What We're Doing With Our Professional Learning Communities

       At the end of the year last year, our school’s professional development had to be planned for the following year. Books had to be ordered while pockets of money were available. Dates for PLC’s had to be booked so that subs could be scheduled. Program descriptions and agendas had to be written and submitted so that teachers could earn CEU’s. But in order to do all of this, data had to be examined and synthesized. Lots of data. There were piles of student achievement data and assessment data. Many staff members were involved in examining these numbers and searching for trends, successes, and concerns. I didn’t hate this process. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed the hunt for tendencies and leanings that might translate into instructional ideas.

       Because I believed that instructional practices directly impacted student achievement, I also sought the answers to several of my own questions. How did teachers interact with each other and with their principal? Did teachers find the current professional development opportunities useful? What were the priorities of administrators and parents? What instructional practices were teachers using? Listening and watching throughout the school year provided the answers to most of my questions. So now, we are starting a new year and our school is about to launch a menu of professional development sessions based on student data, the school improvement plan, and teacher feedback. Next week, I will post about the details of this collaborative endeavor and how our staff responded.

What is happening with PLC's at your school this year?

Drafts of math and literacy session descriptions and a registration
form for our teachers to fill out and turn in. Geez, I hope this
goes over well!


  1. I believe you got your professional learning just doing the planning, Diana! What a complicated task for all of you. I hope it does go smoothly, and some is out of your hands, because it also depends on the place where some go and that presenter, etc. I'm looking forward to hearing the details.

  2. I am going to share this with my principal. We are embarking on some big changes in our school. PLC's are in place but this year, we will tackle Regie Routman's Residence training for reading and writing. I like the fact that most of your planning was done in the spring when your information was fresh. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more about your experience. For the past few years we have experimented to try to find a good PD model. Two years ago we formed teacher groups based on common interests. Last year we had a whole school study of creativity plus individual teacher goal setting. In addition the primary teacher chose to spend time on looking at reading and writing instruction and how it affects student learning. We don't have a literacy coach. This year there is choice and flexibility to how teachers assess and set their goals. I am not sure how it is going to work.

  4. I'm not at a school this year, but I'm working with teachers. I think it would be great to help them foster a PLC, but right now I have to focus on the implementation of a big project. It would be nice to shift to that going-forward.

  5. We began work in PLC's last year and focused on reading scores of all students. It was hard, but worthwhile if you put the effort into it. We will still visit this, but at the high school we are also going to look at school climate issues.

    Good luck in your new year!

  6. My Goodness! This looks like a ton of work! I am eager to watch progress.

  7. It is really wonderful that staff members sifted through the data to help determine the directions for you PLC's. I wrote one entry about our PLC this year and plan on expanding on it as we go along. I'm pretty excited about how the work of our district and each building and grade level are "nesting" the work.


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