Professional Learning Communities

2747 Words11 Pages
Schools are constantly looking for ways in which to improve. Research has revealed several attributes of a school that proves to lead towards student learning and higher achievement including strong leadership, clear and shared mission, vision, values, and goals, collective inquiry, action oriented, collaborative teams that work interdependently, a focus on student learning and results oriented. These ideas are represented within a Professional Learning Community (PLC). To become a PLC, a staff must make changes in their actions and work together focusing on student learning. PLC’s have evolved out of failed school reform measures. It attempts to make permanent changes to a school’s culture to affect change in student
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Safe environments are built and there’s a respect for diversity. Another highly important factor in effective schools is a highly effective leader. Leadership is a key characteristic in a PLC also. The principal acts as an instructional leader building relationships with the staff and developing high moral. These characteristics are all evident in a PLC. “When schools truly begin to align their practices with a commitment to learning for all, the educators within them begin to function as a Professional Learning Community” (DuFour, DuFour & Eaker, 2008, p. 21). The PLC is more of an re-culturing instead of a school reform. It is an ongoing process through which a staff works collaboratively to share learning goals. In order to reach the goals set forth in laws such as NCLB, a school must change it’s culture to maintain an ongoing collaborative process to enhance everyone’s effectiveness to improve student behavior ( Nygard, 2010).
Four Essential Questions
The first role in building a successful learning community is to formulate a solid base of shared mission, vision, values, and goals. These four are the building blocks of a solid foundation for decision making for school improvement. Mission or purpose is the first block and focuses on the question “Why do we exist?” The second block is vision or the direction the school is headed. It asks the question “What kind of school or district do we hope to become?” A values block asks “How
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