Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What have you shipped lately?

"Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly." - Seth Godin

After reading Linchpin it has challenged me to produce and ship.  

In February, I will be presenting at the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals.  I will be giving a presentation on how to setup a Google Form for teacher walk-though's/observations for the iPad.  I am a little nervous but am looking forward to it.  I will be presenting three 45 minute sessions.  Over the next month I will be putting the finishing touches on it.  My hope is that everyone that attends will be able to walk out with working form and be able to put it to use.  

The main point of this post is, what are you doing to put yourself out there and take risks to help other colleagues?  Are you hoarding all those great ideas and successful strategies?   

What have you shipped lately?

If you are interested in the observation/walk-through how to video, you can view it here.  



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Traditional scheduling cannot address at risk students needs

An email came across our admin listerv in my state.  A principal wanted to see what other schools are doing in terms of giving zeros and dealing with students who are at risk.  Many people replied back with different styles of how they handle missing work.  Very few had scheduling systems that gave students extra time.  

I am a firm believer that we cannot address at risk students with a traditional schedule.  Most research says that ALL students can learn if we give them ample time.  

I heard this a while back from a speaker about separating students that "Can't" from students that "Won't."  With this in mind over the last three years, we have been continuously improving our system.  

Currently we are intervening with students that struggle in Math and English. We have made an effort using three forms of data to find if a student can't or won't do the work.  Lunch intervention is for students who won't do the work.  Students that can't do the work due to X,Y and Z will be placed in Math and/or English intervention during Block 5.  Below is it the current setup that we are using to address needs of students.  

Due to systematic changes such as these we have increased the graduation rate to 100% the last two years, and reduced the number of failed classes from 39 in 2008-2009 to five in 2010-2011 school years.  

How we use flexible scheduling: 
  • Block scheduling (A/B day setup - Blue Day/Gold Day) (90% of core classes take place blocks 1-3)
    • Block 1 (90 minutes)
    • Block 2 (90 minutes)
    • Block 3 (90 minutes)
    • LUNCH (45 minutes)
      • We expanded lunch hour to 45 minutes 
      • Students that are passing all classes have a normal lunch
      • Students that are failing spend Mon-Fri in lunch intervention as a working lunch - Teachers supervise these students
      • Students are notified on Monday of every week - if they are failing a class they spend the entire week in lunch intervention 
    • Block 4 (45 minutes)
    • Block 5 (45 minutes) 
      • AKA Student Responsibility Block (Students not in focused intervention - are able to move freely to work with teachers they need help from)
      • PLC Time (English/Social studies Wed/Thurs) (Math/Science Mon/Tues)
      • English/LA Intervention (Mon/Tues) 3 teachers and an aid work with these students 
      • Math Intervention (Wed/Thurs) 2 teachers and an aid 

We need to think outside the box to address students that struggle.  I believe this can only be done through flexible scheduling.  How have you created systematic changes to ensure learning for all?  

What is your system of separating the Can'ts from the Won'ts?

*It must be noted that some students can't and won't do the work.  These are the most difficult.  

If there is a schedule that works for you, please send it my way.  @mdmcneff

Monday, December 12, 2011

I am done pretending...

We have a great school, we have a lot of success in academics and activities.  My teachers work hard, my students work hard.  We have very few discipline problems.  So when it came to addressing some bullying issues, I felt as if we were doing well preventing bullying.  We addressed potential problems that we saw and heard immediately.  We are visible in the hallways and keep as many eyes on students as possible.  

The problem is, bullying does not happen around adults.  Barb Coloroso says, "A bully surveys the landscape and looks to the audience to see if any adult is paying attention." (p. 6) Don't get me wrong it is extremely important that we are visible, but bullies will find another way.  

So I am done pretending that we don't have a problem.  I have found that it is more prevalent than one would think.  The root of the problem is the bystander.  The bystander can either feed the power of the bully or decrease it greatly.  This video shows the power of the bystander.




Being visible in the hallways/lunch/bus/etc. and using harsh discipline will only get you so far.  How can we get the bystander to step up and change the cycle?

Check out the Bully, Bullied and the Bystander by Barb Coloroso for a great resource! 


Sunday, December 4, 2011

EdcampND

I have never officially been to an Edcamp, but have heard so many great things about them through Twitter.  I got to thinking why can't we make one happen in our state?  I contacted @cnansen and a few others from my doc cohort and we are getting the ball rolling with hopes of putting one together in our state this summer.

We have been been working together using Google docs, we plan to meet using the Google Hangout feature as well as using email.  We are hoping to draw people from the region that are interested in this idea.  We will have some updates coming very soon, including location and the date for this summer.

