Professional Learning Communities
- Processes & Protocols
- Setting Norms
- Planning Curriculum
- Developing Common Assessments
- Analyzing Data & Student Work
- Making Decisions
- Desgining Instruction
- Leading PLCs
In ACPS, we believe that teachers who meet on a regular basis to discuss and modify instructional practices based on student data will eliminate gaps in student achievement. Teachers who learn together grow together as lifelong learners and professionals.
In the spring of 2015, we designed a workshop and this website to support what we want our teachers to Know, Understand, and Be Able to Do with their own PLCs:
Know about PLC
Understand about PLC
Be able to Do at PLC
ACPS Staff - sign in to find more information collected just for you -- including our workshop PowerPoint.
- General PLC agenda template (Coming soon)
- PDSA form
- PDSA form with Questions
- 40-Minute Meeting: Monthly Data Meeting Facilitator's Guide
- 10-Minute Problem-Solving Protocol - Thanks to Woodbrook Elementary
- REAL agenda template (Coming soon)
- REAL protocol template (Coming soon)
- Resources from "Death By Meeting" (Coming soon)
- Lesson Study:
- Peer coaching / peer observation template (Coming soon)
Information for PLC Facilitation
"The Art of Facilitating Teacher Teams" - This Edutopia blog post by Elena Aguilar outlines key steps for developing strong teams, including: planning, facilitation skills, and managing group dynamics.
Facilitating Learning Teams - This school-based professional learning unit presented by Learning Forward, is written to help facilitators (1) understand the responsibilities and skills needed by facilitators and other roles that contribute to a team’s success (2)Understand how teams develop in order to be able to address members’ needs at each stage of team development (3) Acquire skills and strategies for facilitating learning teams, such as forming agreements, using purpose and nonpurpose, managing challenging situations, and assessing team effectiveness and efficiency, and (4) Develop strategies for assessing learning team members’ contributions, the team’s effectiveness, and the results of the team’s work.
Team Facilitation - This slideshare contains detailed information about facilitator roles, skills for effective facilitation, benefits of team facilitation, and strategies and steps for improving team facilitation.
Tools & Resources for Developing Facilitation Skills
Facilitation Tools and Techniques - This site is a useful collection of annotated resources on learningforsustainability.net
Information on Developing as a Team
Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning: This overview of Tuckman's Stages of Group Development by Gina Abudi of The Project Management Hut provides an overview of these stages, a method of assessing team effectiveness, and an example of a team moving through these five stages. (Note: for a video synopsis of these stages, check out this 2-minute video from Mind Tools.) The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: This 3-minute video review of the book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni (produced by callibrain.com) describes five challenges frequently faced by teams, along with ways to counteract those potential challenges.
Three Things Most PLCs Do Wrong- and How to Fix Them: The Teaching Genome highlights three specific areas that teacher PLCs tend to overlook when working together as a PLC, along with tips from high-performing teams intended to help every team develop. Developing Norms Worksheet - This document from the National Staff Development Council will help teams with norm setting.
Tools and Resources for Team Building
- Compass Points: An Exercise in Understanding Preferences in Group Work (from National School Reform Faculty of Harmony Education Center)
Information for Planning Curriculum
Lifelong Learner Competencies: This is a direct link to the ACPS Lifelong Learner Competencies that serve as the division's central target for teaching and learning.
Curriculum Overview from ACPS Framework for Quality Learning: This overview includes questions to consider when planning curriculum, along with ways of moving beyond the Virginia Standards of Learning.
Components of Concept-Centered Curriculum from ACPS Framework for Quality Learning: This resource describes the alignment between concepts, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions, and standards as they apply to planning curriculum.
Use of Curriculum Mapping to Build a Learning Community: This website contains Chapter 2 of Heidi Hayes-Jacobs' Getting Results with Curriculum Mapping which focuses on the process in which PLCs may engage for planning curriculum.
Tools & Resources for Developing Curriculum Maps and Pacing Guides
- ACPS employees can find examples of curriculum maps and pacing guides by signing into this website and selecting the appropriate Core Instructional Area.
Information about Developing Common Assessment
Balanced Assessment in the ACPS Framework for Quality Learning: An overview of questions to consider when designing assessment, including: Why Assess, What to Assess, How to Assess, and How to Communicate and Provide Feedback
Tools & Resources for Developing Common Assessment
Information about Analyzing Data (including Student Work)
Assessment Analysis, Communication, and Feedback from the ACPS Framework for Quality Learning: This section of the FQL highlights methods of engaging in item analysis from both selected response & rubric-based assessments, along with suggestions on next steps in how to use the information collected from this analysis of student work.
Some Guidelines for Learning From Student Work: This resource from the National School Reform Faculty of Harmony Education Center outlines some questions to consider when looking for evidence of students' thinking, when listening to colleagues' thinking, when reflecting on one's own thinking, and when reflecting on the process of looking at student work.
Tools & Resources for Analyzing Data (including Student Work)
Information on Making Decisions
Organizing Team Decision Making: This article from MindTools identifies the importance of reaching consensus for better decisions, the challenge of team decisions, and the various methods that teams can use in order to reach consensus (including ensuring participation, voting for consensus, and receiving anonymous contributions).
How to Make Good Decisions as a Team: This article by CEO Les McKeown in Inc. highlights three important stages of group decision-making: Data, Debate, and Decide or Defer.
Tools & Resources for Making Decisions
- Collaborative Meeting Log: A resource designed to help teams reflect on the current state of a topic by identifying What's Working and Challenges / Concerns / Questions, and then plan for the future by identifying Next Steps and Necessary Supports.
- Here's What --> So What? --> Now What? protocol: A tool designed by the National School Reform Faculty of Harmony Education Center to help teams identify what is currently being done (Here's What), why it is important to the team (So What?), and what next steps need to take place (Now What?).
- SWOT Analysis: A tool designed to help teams consider a topic of focus through the lens of the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of the team's practices, along with the external Opportunities and Threats that may be impacting practice. Through this lens, teams can identify ways to take advantage of the internal Strengths and external Opportunities, while mitigating the impacts of the internal Weaknesses and external Threats.
- Fishbone diagram (Coming soon)
Information for Designing Instruction
Overview of Instruction from the ACPS Framework for Quality Learning: The instruction component is organized into five main parts: disciplined inquiry; scaffolding for student learning; grouping strategies; other teacher decisions when planning for learning; and, using the learning plan format.
Seven Pathways to Lifelong Learner Competencies: More info needed
Technology Integration Matrix: A framework designed by the University of South Florida for integrating technology into instruction such that it promotes a more Active, Collaborative, Constructive, Authentic, and Goal-Oriented learning environment.
Tools & Resources for Designing Instruction
- Templates for planning units and lessons from the ACPS Framework for Quality Learning
This page will serve as a resource for those that lead PLCs
- Leading in Professional Learning Communities - An article from the National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal by Robert Eaker and Debora Gonzales (2006-2007)
- Implementing Effective Professional Learning Communities - An article from SEDL Insights by Silvia Pirtle and Ed Tobia (Winter 2014)
- Professional Learning Communities - A publication by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform