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Ensuring that all children are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged is fundamental for students to become college-, career-, and citizenship-ready. Our policies and practices need to be realigned to support the whole child, and that means a change in how the adults work together. Professional learning communities (PLCs) have emerged as perhaps the best, most agreed-on means of continual improvement in instruction and student performance.
Whether it be in a single school or online, in study groups, action research teams, communities of practice, or conversation circles, educators working together with a shared focus on learning and accountability help all students learn at high levels.
In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we take a look at collaborative and collegial learning environments where staff members feel safe to express themselves, discuss, and take an active part in the school improvement process and the student success process. You'll hear from
- C. Robert Maxfield, associate professor and teacher leadership coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership at Oakland University in Michigan and cohost of the podcast series “Podcasts for Leaderful Schools,” a program that focuses on the importance of creating effective professional learning communities centered on student success. Maxfield's research interests include teacher leadership and reforming school organizational structures.
- Steven Weber, who has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and state department of education consultant in Arkansas and North Carolina and is currently the director of Secondary Instruction for Orange County Schools in Hillsborough, N.C. He is a member of the Triangle High Five, a regional collaborative that offers professional development on the topic of PLCs. Weber also consults with school systems in aligning their curriculum and in unpacking curriculum standards.
- Sunndip Panesar, a grades 6–12 online/distributed learning teacher in Vancouver, Canada. As a consultant for Generation: Outreach, Panesar helps teachers and education leaders overcome the challenges of PLCs and understand how they can be used to effectively affect student achievement, and she provides workshops on new teacher survival skills, classroom management, 21st century learning, effective assessment practices, integrating best teaching in the classroom and online, and more.
Who is in your professional learning community and how do you collaborate to improve student learning?