Conferences > Level IV: Leading PLC's > Seminar Description

From Staff Room to Classroom

Level IV: Leading Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

Robin Fogarty & Associates, Ltd. Professional Development 


The time of the Lone Ranger has come and gone. Teachers no longer are expected to work alone. In fact, faculty collaborations are part and parcel of the expectations of the contemporary staff. According to one expert on quality learning environments (Deming), the people closest to the problems are the people most likely to have the solutions to those problems. Who is closer to the teaching /learning process than the teachers?  Who matters more (Haycock, Marzano) in the learning journey of every child?  If teachers are the knowing, capable, and willing champions of the students in their care, who better to tackle the achievement concerns? Who better to make data-driven instructional decisions to effect student achievement?   

The first step in getting started as a collaborative team is to have PLCs firmly in place in our schools. Next, an understanding of the whys and wherefores of PLCs (DuFour and Eaker; Hord; Reeves; Schmoker) must be shared and embraced by the faculty, including answers to some of the frequently asked questions: Why do we have PLCs? What is the purpose of the PLC?  What is the focus when we meet? Who determines that focus? Who leads the PLCs?  Who Follows? How do we accomplish worthwhile endeavors?  Grounded with an understanding of the PLC, and examination of best practices for becoming results-oriented professional structures through experience with specific tools for building and maintaining PLCs, teachers are empowered.

In brief, the signature of the modern faculty, is collaboration. As the PLCs evolve, the overriding goal is increase student achievement for all students. Yet, to build cohesive, functioning and effective teams within the school setting requires skillful facilitation, ongoing cueing and sound dedicated teacher leaders.  Collaborative teams, armed with tools and techniques, PLC members plan, implement and evaluate targeted tactics, using data to drive their instructional decisions.  As they become committed teams who know how to get the job done, they share and compare results of interventions and they know how to monitor and adjust the instructional focus.  They learn ways to support each other, ways to collaborate for positive results and ways to keep the team on track. Above all else, the PLC is skill-oriented, professionally focused, and carefully guided by common goals for the students in their care.