Professional Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities (PLC) have become extremely important in both of my school districts. As a school board member, I participated in the PLC training offered by Richard and Rebecca DeFour. This intensive two-day training exemplified the importance of collaboration and shared leadership through the PLC model. For this reason, I have selected the Learning Communities Standard, “Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment" (Learning Forward, 2011). 

Learning Organizations such as PLC schools meet throughout the year to analyze data and any policies, regulations, or actions that affect student achievement, teacher learning, and student learning. Appropriate and relevant data drives determining instructional practices, student interventions, and other learning requirements. Goals are created and implemented based upon the interpretation of the data (Learning Forward, 2011). . A PLC is necessarily committed to continuous organizational, teacher, and student learning. None of these areas is ignored or diminished. Any omission creates ineffective results.

All stakeholders accept responsibility for learning. As a member of the first grade team at my school, I accept responsibility for the learning of all first grade students at my school, not just those in Room 204. I also accept responsibility for the vertical articulation throughout my school and therefore all of the students at my school. Grade level or classroom level isolation creates ineffective learning.

My school is progressing as a PLC. It has been three years and we are beginning to arrive at the level of collective responsibility and collaboration. Shared leadership is somewhat slower in becoming a reality. Some teachers do not yet feel ready to accept this new level of responsibility. It is likewise difficult for the principal to accept the change in her responsibilities.