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Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s):

Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) Holly Springs High School

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In times of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves beautifully equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. -- Eric Hoffer, 1972

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A PLC is . . . P ROFESSIONAL? “Every teacher is a leader; Every leader is a teacher.” L EARNING? In a PLC School, learning applies as much to teachers, administrators, and parents as to students. Focus on instruction, curriculum and assessment. C OMMUNITY? Support Cooperation vs. competition Focus intensely on the mission, vision, goals, and values. Improvement of the whole vs. striving to get ahead individually.

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Professional Learning Communities at Work Mission, Vision, Values and Goals. Collaborative Teams. Changing Your School’s Culture. Planning a PLC-Model School.

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The Four Keys to a Successful PLC Mission: Clarifies Priorities/ Sharpens Focus Vision: Gives Direction Values: Guides Behavior Goals: Establish Priorities

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“Why do we exist?” Mission

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Schools exist because their mission is “learning”. Questions to ask as Educators What is it we expect all students to learn? How will we know when they have learned it? How will we respond when they don’t learn? How will we respond when they already know it? Mission

--Yogi Berra, 1947:

--Yogi Berra, 1947 “ You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going because you might not get there.”

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“What do we hope to become at some point in the future?” Vision

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Questions to ask as Educators with a Vision What are the essentials for our students? If we did an excellent job with the essentials, what would that look like? Vision

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“ How must we behave to create the school that will achieve our purpose?” Values

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Question to ask as Educators with values What attitudes, behaviors, and commitments must we demonstrate in order to create the school of our vision? Values

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“What results do we seek and how will we know we are making progress?” Goals

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Questions to ask as Educators with goals Which steps should we take first? What is our timeline? What evidence will we present to demonstrate our progress? Goals

Professional Educators. . . :

Professional Educators. . . Emphasize learning Emphasize active student engagement and significant content Collaborate with colleagues Focus on student performance and production Function as leaders

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Separated by their classrooms and packed teaching schedules, teachers rarely work or talk together about teaching practices. Linda Darling-Hammond, 1995

Collaborative Teams Engaged in Collective Inquiry:

Collaborative Teams Engaged in Collective Inquiry You cannot have students as continuous learners and effective collaborators, without teachers that have the same characteristics. Michael Fullan, 1993

Four PLC Assumptions about Collaboration:

Four PLC Assumptions about Collaboration If schools are to improve, staff must develop the capacity to function as professional learning communities. If schools are to function as professional learning communities, they must develop a collaborative culture.

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If schools are to develop a collaborative culture, they must overcome traditional teacher isolation. If schools are to overcome their tradition of teacher isolation, teachers must learn to work in effective, high performing teams. Four PLC Assumptions about Collaboration

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Collaboration is embedded into every aspect of the school culture Time for collaboration is built into the school calendar Products of collaboration are made explicit Teams have access to relevant information In a PLC school with high performing teams. . .

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In a PLC school with high performing teams. . . Teams pursue specific and measurable performance goals: S trategic & Specific M easurable A ttainable R esults-oriented T ime bound

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The SMART Goals process creates the motivation for team action and experimentation. But in order to apply the SMART Goals process effectively, individuals need strong team skills, the ability to understand and use data, and a willingness to engage in continuous improvement. The best way to improve schools is to develop the people within them. — Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker

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The SMART Plan Guides the work of the PLC. Emphasizes the measurement and tracking of progress toward the goal. Provides a means of analyzing the student work data.

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If you intend to introduce a change that is incompatible with the organization’s culture, you have only three choices: modify the change to be more in line with the existing culture, alter the culture to be more in line with the proposed change, or prepare to fail. David Salisbury & Daryl Conner, 1994

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A School’s Culture Might Mean. . . Shared decision-making and teamwork Effective meetings Focus on goals Continuous Improvement Results Oriented

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“Perhaps the greatest insight we have gained in our work with school districts across the continent is that schools that take the plunge and actually begin doing the work of a PLC develop their capacity to help students learn at high levels far more effectively than schools that spend years preparing to become PLCs through reading or even training.” Richard DuFour, et. al. Learning by Doing

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Where is HSHS? Common planning for collaboration Remediation time built into the school day I/I (Intervention/Interaction) Common Formative Assessments in core areas Analysis of data from common assessments Planning a PLC Model

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Where is HSHS? Common Grading Policy/Homework Plans Shared Mission Incorporation of clubs for all students to reinforce connection with school Advisor/Advisee Planning a PLC Model

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Planning a PLC Model Where do we need to go now? Key Questions to ask: How do we continue to help students that need remediation (Pyramid of Intervention)? How do we develop a shared vision and goals? How can we effectively use data in all aspects? What are some additional ways to get collaboration among colleagues?

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By emphasizing needed changes in the culture of the schools and the daily practice of professionals, the reform movement can concentrate on the heart of the school---the teaching and the learning process. Karen Seashore Louis, Sharon Kruse and Mary Ann Raywid, 1996

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Go HSHS Faculty!

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Resources DuFour, Richard and Robert Eaker. Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement . Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service, 1998. --and Rebecca DuFour. Professional Learning Communities at Work . Educational Workshop. Kennewick, WA, May 16-17, 2006. --et. al., Ed. The Power of Smart Goals . Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2006. --et. al., Ed. On Common Ground: The Power of Professional Learning Communities . Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2005 -- --

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