Professional learning Communities

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by teresaglass, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Feb 8, 2007

    Many schools are forming into small learning communities or professional learning communities. Some advocates say that these are the best hope for school reform. What are they?
     
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  3. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Feb 8, 2007

    Google "Dufour Professional Learning Communities."

    We have just begun building PLCs in our district, and I'm excited. They can be set up in any number of ways, and in multiple settings, but for us, we're focusing right now at each grade level. But they are NOT grade level meetings. Properly run, they require a set of "norms," a Robert's Rules of Order of sorts, on how to run each meeting, with "rules" set by the group members. For example: Each person will have a voice; We will stick to the agenda items... whatever.

    Our initial goal is to get used to the idea that the KIDS are the priority, and to eliminate classroom/teacher competitiveness and exclusiveness. On another thread, a teacher was saying how teachers in her school don't share information because they're too competitive. That is just nuts. What is the point of teaching if not to find what works best for your students, even if it means collaborating with others to see how they are doing the same thing, but more successfully. We will be comparing our assessments, and looking for strengths and weaknesses in ourselves, and then looking for ways to resolve those soft spots.

    That, in a l-o-n-g nutshell (sorry!) is what a PLC is! I encourage you to look them up and start a movement!!
     
  4. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Feb 8, 2007

    A great place to start an investigation into PLCs is a book called ON COMMON GROUND. It's by Dufour. We just read this as a study group at my school and it was an easy read and very enlightening.
    Kim
     
  5. jrunyan

    jrunyan Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2007

    I was actually hired as an Enrichment (PLC) teacher. My district hired 6 teachers to work in teams of 3 and service 3 elementary schools each. We come into the classroom for 50 minutes and teach enrichment activities in ELA and Math so that the classroom teachers meet (as a grade level) and discuss a variety of things.

    They had to come up with the "norms" for each meeting and the principals set their agendas. They also have to report back on what they discussed in their meeting. The classroom teachers are loving it because they are able to collaborate(sp) together and find out what works best for different concepts. They were also able to spend time really looking at our scores from the state test.

    So far it is working great (this is the first year for elementary and high school but it has been in place in the middle schools for a couple of years) and it appears that that the program will be in place next year.

    Sorry this was long but this is what I was hired for.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 9, 2007

    The term professional learning community describes a collegial group of administrators and school staff who are united in their commitment to student learning. They share a vision, work and learn collaboratively, visit and review other classrooms, and participate in decision making (Hord, 1997b). The benefits to the staff and students include a reduced isolation of teachers, better informed and committed teachers, and academic gains for students. Hord (1997b) notes, "As an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff-development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement."
    In terms of this definition of a PLC, my school certainly fits within the framework. Our faculty meetings are ones of inquiry, conversation and sharing experiences. We have decided on broad areas of inquiry- this year is math. We gear our discussions and thinking towards this area which ultimately leads to more questions and more discussion!! Our administrator (principal) is an educational leader who consolidates the shared thoughts and uses them to help guide our further collegial explorations.
    So is it the best hope for school reform? I don't know my thoughts on this one. It works in my district though, where the educators tend to be highly qualified, highly educated, at the top of their games and interested in 'teacherly talk'. Not sure it would be as welcomed in other districts.
     
  7. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Feb 10, 2007

    We have PLCs every month with the grade level, principal, resource, and the reading specialist. We go over Project Read, DRA and DIBELS scores (and progress monitoring), and then we talk about strategies to use with the at risk and some risk students during the next month.
     
  8. bonteach

    bonteach Companion

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    Feb 11, 2007

    Our head of school is doing an action research project in creating a PLC in our school. Many of us believed we were a PLC before he began placing us on a ton of committees. I have to tell you, that in a school with 4 administrators and 32 staff members, we dont have time for committee work. We never seem to have the opportunity to finish a task. Also it often seems like the administration is asking us to do their jobs for them. For example one of our administrators is the director of development and marketing. Yet we have a teacher committee on producing better PR for the school. Oh yeah and somewhere in their we are supposed to teach. I would love to hear about successful learning communities.
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Feb 11, 2007

    Is this a private school?
     
  10. EBKLYN

    EBKLYN Companion

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Hi,

    I want to let you know that I just happened upon this forum after posting a thread on the Kindergarten forum about professionalism lacking in the educational system and I would like to say that I am delightful to come upon this posting.

    On that note, I will like to say that I would like to know more about PLC. This system to me is what a lot of the schools in New York City needs desperately.

    We need to bring children in the forefront. It is not mostly about administrators, teachers and the politicians. It needs to be solely about the students.
     
  11. mnteacherguy

    mnteacherguy Companion

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Our school disctrict has implemented PLC's tied to our teacher alternative pay system that the state of Minnesota is pushing hard. We meet once a week for 50 minutes developing common assessments, lessons, norms, etc. It's been interesting so far....
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Seems to me, mnteacherguy, that if at least some of that effort isn't going into teachers' own learning, a real opportunity is being missed. I don't mean to criticize you personally, by the way.

    And I don't just mean pedagogy, I mean teachers getting to refresh their own knowledge and their own joy in learning.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Right now, we have 3 groups in our Professional Learning Community at school--grade k-3 teachers, 4-8 teachers, and French Immersion teachers. This year in our PLC, we decided to study reading strategies. Each month we dig into one strategy, examining how we use it in our classroom and looking at new things to implement. Our PLC is strictly voluntary (with no extra pay involved--that doesn't happen here), but we have quite high participation--almost 80% of the staff.
     
  14. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Our PLC time is incorporated into our regular "meeting days." For instance, on early release days, the days rotate around all-staff meetings, grade-level meetings, and PLCs. Of course, many of those days run over the "contract time" at school, but it doesn't bother me, since I'm here till dark anyway! HAHA!

    I think our district is actually considering going to EVERY WEDNESDAY early release days next year to help accommodate enough time to do these extra things. We will be adding a few instructional minutes to each day to accomplish this. I think it's a great idea and is that important.
     
  15. EBKLYN

    EBKLYN Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Hi TeacherGroupie,

    I think you hit it on the nail in your post "teachers getting their own knowledge and their own joy in learning". I believe this is a major problem in the educational system. That joy and love for the profession is deteriorating in my opinion.

    Education has become more about money and politics than about children.
     
  16. EBKLYN

    EBKLYN Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Hi MrsC,

    In my school, where I am teachers would not give up their time unless they are not getting monetarily rewarded and that is reaaaally saad to me.
     
  17. EBKLYN

    EBKLYN Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    My problem with this profession is why can't teachers show the initiative without always having the administration dictate to us?

    For example, at grade conferences in the school where I am there is always an administrator who is always present and controllling the meeting. In my mind that is not a grade conference then.

    But then again they know that teqachers can't be trusted to accomplish the task. I have seen it myself whereby the moment the teachers get together in my school we just want to gripe about admininstration or about the "bad" students.
     
  18. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Feb 16, 2007

    EBKLYN,

    From my experiences in NYC, morale is very low! That's a big reason why teachers don't want to be bothered... maybe they should focus on building and keeping good staff
     
  19. EBKLYN

    EBKLYN Companion

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    Feb 16, 2007

    Hi MissFrizzle,

    I agree with you that the morale is very low. In my opinion the administrators have developed misconceptions about teachers and it is left up to the teachers to change them because the students are the ones losing out in the long run.
     

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