For the multiple decades that I have been an educator and even before, we have tried to help students catch up by remediating learners or going backwards to go forward. This is the usual approach to help students overcome learning loss especially for those students who are far below grade level in reading, writing, or mathematics. Although this may help to fill some of a student’s learning gaps it does not help them to reach grade-level knowledge and skill proficiency fast enough for the majority of students to catch up with their peers. Unfortunately, this school year has truly exacerbated learning loss for almost every student. If this situation is not fully addressed or simply a case of remediation or going backwards to go forward, the sheer number of students who do not learn at grade level or beyond will increase. In addition, as each school year and course marches on students get farther and farther behind creating a cycle of remediation that is hard to escape. In fact, it can seem like a life sentence for most students. The gap between those students who are achieving grade level learning and those that are not gets wider and wider as a student matriculates through each school year. We cannot continue to go backwards to go forward. It widens the achievement gap and inequities in our system become even more pronounced. Read more
Not too long ago, I was asked to write a piece about how leaders and teams can determine if they really are working in an accountable professional learning community. This is a real issue, as possibly the biggest roadblock to helping all students learn at higher levels and doing the work of a PLC is when an organization gets caught in “PLC Lite.” PLC Lite is defined by Dr. Richard DuFour and Dr. Douglas Reeves as “when educators rename their traditional faculty or department meetings as PLC meetings, engage in book studies that result in no action, or devote collaborative time to topics that have no effect on student achievement—all in the name of the PLC process” (DuFour and Reeves, 2016, p. 69). Read more
We were speaking to a team of teachers about their classroom recently, and this is what they described.
During the planning meeting, the team talked about the lesson plan, identified essentials that every student had to master, and talked about a consistent way that those essentials would be assessed. Read more
This entry is the 12th in a blog series called Pandemic Response and Educational Practices (PREP), which aims to highlight and further the important work educators are doing amid the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.
Several years ago, Becky DuFour, expressing her passion for our youngest learners, helped us launch an idea that is now being released as our new book, What About Us? The PLC at Work Process for Grades PreK-2 Teams.
We four coauthors, from Mason Crest Elementary—the first DuFour Award–winning national Model PLC school—filled the book with resources, tools, action steps, and examples for early childhood educators striving to meet the needs of all students. With the publication of the book this month, coinciding with the launch of a school year full of uncertainty, we thought a sneak peek into a few chapters, while considering ideas for adapting to a remote learning environment, could add some welcome tools to early educators’ toolkits. Read more
“CTE” and “PLC” are six letters we don’t often see together.
Career and technical education teachers, authentically working interdependently within teams, has not become a common practice in most schools yet. This is not because CTE teachers do not want to work within collaborative teams—we do! We want to share curricula and reflect on data with colleagues. In most cases, we just don’t know how to establish teams that have a clear common purpose. Read more