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Beyond PLC Lite

Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning in a Professional Learning Community at Work®

Becoming a PLC is no small feat—it requires years of collaboration and commitment. In this powerful guide, discover ten evidence-based actions to help move your school teams beyond “PLC Lite,” and center student agency and efficacy in curriculum, assessment, instruction, and intervention practices. Access sample rubrics, protocols, and templates designed to build a culture of continuous improvement.

This book will help K–12 educators:

  • Learn the ten essential actions to elevate their PLC to the next level
  • Encourage meaningful student participation through the gradual release of responsibility model
  • Understand how to evaluate diverse student feedback
  • Design curriculum and assessments centered on student agency and well-being
  • Work with the four critical questions of intervention
  • Explore how the three big ideas of a PLC intersect at the teacher, student, and school levels

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction: Moving Beyond the Futility of PLC Lite
Chapter 1: Efficacy: The Tie That Binds the Three Big Ideas of a PLC at Work
Chapter 2: Focus: Taking Theory to Practice
Chapter 3: Action 1: Defining Student Success
Chapter 4: Action 2: Creating an Enduring Skills-Focused Curriculum
Chapter 5: Action 3: Creating Skills-Focused Proficiency Scales and Rubrics
Chapter 6: Action 4: Utilizing Evidence-Based Assessments
Chapter 7: Action 5: Creating a Skills-Focused Scope and Sequence
Chapter 8: Action 6: Aiming for Evidence-Based Instruction
Chapter 9: Actions 7 and 8: Implementing Evidence-Based Grading and Reporting and Restructuring the Gradebook
Chapter 10: Action 9: Stressing Feedback and Reflection
Chapter 11: Action 10: Responding to Students’ Learning Stories
Epilogue: Build a New School, Build a New Future?
Appendix

REPRODUCIBLES

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

SUGGESTED RESOURCES

Books

  • Brown, T., & Ferriter, W. M. (2021). You can learn! Building student ownership, motivation, and efficacy with the PLC at Work process. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Buffum, A., Mattos, M., and Malone, J. (2018). Taking action: A handbook for RTI at Work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Conzemius, A. E., & O’Neill, J. (2014). The handbook for SMART school teams: Revitalizing best practices for collaboration (2nd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Dede, C. (2010a). Comparing frameworks for 21st century skills. In J. A. Bellanca & R. Brandt (Eds.), 21st century skills: Rethinking how students learn (pp. 51–75). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • DuFour, R., DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (2009). Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work: New insights for improving schools. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., Many, T. W., & Mattos, M. (2016). Learning by doing: A handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work (3rd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • DuFour, R., & Marzano, R. J. (2011). Leaders of learning: How district, school, and classroom leaders improve student achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Eaker, R., & Keating, J. (2011). Every school, every team, every classroom: District leadership for growing Professional Learning Communities at Work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Erkens, C., Schimmer, T., & Vagle, N. D. (2017). Essential assessment: Six tenets for bringing hope, efficacy, and achievement to the classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Gobble, T., Onuscheck, M., Reibel, A. R., & Twadell, E. (2016). Proficiency-based assessment: Process, not product. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Gobble, T., Onuscheck, M., Reibel, A. R., & Twadell, E. (2017). Pathways to proficiency: Implementing evidence-based grading. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Guskey, T. R. (2015). On your mark: Challenging the conventions of grading and reporting. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Hannigan, J., Hannigan, J. D., Mattos, M., & Buffum, A. (2021). Behavior solutions: Teaching academic and social skills through RTI at Work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Hannigan, J. D., & Hannigan, J. (2024). Behavior academies: Targeted interventions that work! Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Harlacher, J. E., Potter, J., & Collins, A. (2024). Untangling data-based decision making: A problem-solving model to enhance MTSS. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Resources.
  • Marzano, R. J. (2010). Formative assessment and standards-based grading. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Resources.
  • Marzano, R. J. (2012). Becoming a reflective teacher. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Resources.
  • Marzano, R. J. (2017). The new art and science of teaching. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Muhammad, A., & Cruz, L. (2019). Time for change: Four essential skills for transformational school and district leaders. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Reibel, A. R. (2022b). Embracing relational teaching: How strong relationships promote student self-regulation and efficacy. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Reibel, A. R., & Thede, M. (2020). Small changes, big impact: Ten strategies to promote student efficacy and lifelong learning. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Saunders, E. (2022). Stick the learning: Brain-based teaching techniques to increase retention, application, and transfer. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Schimmer, T. (2016). Grading from the inside out: Bringing accuracy to student assessment through a standards-based mindset. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Schimmer, T. (2023). Redefining student accountability: A proactive approach to teaching behavior outside the gradebook. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Stiggins, R. J. (2007). Assessment for learning: An essential foundation of productive instruction. In D. Reeves (Ed.), Ahead of the curve: The power of assessment to transform teaching and learning (pp. 59–76). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Townsley, M., & Wear, N. L. (2020). Making grades matter: Standards-based grading in a secondary PLC at Work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Twadell, E., Onuscheck, M., Reibel, A. R., & Gobble, T. (2019). Proficiency-based instruction: Rethinking lesson design and delivery. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • White, K. (2019) Unlocked: Assessment as the key to everyday creativity in the classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Wiliam, D. (2011a). Embedded formative assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Wiliam, D. (2018a). Embedded formative assessment (2nd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.