Some of the foundational work of creating a professional learning community is to ensure each team is functioning at an exemplary level. So what does that mean? How do we define exemplary-level teams? Once you’ve established the time for teams to meet, and teams have established their norms and identified their roles – then what? How do teams move to high-functioning teams that are producing results? Read more
Jasmine Kullar, EdD, is a Georgia middle school principal with leadership experience at elementary, middle, and high school levels. She specializes in building professional learning communities and school leadership.
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The single most important thing a principal can do is to hire top talent; to hire the best of the best; to hire people who will add value to his/her team. I am currently involved in this process right now, as I have spent the last few weeks interviewing several candidates for a few vacancies at my school. This has been an incredibly time-consuming process, especially at this time of year when we are testing, there are celebrations and musicals coming up, there are end of year trips, etc. However, I was inspired to write about this because despite how time consuming this can be, this will probably be the most important thing I do as I begin my next school year.
One of the first tenants of building a PLC culture is to ensure the focus is on learning. This focus on learning consists of a few main ideas. One big idea is built around the concept of ensuring your school’s mission statement is tied directly to student learning. This mission should become the reason why you do all that you do. As an example, Adelai Stevenson High School’s mission statement ensures the focus is on learning: “Success for Every Student.” Short, simple, and to the point! The belief of every adult in your building has to align to your school and school district’s mission statement, which ultimately should focus on student learning. Some work may need to be done to ensure your mission is completely focused on student learning – and of course creating your vision statement and collective commitments. There are plenty of resources online to help your school engage in this work collectively.
My eyes were opened to the PLC concept in 2001 when I first attended a PLC conference and heard Rick DuFour and Bob Eaker speak in Toronto. Since then, I’ve been passionate and committed to the work—so seeing other people who have that same passion and enthusiasm is just AWESOME! It is exciting to be at a conference and watch the participants’ eyes light up with ideas. It is exciting to watch participants taking it all in. It is exciting to watch participants begin thinking about how to take this all back to their schools or districts. The struggle sometimes is with the how. How do we even begin this monumental task of taking all that you learned back to your colleagues and/or supervisors? Read more
In 2001, the National Association of Secondary School Principals wrote: “It is estimated that in the next decade 40 percent of today’s principals will retire. School leaders who are retiring are not being replaced by enough qualified candidates,” (NASSP, 2001). Since then, several articles have been written and research conducted to show that school leadership is linked to student achievement. Finding qualified school leaders is more important than ever if we are to accomplish the ongoing task of improving schools.
In many school districts, this is the time where application processes begin to open up for potential assistant principal or principal vacancies. Not only school leaders should be qualified, but having an extensive knowledge and experience with PLC’s would help today’s school leader tremendously. Read more