Principal - November/December 2019 - 16

Making

PLC
s
a Plus
3 strategies to spawn better teacher
collaboration and greater impact
By Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Almarode

P

rofessional learning communities (PLCs)
were introduced in the 1970s, at about the
same time as bell-bottoms and disco. Fashion
and music have evolved, but when you see teachers trying to work collaboratively, have their
practices kept pace with the times? It's time to
advance teacher collaboration-upgrading the
wardrobe and playlist, in a sense-to ensure that
we can continue to maximize student learning
better than ever before.
Here are three things you and your teams can
do immediately to increase the impact PLCs
have on students'-and teachers'-learning:
1. Conduct a Gap Analysis

There are six evidence-based characteristics of
PLCs, according to Shirley M. Hord's "Learn
in Community With Others," and each needs
to be considered for professional learning communities to thrive. While the presence of these
characteristics won't necessarily mean a PLC is

16

Principal n November/December 2019

effective, they are important considerations that
teams should discuss and revisit periodically
as they embark on the journey of improving
student learning and teacher expertise. If
there are gaps, teams should strive to fill them
through collaborative conversations and professional learning.
Take a moment to make an assessment of your
progress in each of the six characteristics in the
"Mind the Gaps" sidebar on page 18. Invite team
members to use the same tool to assess their
strengths and needs. When the third-grade team
at the pseudonymous Mountain View Elementary
used this tool to assess their learning community,
they found gaps that hindered their potential for
maximizing the impact on students'-and their
own-learning.
Team members agreed that peers were supportive of one another and had the structural
conditions in place for collective learning,
but they did not engage in it. "We never share
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Principal - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - November/December 2019

from the editor
Snapshots
5 Things
Intertwined for Achievement
Planting the SEAD
Making PLCs a Plus
Measuring Up
Look Out for the Leader
Engagement Across the Generations
The Sum of Its Parts
Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
In the Spotlight
Practitioner’s Corner
Raising the Bar
Principal’s Bookshelf
School Law
NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Speaking Out
Parents & Schools
Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover1
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 1
Principal - November/December 2019 - 2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 3
Principal - November/December 2019 - from the editor
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5
Principal - November/December 2019 - Snapshots
Principal - November/December 2019 - 7
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5 Things
Principal - November/December 2019 - 9
Principal - November/December 2019 - Intertwined for Achievement
Principal - November/December 2019 - 11
Principal - November/December 2019 - 12
Principal - November/December 2019 - 13
Principal - November/December 2019 - 14
Principal - November/December 2019 - Planting the SEAD
Principal - November/December 2019 - Making PLCs a Plus
Principal - November/December 2019 - 17
Principal - November/December 2019 - 18
Principal - November/December 2019 - 19
Principal - November/December 2019 - Measuring Up
Principal - November/December 2019 - 21
Principal - November/December 2019 - 22
Principal - November/December 2019 - 23
Principal - November/December 2019 - Look Out for the Leader
Principal - November/December 2019 - 25
Principal - November/December 2019 - Engagement Across the Generations
Principal - November/December 2019 - 27
Principal - November/December 2019 - The Sum of Its Parts
Principal - November/December 2019 - 29
Principal - November/December 2019 - 30
Principal - November/December 2019 - 31
Principal - November/December 2019 - Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
Principal - November/December 2019 - 33
Principal - November/December 2019 - 34
Principal - November/December 2019 - 35
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
Principal - November/December 2019 - 37
Principal - November/December 2019 - 38
Principal - November/December 2019 - 39
Principal - November/December 2019 - 40
Principal - November/December 2019 - 41
Principal - November/December 2019 - 42
Principal - November/December 2019 - 43
Principal - November/December 2019 - In the Spotlight
Principal - November/December 2019 - 45
Principal - November/December 2019 - Practitioner’s Corner
Principal - November/December 2019 - 47
Principal - November/December 2019 - 48
Principal - November/December 2019 - 49
Principal - November/December 2019 - Raising the Bar
Principal - November/December 2019 - 51
Principal - November/December 2019 - Principal’s Bookshelf
Principal - November/December 2019 - 53
Principal - November/December 2019 - School Law
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - November/December 2019 - 56
Principal - November/December 2019 - 57
Principal - November/December 2019 - Speaking Out
Principal - November/December 2019 - 59
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - 61
Principal - November/December 2019 - 62
Principal - November/December 2019 - 63
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover3
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover4
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