If you and your instructional team were all transferred to another school, how many of your teams would continue to collaborate to make sure all students are growing and meeting goals? How many of your teacher teams or PLCs truly take collective responsibility to collaborate for student success?
Rick DuFour and Mike Mattos provide “5 Steps to Success on the PLC Journey” below. As you read, consider your teams’ strengths and opportunities for growth.
1) Embrace the premise that the fundamental purpose of the school is to ensure that all students learn at high levels and enlist the staff in examining every existing practice, program, and procedure to ensure it aligns with that purpose.
2) Organize staff into meaningful collaborative teams that take collective responsibility for student learning and work interdependently to achieve shared goals for which members hold themselves mutually accountable.
3) Call on teams to establish a guaranteed and viable curriculum for each unit that clarifies the essential learning for all students, agree on pacing guidelines, and develop and administer common formative assessments to monitor each student’s learning at the end of each unit.
4) Use the evidence of student learning to identify
- Students who need additional time and support to become proficient.
- Students who need enrichment and extension of their learning because they’re already highly proficient.
- Teachers who help students achieve at high levels so team members can examine those teachers’ practices.
- Teachers who struggle to help students become proficient so team members can assist in addressing the problem.
- Skills or concepts that none of the teachers were able to help students achieve at the intended level so the team can expand its learning beyond its members to become more effective in teaching those skills or concepts. The team can seek help from members of other teams in the building with expertise in that area, specialists from the central office, other teachers of the same content in the district, or networks of teachers throughout the United States that they interact with online.
5) Create a coordinated intervention plan that ensures that students who struggle receive additional time and support for learning in a way that is timely, directive, diagnostic, precise, and most important, systematic. (DuFour & Mattos, 2013, p. 37)
Based on these 5 steps, where are your teams strong? Where are they struggling? Consider bringing these steps to your teams, analyzing the pinch points where they get stuck, and brainstorming next steps. Consider how you and your instructional team might inadvertently create pinch points and specifically request feedback around these concerns. Some teams believe in the mission, and use evidence to support student learning, but never dig into the evidence to really examine teacher behaviors. Interventions may stay at the student level rather than interventions that look at and create more effective teaching practices. If that continues, teachers may continue with less effective practices year after year.
How can you support your teams to continue asking, “How can we collectively do a better job of examining every practice, program, and procedure to ensure that all students learn at high levels?”
DuFour, R., & Mattos, M. (2013). How Do Principals Really Improve Schools? Educational Leadership: The
Principalship. (70)7, 34-40.