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Professional Leaning Communities
Professional Learning Community (PLC) describes a team of educators who are united in their commitment to student learning. They learn collaboratively and participate in decision making. The benefits of a PLC include:
Suggested Activities
The Principal Is the Key

PLC Agenda Form

PLC Self-Assessment

Establishing the PLC Team

Reduced Isolation of Teachers back

  • Provide teachers an opportunity to visit classrooms and observe each other. This can take place within the same school, or arrange a visit to a teacher's classroom in same grade level or content area in another school.  At the PLC session, discuss the lesson's objective, the State Performance Indicator addressed, and any new strategies or activities observed.  Classroom Observation Log
  • Establish a lead teacher for each grade level or a department head.  Provide an opportunity on a regular basis for these teachers to visit classrooms of teachers within their grade level or content area.  At the PCL session, discuss the lesson's objective, the State Performance Indicator addressed, and any strategies or activities observed. Classroom Observation Log

Better Informed and Committed Teachers back

  • Analyze the curriculum standards through the development of a scope and sequence of instruction and a correlation to textbooks.
  • Develop and share a list of Internet resources that enhance instruction and learning.
  • Monitor pacing through grade level assessments. Determine how much the pace should be slowed down for those who have not mastered skills.  Develop enrichment activities for those who have mastered the skills and are ready to move on.
  • Sharing of differentiated instructional activities or "learning center" activities. 
  • Develop a collection of "bell ringer" activities.
  • Review as a team Dr. Mike Schmoker's:
  • Provide an opportunity for the team to have a "book talk" focusing on a professional book.  Each teacher could share something they found useful from the professional book.  Those ideas should be recorded and shared with the building administrator. Book Discussion

    Suggested titles include:

    • Results Now, Mike Schmoker (Each building principal has a copy of this book.)
    • Teachers Guide to Big Block, Carson-Dellosa*
    • Do I Really Have to Teach Reading, Cris Tovani*
    • I Read It, But I Don't Get It, Cris Tovani*
    • Strategies that work, Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement 2nd Edit, Stephanie Harvey & Anne Goudvis*
    • Mosaic of Though, Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop, Keene & Zimmermann*
    • Building Academic Vocabulary, Robert J. Marzano and Debra J . Pickering*

    *Purchased for teachers through the Niswonger Foundation Grant

Academic Gains for Students back

  • Ask the teachers in the PLC to discuss strategies for at-risk learners and develop Student Improvement Plans to share with the school administrator.  The PLC sessions could focus on one of three at-risk areas:  students who are failing a class, have behavior or organization issues, or performed below proficient on the most recent TCAP test. 
  • Review and record value added and diagnostic reports from TVAAS, identifying areas of strength and need.  TVAAS Report
  • Use data to monitor individual student progress.  Identify students who are on the "bubble" or only a few points shy of becoming proficient or advanced.  Develop Individualized Educational Plan for these students.  Council with these students and inform them of their status.  Have each compile action steps which can help them in their progress.  On the flip side, identify students who are on the "bubble" or only a few points shy of becoming below proficient, using the same individualized education plan approach.
  • At the beginning of the second semester, ask teachers to bring ThinkLink summative reports for their students.  This session could focus on action steps aimed at improving student performance in areas they are below proficient.  The focus could also be on specific skills in which a majority of students performed poorly. The team could brainstorm methods of reteaching that skill to learners. Individualized Educational Plan
  • Develop grade level/content area assessments for each 9 week period.
  • Help students identify how important school behaviors (i.e. attendance to school/class, bringing your materials to class/organizational skills) are important
    work behaviors
  • Develop a plan in which the team can help students identify why academic classes like English and math are important for future careers (more skills/education = better paying jobs)

Supportive and Shared Leadership

  • Ask teachers in the PLC to establish goals, action steps, and evidence of success for a school year, a semester, or a nine week period.  Periodically ask the team to review their plan and make any necessary adjustments.  Teacher Goals
  • Establish a team approach to parent involvement and communication with parents.  Develop how the team will initially make a positive communication with each parent.
  • Review and discuss classroom management plans, sharing strategies that work and analyzing difficult classroom management situations, working toward solutions.

Collective Creativity

  • Provide the team an SPI that, according to data, is difficult for students to master.  Ask the team to discuss strategies and complete a lesson plan template to address that SPI.  Collect these and compile a Best Practices Notebook.
  • Ask the lead teacher or department head to review the lesson plans submitted to identify an upcoming topic of study or SPI.  Present this to the team and ask them to discuss strategies and complete a lesson plan template to address that SPI.  Collect these and compile a Best Practices Notebook.
  • Give each team chart paper and ask them as a group to develop teaching strategies aimed at a specific SPI.  Ask a member of the team to compile these to be shared in the Best Practices Notebook.
  • Develop a 5th Grade Middle School Transition Plan that could include:
    • An opportunity for 5th graders to visit the middle school in the spring and meet the staff and students, particularly their homeroom teacher and classmates.
    • An orientation presentation -- through a leadership/student government class, a “buddy” system, or other planned ways.
    • An opportunity for middle school 6th grade team teachers to visit elementary schools in the spring, providing a question and answer session for the 5th grade students.
    • Scheduling a team approach for sets of students during the school day, keeping them together in a group during the school day with a team of teachers.
    • The sharing of letters written by the current 6th graders to the 5th graders sharing their positive experiences in middle school.
    • A spring parent night at the middle school inviting the 5th grade parents so they can meet homeroom teachers and begin to establish a relationship with the teachers.
    • Sending letters home welcoming students and families, and inviting them to school activities.
    • Establishing "ambassadors" of goodwill of students at the receiving school. Student-to-student contact, preceded by a discussion of what information might be useful to new students, can help establish personal links. Sending-school students can be paired with receiving-school students for visitation days.
    • Development of a  school handbook can be distributed to each family. Be sure to include phone numbers; school history; yearly schedules; teachers identified by grade level, team, and subject taught; bell schedules; lunch procedures; and other practical information.
    • Addressing the concerns of the incoming 6th grader, which includes:
      • Getting to class on time
      • Making friends
      • Finding lockers
      • Keeping up with "materials,"
      • Finding lunchrooms and bathrooms
      • Getting on the right bus to go home
      • Getting through the crowded halls
      • Remembering which class to go to next
    • Goodbye Old, Hello New! Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School
    • Middle School Brochure

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