What Defines Professional Learning Community? 

School mission statements that promise “learning for all” have become a cliché. When teachers view it as a pledge to ensure the success of each student rather than as politically correct hyperbole—profound changes begin to take place. The idea of improving schools by developing professional learning communities in school is not a new concept. The only difference is the execution. Proper implementation (PLC) can have a sustained effect on an ailing community. In certain educational settings, the term has been used so ubiquitously that it is in danger of losing all meaning. Well-intentioned school reform efforts have pushed the professional learning community model to a critical juncture.

PinkGrape Consulting works with your school staff in diagnosing:

  • What school characteristics and practices have been most successful in helping all students achieve at high levels?
  • How could we adopt those characteristics and practices in our own school?
  • What commitments would we have to make to one another to create such a school? What indicators could we monitor to assess our progress?
  • When the staff has built shared knowledge and found common ground on these questions, the school has a solid foundation for moving forward with its improvement initiative.

Tell me if you’ve seen “This too shall pass” scenario before

In this all-too-familiar cycle:

  • initial enthusiasm gives way to confusion about the fundamental concepts driving the initiative
  • followed by inevitable implementation problems,
  • the conclusion that the reform has failed to bring about the desired results,
  • abandonment of the reform, and
  • the launch of a new search for the next promising initiative.

Another reform movement has come and gone, reinforcing the conventional education wisdom that promises, “This too shall pass,” – tell me if you’ve seen this one?

Careful reflection

The movement to develop professional learning communities can avoid this cycle, but only if educators reflect critically on the concept’s merits.

  • What are the “big ideas” that represent the core principles of professional learning communities?
  • How do these principles guide schools’ efforts to sustain the professional learning community model until it becomes deeply embedded in the culture of the school?

We collaborate with schools to shift from the focus on teaching to a focus on learning. We engage faculty in the ongoing exploration of three crucial questions that drive the work of those within a professional learning community:

  • Student Learning Objective (SLO): What do we want student(s) to learn?
  • Individualized Student Assessment (ISA): How will we know student(s) has mastered SLO?
  • Learning Intervention Strategies (LIS): A deliberate response when student(s) experience difficulty in the learning process?

Teachers become aware of the incongruity between their commitment to ensuring learning for all students and their lack of a coordinated strategy to respond when some students do not learn. We work with teachers to addresses discrepancy by designing strategies to ensure that struggling students receive additional time and support, no matter who their teacher is. Our strategy is based on intervention (timely) rather than remediation and directive driven a systematic plan requiring students to devote extra time and additional assistance until they have mastered the necessary concepts.

Our PLC is designed to ensure the following:

  • What Students Learn
  • Removing Barriers to Success
  • Designed on A Culture of Collaboration
  • Collaborating for School Improvement
  • A Focus on Results
  • Creativity, Innovation and Committed to student success