Mike Mattos

Mike Mattos is an internationally recognized author, presenter, and practitioner who specializes in uniting teachers, administrators, and support staff to transform schools by implementing response to intervention and professional learning communities.

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Practicing What We Preach: Continuous Improvement and the PLC at Work Process

Categories: Authors

An essential characteristic of a true professional learning community is continuous improvement—a “persistent disquiet with the status quo” and a constant search for better practice (DuFour et al. 2016). Until every student is learning at high levels, there is a pressing need—an intrinsic desire—to identify and more deeply implement practices, policies, and dispositions that will improve both student and adult learning.

This focus on collective inquiry and continuous improvement is how the PLC at Work® framework was first created. In the 1980s when Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker and the educators at Adlai Stevenson High School began their focus on collaboration, there were not “Three Big Ideas” or “Four Critical Questions” to guide their efforts. Instead, they began by asking this question: “If we have limited time and resources to collaborate, then what are actions we can take that are proven to best increase student learning and build our staff’s capacity to work in high-performing teams?” They did not guess at what these actions would be, but instead committed to collective inquiry—learning together about research-based best practices. Then they applied what they learned, gathered targeted evidence to determine if their actions were actually helping more students learn, and used that information to determine their next topics of study. The goal was not simply to learn a new strategy, but to create the conditions for job-embedded learning and continuous improvement. Read more

A call to arms

A Labor of Love and A Call To Arms: Reflections on Rick DuFour’s New Book, In Praise of American Educators

Categories: PLC

Note: This blog is the first in a series on In Praise of American Educators (And How They Can Get Even Better).

American educators are under siege on every front. Due to an increasingly competitive global economy, business leaders are calling upon our nation’s schools to ensure every student leaves the K-12 system with the skills needed to be college and career ready. Politicians have addressed this need to leave no child behind by passing legislation that has become increasingly focused on high-stakes testing, mandated programs, punitive sanctions for failure, financial rewards for success, and competitive pressure through student vouchers and charter schools.

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Want the Right Kind of Thinking About RTI? Ask the Right Questions!

Categories: Authors, PLC, RTI

A few years ago, we wrote an article that appeared in Educational Leadership called “The Why Behind RTI.” In this article, we asserted that many schools were struggling with RTI because they had asked the wrong questions to guide and shape their thinking. Questions like “How do we raise our test scores?” which all too often leads to a singular focus on the “bubble kids”; “How do we implement RTI?” which reduces this life-saving process to a checklist of actions to accomplish; and “How do we stay legal?” which often leads to byzantine paperwork and mere compliance.

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