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Technical Assistance for Title I Schools: Introducing the PLC

Technical Assistance for Title I Schools: Introducing the PLC

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Technical Assistance for Title I Schools: Introducing the PLC

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  1. Technical Assistance for Title I Schools: Introducing the PLC Session I December 10th, 2009 Presented by Kenny Moles, Title I School Improvement Coordinator

  2. Agenda/Essential Questions • What is a professional learning community (PLC)? • How is team and school consensus built? • What are the structures within a school? • How does a school create a culture to support school improvement? Introduction to the PLC

  3. Introduction-Questions for Thought Why does knowledge of what needs to be done so frequently fail to result in action or behavior that is consistent with that knowledge? Do you agree your staff has all the necessary expertise to improve current results if members become more effective in working together? Introduction to the PLC

  4. Ideas for School Improvement • Improving schools involves three phases: • Phase One-actively developing an awareness and knowledge about your school’s current conditions; • Phase Two-creating a climate and commitment for change; and • Phase Three-restructuring the learning environment. Introduction to the PLC

  5. Essential Question #1 Are we ready for a change towards school improvement? Introduction to the PLC

  6. Essential Question #1 Activity: Review of School Systemic Continuous Improvement Process Introduction to the PLC

  7. Essential Question #2 What is a professional learning community (PLC)? Introduction to the PLC

  8. Essential Question #2 Activity: A new teacher is about to begin working in a traditional school and a PLC school. Listen to the scenarios of each school and make notes comparing the two schools on the T-chart. Introduction to the PLC

  9. Essential Question #2 Revisiting the question: What is a professional learning community? “Educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous, job-embedded learning for educators.” DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, and Many, 2006) DuFour, R., DuFour R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2006). Learning by Doing. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. Introduction to the PLC

  10. Essential Question #2 • Six Characteristics of PLCs • Shared mission (purpose), vision (clear direction), values (collective commitments), and goals (indicators, timelines, and targets) – ALL FOCUSED ON STUDENT LEARNING • Collaborative culture with a focus on learning • Collective inquiry into best practice and current reality • Action orientation: learning by doing • Commitment to continuous improvement • Results oriented • DuFour, R., DuFour R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2006). Learning by Doing. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. Introduction to the PLC

  11. Essential Question #2 “The use of professional learning communities is the best, least expensive, most professionally rewarding way to improve schools . . . Such communities hold out immense, unprecedented hope for schools and the improvement of teaching”. Mike Schmoker (as cited in DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker, 2008) DuFour, R., DuFour R., and Eaker, R. (2008). Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. Introduction to the PLC

  12. Essential Question #2 • Activity: Discuss the following PLC issues with your school team: • Brainstorm the actions necessary if the school were to implement PLC practices. • Identify the challenges to such practices. • Brainstorm actions to address the challenges. Choose a recorder to document your school’s responses on chart paper and hang on wall for sharing with others. Introduction to the PLC

  13. Essential Question #3 How is team and school consensus built? Introduction to the PLC

  14. Building Consensus Steps to building consensus • Create a strong leadership team • Seek to understand the needs of the system before seeking to be understood • Work to build shared knowledge and collectively study the knowledge as a group before making a decision • Conduct an honest assessment of the present conditions compared to the school vision Introduction to the PLC

  15. Building Consensus Steps to building consensus • Develop a common understanding of the term “consensus” • Avoid inaction by delaying movement on an initiative until “all of us” agree • Utilize distributed leadership Introduction to the PLC

  16. Building Consensus Defining consensus Consensus is achieved when • all points of view have been heard and • the will of the group is evident even to those who most oppose it. Introduction to the PLC

  17. Building Consensus Activity-school staff discussions • Do we have an operational definition of consensus in our school? • Do we know at what point in the decision-making process we will move forward with an initiative? • Do we have a sense of what decisions require consensus? • When do we want to involve all staff in the decision-making process? • Are we developing our skills to hold crucial conversations? Introduction to the PLC

  18. Essential Question #4 What are the structures within a school? Introduction to the PLC

  19. Structures Within a School Schools are part of a system of education- resulting from legislation and policies at the federal, state and local levels. A school’s structure sets the tone for students’ learning environment. Introduction to the PLC

  20. Structures Within a School Activity-affinity chart • As a school team, brainstorm all of the structures/practices within a school. • Place answers on post it notes. Introduction to the PLC

  21. Structures Within a School • Categorize the information into one of these four categories: • Curriculum Management • Instructional Practices • School Effectiveness • Family and Community Connections Introduction to the PLC

  22. Question for Thought What policies, systems and practices, have your staff put in place to make improvements? • place these on post-it notes as well Activity: Plus/Delta Using your post-it notes, identify the items that reflect positive impacts upon your school culture and daily systems of operation. Then identify the ones that need revising. Introduction to the PLC

  23. Essential Question #5 How does a school create a culture to support school improvement? Introduction to the PLC

  24. Essential Question #5 How does a school create a culture to support school improvement? Culture is commonly thought of as “the way things are done around here”. Climate is the individuals’ “perceptions” of the work setting and derives from the context and its embedded culture (Hord & Sommers, 2008) Hord, S., Sommers, W. (2008). Leading professional learning communities: Voices from research and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press & National Association of Secondary Principals. Introduction to the PLC

  25. Essential Question #5 Introduction to the PLC

  26. Essential Question #5 Cultural Shifts in a Professional Learning Community are based on a shift in . . . • Fundamental purpose • Use of assessments • Response when students don’t learn • Work of teachers • Focus • School culture • Professional development DuFour, R., DuFour R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2006). Learning by doing. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. Introduction to the PLC

  27. Next Steps • Share the information on SEA support for schools in corrective action and restructuring with the entire staff. • Identify a core school improvement team. • Each school improvement team member should read pages 1-56 of the book Getting Started. • Replicate the activities done for the five essential questions during this first training session with the entire staff. Introduction to the PLC

  28. Next Steps-continued • Build a shared knowledge of key terms and concepts in a PLC. Pages 463-472 of Revisiting Professional Learning Communities That Work or pages 213-219 of Learning by Doing • Analyze the current master schedule for structures already in place to support the school as a professional learning community. • Develop an electronic portfolio to track activities and information utilized during the school improvement process. Introduction to the PLC

  29. Final Thoughts “Developing the capacity of educators to function as members of a professional learning community is the “best known” means by which we might truly achieve historic, wide-scale improvement in teaching and learning.” Mike Schmoker (as cited in DuFour, Eaker & DuFour, 2005) DuFour, R., Eaker, R. and DuFour R.(2005). On Common Ground. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. Introduction to the PLC