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Professional Learning Communities
Old 01-09-2008, 07:22 AM
 
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My school is looking at adopting this model- I haven't really even started researching it yet, but was wondering:

1. Is there anyone whose school is doing PLC's? How do you feel about it? Is it effective? Is it a good use of time? Are students involved in productive learning activities during this time?

2. Has anyone done research or know more about PLC's that could give me a brief rundown on your understanding of it's set up and purpose?

Thanks!


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Marzano
Old 01-09-2008, 07:35 AM
 
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We are in our second year of Marzano which is the person that came up with PLC's. He has a book out about it. It's short, but I've never read it, but I have seen alot of them at Half-price Books.
PLC's are actually for teachers and not students. Professional Learning Community is just a fancy name for the planning that you do as a team/grade level. The purpose of the PLC is to talk about what went on in our classrooms for the week, what worked/didn't work, give ideas on new lessons, get help from fellow team members for teaching a certain skill if your students had a difficult time learning an objective, etc. We also plan our lessons for the next week. Sounds like a grade level planning meeting doesn't it?

We also have what is called Classroom Walk-throughs (CWT) where some administrator comes in and observes your class for 2-4 minutes. In that amount of time, they are supposed to know exactly what's going on in your class. They even ask 4 students what they are doing/learning. The data is compiled and analyzed. Each grade level will get the results. You are also to go over this in your PLC. No one teacher is to be singled out.

It's alot of work, and my school does a piss poor job of implementing it. We don't have meetings weekly which we are to supposed to. We haven't gotten any feedback on the CWT since October for walkthroughs that occured in September. If it's done correctly, it's a good use of time. However, I take issue with the fact that you know what's going on in a classroom in only 2-4 minutes. The K-2 teachers were told that there was no evidence that homework was done! We also have only had an opportunity to plan about 1-2 times per month.

Good Luck with it. I think that if it's implemented like it should, it could work. However, my principal is too worried about test scores so that she won't lose her job. Our focus is test results.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:50 AM
 
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Also try searching by the name Rick DuFours. I believe that's the correct spelling.

We are in our second year of PLC. We meet weekly on Wed. morning. We start our meeting at 7:50, then kids are allowed to go to their lockers at 8:00. Between 8:00 and 8:30, kids are putting away backpacks and jackets, choosing lunch choice from the menu, going to breakfast, then back to the gym for an all-school meeting we call Rise and Shine. Principal takes care of Rise and Shine with parent volunteers and our meetings end at 8:45. We actually have Rise and Shine every day, but on Wed. it's handled a little differently. This way, we don't have early release once a week to get in meeting time, and it's only about 5-10 minutes longer in Rise and Shine (pledge, menu, announcements, etc.) than other days.

What it has done for our school is more cohesiveness among the grade levels, and it has given our meetings more purpose. Also, we stay on task much better. Once a month our specialists have vertical teaming, in which all the PE teachers meet, all the Librarians, etc. so they can share what's happening. Our school has all the 2nd and 3rd grades in the district, but if we had several K-5 buildings, we could do vertical teaming by grade level as opposed to building meetings.

There has been some grumbling that the principal has relinquished her duties in favor of the masses making decisions. I have noticed that issues are actually discussed with all teachers present, so that part is a very good thing. We met this morning as a building faculty and resolved some issues people were having. I think overall it goes very well here.
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PLCs
Old 01-09-2008, 08:10 AM
 
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Our school district has been doing PLC meetings for about 5 years. It is supposed to be weekly, learning related, held during school time so it doesn't add stress, involve everyone (if possible) and every attendee is accountable for the learning decisions made. But in my opinion in the long run its just another kind of staff meeting. Only problem is, it is in addition to staff meetings!
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PLCs
Old 01-09-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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We do this a little different than what previous posters have written. I'm in a middle school. We meet for 30 minutes 9 times a year. Our contracted day starts at 7:45 with the first class beginning at 8:25. On PLC days, we meet at 7:30 so we are done by 8:00. We choose a topic for the year that is related to one of our building goals. This year we are focusing on building relationships. We just finished a book study on How Full Is Your Bucket. Great book, quick easy read.
Last year we spent some time looking at teaching vs. learning styles. Our PLCs are short, infrequent and something that can be helpful in making us better teachers and better people in general.


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How many in PLC
Old 01-09-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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I teach at a very small school. We have 2 teachers per grade level and meet with our teaching partner during 1 planning period each week. Our principal is calling this PLC and we must write up formal meeting notes. Since it's just the two of us, we meet, talk, plan all the time routinely. Does anyone else have a small PLC and how do you write it up when you're always working together?
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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This is our second year of PLC. I visited a school with my principal prior to trying this model and got lots of good ideas. I also read On Common Ground by Dufours. We have a one hour period once a week to plan together in each grade level. I am in second and we each plan a subject and share it with our other team members. I actually do Science and Social Studies since we alternate these. It is grand! We get so much done. We also have a remediation program that goes with model. So helpful! Our Remed. teachers come and get children during SSR time to help in reading or math. We just fill out a prescription pad for the student and voila they remediate! Peg
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Am not enjoying the PLC's
Old 01-09-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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We have started them this year in the area of math. It has amounted to more work done on our own time. Everything is data driven, except I don't see where a test score paints a clear picture about a child. They have been a source of stress and extra work. I do not walk out of our weekly one hour session with any lesson plans, just a to do list a mile long. Perhaps they are not being done correctly at my school, but from my experience I do not support this model.
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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We started with the PLC model midway through last year. For us, it works out pretty much like MrsM described. Rick DuFours seems to be like a personal hero to my principal now (lol). Honestly, it seems a lot like regular meetings with more "rules" and "understandings" in place. For us, it works pretty well. We are a much more cohesive and together school, *but* we were pretty together before this. I think it's been a good experience for my school, but it seems more like a dressed up group meeting.

We have a small school, less than 1 class per grade, so our meetings are a K-5 thing, then a school wide thing (we are a K-12 school).
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PLC is not just another meeting
Old 01-13-2008, 09:59 AM
 
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My school district has been doing PLC for about 5 years now and it is great. The key is you get out what you but into it. I was part of a team that was trained by Rick and Becky DuFour. We then led a book club type discussion of their book Getting Started with the whole staff. One key aspect is that PLC time should not be during your normal planning time, at my school our principal didn't do that and that does cause some problems for a few teachers. PLC meetings should not be just grade level teams, but should include specialists from throughout the school. Common assessments are key, every assessment we do is a common assessment with my team. We then analyze the results of the data from each common assessment for areas we need to work on and students we need to keep an eye on. A PLC meeting should have an agenda, time keeper, and stay on task. It should not be used to plan lessons, but to talk about the students. At first it is more work, but once every one in the PLC "buys into it" it ends up being less work. If you have any other questions feel free to e-mail me.
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