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Establishing and Maintaining Professional Learning Communities

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  1. Establishing and Maintaining Professional Learning Communities First Annual Summit on Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Marlborough, MA December 10, 2008 M.Kate Carbone, Laura Miceli, and Julia Phelps Office of Urban District Assistance

  2. Today’s Outcomes • Provide data to illustrate the effect of the achievement gap • Consider Professional Learning Communities as a strategy for improving the learning of all students • Share a framework for establishing and maintaining Professional Learning Communities across levels in a district • Provide an overview of a toolkit designed to assist leaders with implementing portions of the Professional Learning Communities framework

  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment Projections.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/emp/emptab7.htm (accessed November 30, 2008).

  4. Achievement for All Matters For individuals Increased salary Health risks reduced Longevity Likelihood for family members to further education For society Lower criminal justice costs Lower healthcare costs 21st Century Skills and increased economic growth Wiliam, Dylan. “Content then process: teacher learning communities in the service of formative assessment.” Presented at the conference ahead of the curve The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning. Atlanta, Georgia, October 29 – November 1, 2008.

  5. Graduation Ready for 21st Century Success: The New Promise of Public Education, The Patrick Administration Education Action Agenda, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, June 2008.

  6. “ In the 2007 [Massachusetts] four-year cohort, nearly 23 percent of African American students and nearly 23 percent of Hispanic students dropped out of high school, compared to only 6.6 percent of white students.” Ready for 21st Century Success: The New Promise of Public Education, The Patrick Administration Education Action Agenda, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, June 2008.

  7. Improving Student Achievement—What Works Characteristics of effective schools: • Clear essential learning standards • Early exposure to concepts • Formative assessment • Teacher collaboration • Embedded professional development • Safety nets • Teachers who believe they can make a difference • Students who feel respected and valued Johnson, J. F. (2008) National Center for Urban School Transformation, http://www.ncust.org Black, P. & Wiliam, D. Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment, Phi Delta Kappan (Oct 1998): 139-148.

  8. Bridging the Knowing-Doing Gap The knowing/doing gap is one of the “…great mysteries in organizational management: why knowledge of what needs to be done frequently fails to result in action or behavior consistent with that knowledge.” Pfeffer, J., & Sutton, R. (2000). The knowing-doing gap: How smart companies turn knowledge into action. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

  9. Fixing Systems Not People “It’s time to create better systems—to make schools more hospitable places for students and adults so that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.” DuFour, R., DuFour, R. & Eaker, R. (2008). Revisiting professional learning communities at work: New insights for improving schools. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

  10. Making the Case for Professional Learning Communities “Professional learning communities have emerged as arguably the best, most agreed-upon means by which to continuously improve instruction and student performance.” Schmoker, M. (2006) Results now. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

  11. Making the Case for Professional Learning Communities Doug Reeves Michael Fullan Dylan Wiliam Richard Elmore Linda Darling-Hammond Roland Barth Andy Hargreaves Tom Sergiovanni Jonathan Saphier Richard Stiggins

  12. What are Professional Learning Communities? • Building-based collaborative teacher teams • Shared mission, vision, goals • Focus on student learning • Action oriented • Shared accountability for results in student achievement DuFour, Rebecca. (2008) “Power of professional learning communities: Bringing the big ideas to life.” Presented at the PLCs at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement conference. Boston, MA, Aug. 7-9. Wiliam, Dylan.Changing classroom practice, Educational Leadership vol. 4 (Dec 2007/Jan 2008): 40-41.

  13. Elementary schools: Grade-level Middle schools: Grade-level, content High schools: Course or content Size: Optimal 5-10 members Meeting Frequency: At least 1 hour per week (DuFour) 2 hour monthly meeting (Wiliam) Possible Team Structures DuFour, Rebecca. (2008) “Power of professional learning communities: Bringing the big ideas to life.” Presented at the PLCs at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement conference. Boston, MA, Aug. 7-9. Wiliam, Dylan.Changing classroom practice, Educational Leadership vol. 4 (Dec 2007/Jan 2008): 40-41.

  14. Challenges to Establishing a New Culture • Teacher isolation • DRIP (Data Rich/Information Poor) • Change = Program • Filtering the “brutal facts” • Failure to implement • Leadership disconnect DuFour, R., DuFour, R. & Eaker, R. (2008). Revisiting professional learning communities at work: New insights for improving schools. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

  15. “Establishing & Maintaining Professional Learning Communities” • Designed to support implementation • Developed in partnership with district leaders and principals • Based on the prevailing research • Articulated across roles: teachers, principal, superintendent • Organized into 6 fluid stages

  16. Professional Learning Communities Stage 1: Launching Vision, Urgency & Purpose Stage 6: Celebrating Success, Reviewing Progress Stage 2: Analyzing Data & Setting Targets PLC Stage 5: Implementing Standards-Based Lessons Stage 3: Developing Focus & Process for Monitoring Progress Stage 4: Developing Standards-Based Lessons

  17. What is ESE’s Role? • As stated in the Framework for Leadership & Action for the Department “… to work in partnership with key stakeholders to build capacity of schools and districts to provide high quality curriculum and instruction for all students and prepare them for career and college.” • Development of Tool Kits

  18. Stage 1: Launching Vision, Urgency & Purpose Stage 6: Celebrating Success, Reviewing Progress Stage 2: Analyzing Data & Setting Targets Stage 5: Implementing Standards-Based Lessons Stage 3: Developing Focus & Process for Monitoring Progress Stage 4: Developing Standards-Based Lessons Professional Learning Communities PLC

  19. Learning Walk Tool Kit • Protocol for Conducting a Learning Walk • Defines what to do before, during and after a Learning Walk • Provides all stakeholders with clear expectations for the Learning Walk process • The Learning Walk Continuum • Provides a framework for classroom observations • Defines 17 characteristics • Provides examples of teaching & learning in stages: developing, providing, sustaining • Learning Walk Feedback Template • Provides a sample of feedback following a Learning Walk • Data Collection Tool • Creates a data set that allows improvements to be tracked • Allows data files to be shared easily

  20. What do we hope you do after today? • Review and reflect on your district’s culture for supporting changes at the classroom level. • Consider how to advance implementation of Professional Learning Communities as a means for improving student achievement in your district. • Convene a team of stakeholders to review Establishing & Maintaining Professional Learning Communities as a resource to advance implementation.

  21. Closing thought … “Only organizations that have a passion for learning will have an enduring influence.” Covey, S., Merrill, A. & Merrill, R. (1996) First things first: To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. New York: Fireside.

  22. Questions & Discussion

  23. For More Information www.allthingsplc.info M. Kate Carbone, 781-338-3517, mcarbone@doe.mass.edu Laura Miceli, 781-338-3503, lmiceli@doe.mass.edu Julia Phelps, 781-338-3506, jphelps@doe.mass.edu