will we respond when they
already know it?
The PLC Big Ideas #2
Collaboration- To co labor
We are committed to working together to achieve our
collective purpose. We cultivate a collaborative
culture through development of high-performing
A systematic process in which we work
together, interdependently, to analyze and impact
professional practice in order to improve our
individual and collective results.
DuFour, Dufour & Eaker
Gains in student achievement
Higher quality solutions to problems
Increased confidence among all staff
Teachers able to support one another’s strengths
and accommodate weaknesses
Ability to test new ideas
More support for new teachers
Expanded pool of ideas, materials, and methods
Judith Warren Little (1990)
“Wide ranging research…shows it is
impossible for even the most
talented people to do competent, let
alone brilliant, work in a flawed
system. Yet a well-designed system
filled with ordinary-but well trainedpeople can consistently achieve
stunning performance levels”
Pfeffer and Sutton (2006)
Lucky Number 7
Seven Keys to Collaboration in a PLC
Embed collaboration with a FOCUS ON LEARNING in
routine practices of the school.
Schedule time for collaboration in the school day and
Focus teams on critical questions.
Make products of collaboration explicit.
Establish team norms to guide collaboration (See next
Pursue specific and measurable team performance goals.
Provide teams with frequent access to relevant
When all is said and done, the norms of a group help
determine whether it functions as high-performing team or
becomes simply a loose collection of people working
Positive norms will stick only if the group puts them into
practice over and over again. Being explicit about norms
raises the level of effectiveness, maximizes emotional
intelligence, produces a positive experience for group
members and helps to socialize newcomers into the group
TIPS for Team Norms
Each team establishes its own norms.
Norms are stated as commitments to act or behave in
Norms are reviewed at the beginning and end of each
meeting until they are internalized.
One norm requires team to assess its effectiveness every
six months. This assessment should include review of
adherence to norms and the need to identify new norms.
Less is more. A few key norms are better than a laundry
Violations of norms must be addressed.
The Big Ideas of PLC #3
ResultsWe assess our effectiveness on the basis of
results rather than intentions. Individuals,
teams, and schools seek relevant data and
information and use that information to
promote continuous improvement.
How Should We Determine what is the right
work?- Best available evidence of positive impact
on student learning
Keys to Formative
– It is used to identify
students who are
in their learning?
– Are students who are
provided with an
additional time and
support for learning?
– Are students given an
to demonstrate their
If We Implemented What We Know
to be Best Practice
Common Curriculum -Learn What?
Teachers must come together to
agree on the “Learn What”
Common Pacing -Implementing the
Common Curriculum collaboratively
Common Assessment -Formative
Assessments designed around the
common curriculum to monitor
Are PLC’s an Option?
Loose vs. TightEffective school cultures don’t simply encourage
individuals to go off and do whatever they want, but
rather establish clear parameters and priorities that
enable individuals to work within established
boundaries in a creative and autonomous way.
– Procedures are “tight”
– Agreement on what is to be taught, not
how it is to be taught
Changing the Focus
Every student can learn
Every student will learn
Focus on teaching
Focus on learning
Assessment OF learning
Failure is an
Failure is not and option
Culture Shifts in a PLC
Shift in Fundamental Purpose
…… From teaching to learning
Shift in Use of Assessments
…… From summative to frequent
Shift in the Work of Teachers
….. From isolation to collaboration
Shift in Response When
Students Don’t Learn
….. From remediation to