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Professional Learning Communities Anyone?

Posted by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 2:13 AM
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For homework this summer my administrators send us home with the book "whatever it takes" as they are working towards developing a plc at our school next year.  I am wondering if any of you are working in a plc, what is your biggest challenge, and was it difficult to get everyone on board in your school? I appreciate any/all  input.

Patricia

by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 2:13 AM
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Roca
by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 10:20 AM
Your post is titled Professional Learning Communities, everytime I see that I think "yeah right!" The school district I worked for last year claimed to have that set up, or at least they tired. It was horrible. They stuck kids where ever there was room not where they should have been. The communities were disconnected and did nothing to help the community establish goals. I thought the whole thing was sad. I'm sure over time it will develop into something great but for now.... I didn't like it. I like the concept behind it but there were many flaws.
I'm in a new district now and I'm hoping it goes better. I have only met 2 or 3 other people so I don't really know what I'm up against just yet.
mommytess
by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 10:37 AM

My district had us read a book on this last summer and put us into PLC's by grade level or subject area and on our professional development days we work in these groups. My grade level (Kdg.) had already been doing this and so for us it is going very well, the structured groups are actually still a benefit because it is helping us to set goals and reach them and take our groups beyond where they were! Not all groups are this lucky. There are many groups that are struggling with difference of opinions and such. This is just at the staff level I'm not sure if that's what you were wanting input on or at the student level.

Patricia_Verdun
by New Member on Jul. 29, 2007 at 11:35 AM

Quoting mommytess:

My district had us read a book on this last summer and put us into PLC's by grade level or subject area and on our professional development days we work in these groups. My grade level (Kdg.) had already been doing this and so for us it is going very well, the structured groups are actually still a benefit because it is helping us to set goals and reach them and take our groups beyond where they were! Not all groups are this lucky. There are many groups that are struggling with difference of opinions and such. This is just at the staff level I'm not sure if that's what you were wanting input on or at the student level.

That is exactly what I wondering.  Thanks for your input.

Patricia

andreaw
by New Member on Aug. 2, 2007 at 3:54 PM
We started PLCs last year. So far, we have grade level meeting, subject area meetings, building meetings, and full meetings. Grade levels are a waste of time we already talk, plan, and shared ideas constantly...at lunch, before/after school, etc. The subject area group that I am with doesn't apply to me, mainly because they decided everyone should be on a team and just threw people whereever.  Our building meetings are no different than they were before. Our full staff meetings (all buildings/all teachers) are kind of crazy. They had us attempt to rewrite our mission statements and guilding principles...as a group of a few hundred people. You can guess how well that went. I hate to sound down on it, PLC has good intentions, but right now it seems to be VERY disorganized. I'm not even sure that what we are doing is the same kind of PLC that the book you mentioned discusses, or if that's just what we're calling it. If I am way off base, please let me know so I can take that knowledge with me when we have our first meeting.
lisasmith716
by Member on Aug. 2, 2007 at 7:55 PM
We have PLC"s that started this past year.  We have a LONG way to go. It is quite interesting and some grade levels took to it right away but others could not get along.  I went to the DuFour training when they were here in NC...  it really can work but it takes a lot of time to get where you need to be as a whole school being involved.

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker
smiffy
by New Member on Aug. 2, 2007 at 7:58 PM
I work at a "professional development school" which is the same thing I assume. Ours is  a partnership with a local university who is interested in ampping up their education programs.

So far its fantastic.  We have exclusive rights to their student teachers.  We are offered free graduate classes (1/year and we dont choose the topic)  held on site after school lets out and the university has a lot of $$ to share with us so its all good.  The class we took last fall was a behavior management class and it was very diffficult to get everyone on board with the concepts that were presented.  Our project was to make a school wide plan that would be specific to our school and the kids' needs.  It never panned out.  It was one of those things that was all or nothing so it ended up being nothing.


I think the hardest thing about being able to get everyone on board with something like that is you've got to be very educated on the subject and willing to have conversations that answer hard questions that the opposing teachers may have.  I guess the major problem comes when theyre not even willing to discuss. 
tsd0040
by Member on Aug. 3, 2007 at 11:16 PM
Our district has incorporated PLCs.  It need a little tweeking to me because everyone needs to  be on board and when you have teachers that really don't want to meet it isn't very productive and in turn becomes a waste of time.  If you have a real good team, it can be very rewarding and beneficial.
nasleia
by Member on Aug. 8, 2007 at 8:10 AM
our school started last year with plc. we have a lot of people who don't like any kind of change, so while its a good idea, not enough people are buying in to it.

TTFN, NaShonda
heidibeats
by Member on Aug. 8, 2007 at 12:40 PM
Our school district started PLC's about 4 years ago and they're still going strong.  We first started out meeting in groups that were arranged in a diverse manner (not all same grade/curriculum) and we met twice a month where we used protocols to examine student work.  Now we still meet with those diverse groups once a month and the second meeting of the month is devoted to curriulum groups.  This worked out really well.  I believe we've all grown as teachers - getting lots of new ideas and we earn professional development hours as well!
cateachermom
by New Member on Aug. 11, 2007 at 2:04 AM
Hi,
In Los Angeles, they call them Smaller Learning Communities and there are mixed results.  Since most high schools are going this way, my advice is to pick the one you want to be in early and make sure it's with the teachers who are the nicest and most collaborative. My nightmare would be to be in one with all of the "dinosaur" complaining teachers who only want to complain about "these kids" who "won't learn." (Yes, we all have those days where we think like the dinosaur teachrs. By the way, a dinosaur teacher in my view can be 24 or 64 - it just depends on their enthusiasm for teaching.

I was in a Small Learning Community for high school students who wanted to be teachers.  It was good because we had more money, were able to take field trips, and had a common prep class.  It's hard on the lead teachers because they have to do more work, but if you can be placed with other enthusiastic teachers, then it's a good thing because students get more attention, - i.e., you can talk about "Johnny" and the other teachers will know him because they will have the same kids in your class.

I think it's a good thing if done right because in large urban high schools of 3,000-5,000, it's so easy for students to get lost. Trust me, I know I went to one and picked a small college (Occidental) where I loved it.
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