Building Confident Learners

Building a True Community of Confident Learners

Categories: Authors, Instruction

Over 25 years ago I heard Dr. Richard DuFour speak about Professional Learning Communities. I was attending an Effective Schools Conference and happened into his breakout session titled “Through New Eyes.” From that moment on, my professional life changed.

As I came to know and understand the PLC at Work® process, it became clear that embedded in the process is the challenge to always seek deeper understanding and application of the science in our field. That science requires a constant reflection into classroom practices that enhance student learning, a willingness to grow comfortable with a constant disquiet with the status quo, and a desire to always find better ways to ensure that all students learn at the highest levels. This disquiet is what sparks necessary changes to occur, thus providing the energy to advance the mission, vision, and goals of the school. It also reinforces and connects the educators to what is most valued. Read more

Inside the Treehouse Bonus Episode 1 Recap

Bonus Episode 1 – A Conversation with Mike Mattos and Anthony Muhammad: Revisiting PLC at Work®

Categories: Authors, Solution Tree

For both Mike Mattos and Anthony Muhammad, discovering the PLC at Work® process completely changed how they view education. Now, years later, they’re not just believers in its transformative power—they’re proud advocates whose new book, Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work®, 2nd Edition, is an essential read for any educator who is serious about PLCs.

Read on to learn more about Mike and Anthony’s experience with PLC at Work®, how it differs from general PLCs, and more. Read more

illustration of hands holding hearts

Trauma-Informed Teaching


Becky is a ninth-grade student at Mills High School. Her parents are divorced, and she is living with her mother. Becky’s mom is gone a lot with her job and dating. Becky is responsible for her two younger siblings. She makes them dinner most nights. Becky’s mom comes home late and sometimes brings home her newest boyfriend. It’s during these times that conflicts can arise that cause Becky and her siblings to get scared and have to hide. The fighting usually ends up with Becky’s mom getting hit, pushed, or beaten in some way.

In the mornings, Becky helps quietly get her siblings ready for the school bus. She also rides a bus and has to get herself ready. All of the children leave quietly so they don’t wake the boyfriend or their mom.

When Becky arrives at her school, she hears a lot of noise and chaos. This noise can be overwhelming and sound similar to the chaos she experiences at home. Luckily, Becky’s homeroom teacher Ms. Lennox understands the stress some of the children are under and has put strategies in place that make her room calm and welcoming for all students. Becky looks forward to going into Ms. Lennox’s room. Read more

image of sports play diagram

Coaching the Whole Educator

Categories: Authors

After more than two decades in education, I’ve come to discover how much I love, I mean love, to coach. To me, coaching is all about helping someone find their own greatness and it’s this desire that makes me jump out of bed in the morning.

In my former roles as a mentor, instructional coach, and building-level leader, my work was focused on helping both veteran and novice teachers increase their expertise in their use of various instructional strategies or school/district-wide initiatives. We spent our time focused on goal-setting, classroom observations, instructional rounds, and reflections—all in the name of working to increase student achievement.

And it worked.
But sometimes it didn’t. Read more

Meeting Goals

Meeting Goals, Part 2 of 3

Categories: Authors

In our first post of this three-part series, Shawna and I set the stage for a newly hired principal group, and how we were intentionally creating learning experiences that they could immediately apply back on their school campuses. When we last left our story, the principals had just assessed their school opening, identifying which actions they implicitly or explicitly prioritized. While confronting current reality, it is also important to not lose sight of successes along the way. Read more