We Need to Create PLC Dream Teams

Dream Teams: Collaborating for the Success of All

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

“We really need to get together now and make a big push.” —Peter Jones

Up until about ten years ago, most cancer researchers and institutions would work in direct competition with one another, trying to be the first one to come up with life-saving treatments. Undoubtedly, they worked diligently and passionately, every day laboring over one of the most critical challenges in our society, and doing all this in isolation and in direct competition with other individuals committed to the same cause. Yet, this is the way research had always been done, and in many ways, it made sense to some of the world’s most talented individuals and respected institutions. Read more

Reflection for collaborative teams using the Rose, Bud, and Thorn technique

Learning from Our Year as a Team: Reflection Questions for Collaborative Teams

Categories: PLC

At the end of each school year, I like to ask questions to create a “pause and reflect” moment as my children and I eat around the dinner table together. This year, my two oldest children finished their junior and sophomore years in college, and my son finished his sophomore year in high school. The questions ask (1) what they did during the school year that they were most proud of, (2) some areas that they are still working on, and (3) one specific action they need to fix before they head back to school next year. Listening to my adult children this year was amazing, as I witnessed how well they are in tune with plausible growth and stretch areas for the upcoming school year.

This same thought process applies to mathematics collaborative teams and has become a tradition for the teachers I support. Read more

Common assessment is key to improving student learning.

Improving Student Learning: Together, We Can!

Categories: Assessment, PLC, School Improvement

Teaching can be exhausting. You work hard to create meaningful lessons, assessments, and interventions. You manage students in class with varying learning needs, behavior needs, and experiences. You grade papers and answer emails and phone calls. You participate in parent-student conferences, IEP meetings, and serve on committees or leadership teams. You manage duties on campus and fill out report cards. And all with little fanfare for the effort.

And, on top of everything, the hard work can be made more frustrating when high-stakes assessments show consistently poor student performance or little student growth. What is a teacher or school to do? Read more

Decision-making protocols can help you get on the same page

Decision Making: “How Can We Get on the Same Page?”

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when facilitating professional development sessions is “How can we get on the same page?”

Let’s imagine two families, “Family A” and “Family B.” Parents in Family A are on the same page for their children. The children are clear on what is expected of them and learn how to demonstrate respect and responsibility for themselves and to others. Family B’s parents are not on the same page. One parent operates out of power and control, while the other parent tolerates behaviors that are unacceptable to the first. The children are confused and anxious, which often leads to misbehaviors and chaos. Read more

Singletons can team up with teachers who are trying to teach similar skills

Advice for Singletons and Small Schools: Find Common Skills

Categories: PLC

A thought occurred to me the other day while working with a group of singletons. “If I got to choose the questions that my singletons asked me, what would they be?”

Framing the Problem

What prompted my wonderings is that singletons almost always start with these questions:

  • Who do I collaborate with?
  • How do I create common assessments?

Most singletons get that common assessment is the linchpin of the PLC at Work™ process. They get that good common assessment practices are where the leverage is for better learning for students and adults. They usually feel that unless they can answer these questions meaningfully and completely, collaborating just doesn’t make a lot of sense. You know what? They’re right, it doesn’t. These are meaningful questions … but they’re not the questions I wish they were asking first. Read more