The fundamental purpose of any school is to ensure that all students learn at high levels.
This requires educators and leadership to work together to meet the needs of each and every learner. One of the best ways to get these conversations going is to organize and maintain a high-performing Professional Learning Community, or PLC.
A PLC is a focused group that meets regularly to examine instructional practices and improve student outcomes. When implemented as a continuous process, it can profoundly impact a school’s structure, culture, and professional practice.
PLCs tackle challenges. They work to improve the use of a common language and common understanding. They keep schools focused on succeeding with student performance scales, assessments (formative and summative), tracking student progress, reviewing student work, building expertise on student-centered instructional strategies, problem-solving enrichment, interventions, and conducting instructional rounds to observe others teaching.
Creating & Using Learning Targets & Performance Scales:
By Carla Moore, Libby H. Garst, and Robert J. Marzano
Starting a PLC
If you’re at the beginning stages of putting a PLC together, the first thing you need to consider is how it will be organized. Who will fill various roles, such as Timekeeper, Resource Manager, Recorder, Process Observer, and Summarizer? What role will you play as the facilitator?
You’ll also have to create norms, general standards of behavior by which members agree to operate while in the group. Everyone must be involved in establishing the norms—and everyone must be held accountable for what they’ve agreed upon. Here’s a sample agenda that illustrates some potential norms:
- Opening – A five-minute rundown of the day’s purpose and targets, along with a quick review of the norms
- Team Check-in – Each teacher takes about 30 seconds to share concerns or to clear the air to allow for open dialogue
- Supportive Accountability – Share agreed-upon implementation or practice from last session
Next week, we’ll take a look at the PLC facilitator’s responsibilities and ways to ensure that meetings remain productive and orderly. Don’t miss it!