More to come!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Electronic Teaming to PLC

We are a small school in rural North Dakota.  Most of my elective teachers do not have someone to team with for a PLC.  I have combined most of them in a hodgepodge team to look at what our students should know and be able to do in the area of technology.  Working with a principal from another school we were able to form a partnership so that our Family and Consumer Science teachers could team together.  They are able to meet for a little over an hour every two weeks.

They meet over Skype and share their documents through Google Docs accounts.  They are able to have the same types of conversations as they would face to face, and be able to look at the same documents with ease. 

Here are some articles for schools that may be struggling to put together PLC teams with singleton teachers.  Two excellent leaders in this area!

Rick Dufour:

Bill Ferriter:


There are many ways out there for small schools or elective teachers to participate in the PLC.  We have to find ways to be creative to make it work.  I encourage you to work with other schools to create partnerships, it will be extremely beneficial and singletons will not be left on the outside looking in.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What keeps you up at night?

If your in the profession of school leadership stress is a byproduct of your job. This is no secret, I am still trying to find ways to manage it and find a balance.  Bill Carozza mentioned about his Sunday night butterflies in his thankful post.  I have found it is not just Sunday that keeps me awake at night where I analyze the days crucial conversations, conflicts and question if I am doing the right thing.

Here are some that come to mind;

Am I pushing my teachers too hard or not hard enough?

Are we going the right direction?

How can I get all my teachers on the same page?  How can I influence mediocre teachers to have the same drive and passion as the high fliers?  Is this even possible?

When am I going to have that crucial conversation with that staff member?

I do know that I will keep getting up and doing what I feel is right, and that is all I have control over.  We need to keep fighting the battle everyday keeping students at the forefront of everything we do.  If I can do that everyday I find myself not worrying about some of the items above.

What keeps you up at night?

Using Google Forms to create a teacher observation walkthrough to be used on the iPad

Something I have been working on lately.  It may be tough to see in full screen view.  Let me know if you need help in making this work.  I highly recommend getting this to work for you.  I am able to give quick feedback and make use of the iPad for observations and also keep them organized.    


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weapons of Mass Instruction

I just wrapped up reading John Gatto's book, Weapons of Mass Instruction - This book really challenged my thoughts.  I am an advocate of public schools. It got to the point where I almost stopped reading it a few times.  I felt it was attacking everything that I stood for, but in the end I am glad I finished.  As leaders/educators we need to be able to see both sides of an argument. It is interesting that Gatto taught in the very system he is so critical of for 30 years. He received multiple teacher of the year awards in New York public school.

We just wrapped up our book chat on Seth Godin's Linchpin on #edfocus last week. Gatto is a linchpin - he is every part of the definition.  The following are some of the "Weapons of Mass Instruction" that we do need to look at and think about as we go forward with school reform.

Throughout the book Gatto references several well known people that have either dropped out of high school, dropped out of college, or did not attend college.  Each of them are very successful.  He makes the argument that our bureaucratic education system is set up to kill creativity and train mindless individuals.  I think many of us agree with this including myself. Gatto defines compulsory education as, "The new forced schooling octopus taught anyone unable to escape its tentacles that inert knowledge - memorizing the dots - is the gold standard of intellectual achievement.  Not connecting those dots.  It set out to create a reflexive obedience to official directions as opposed to accepting responsibility for one's own learning." (p. 16)

He makes a compelling argument regarding people that have made it without any sort of education, but we also need to think about the millions of others that are living in poverty that have little to no education.  Were these people in the right place at the right time or is it the system?

Are we a system of the don't?

Gatto talks about how we teach at a very young age the word, "don't" - "DON'T run, climb trees, talk, play rough, talk unless you raise your hand, fidget, get out of your seat, stare out the window, take your shoes off, eat or drink in class, laugh, take too long, read ahead, go off the path, say I'm bored, mix with older kids, complain, bring toys... Don't have your own ideas, don't show initiative, don't be independent, don't make your own choices, don't take responsibility for your own learning." (p. 127)

Does this kill creativity in the future and limit problem solving abilities? I find myself doing this to my own children, part of that is disciplining them when they are doing something wrong.  It is a valid point and something to think about.

TIME - The ever present issue in schools.  Gatto pleads for uninterrupted time in schools.

"When time is tightly scheduled, we are compelled to attend more to appearances of attention and concern than to the reality of those qualities; without uninterrupted time you haven't a prayer of synthesizing fact bits thrown at you." (p. 143)

"Schools are a rat's maze of frantic activity: bells, loud-speakers, messengers pounding at the doors, shrieks from the playground, official visitors, unofficial visitors, toilet interruptions, coming and going, catcalls, bullying and flirting's."

He has a point here, how do you limit interruptions in your schools?  How can we use our time that we have with students better?

Gatto calls for major structural, symbolic, political changes to our schools.  Many are radical reforms, but I believe he does generate good points.  It is important that we hear arguments from people we may not agree with, often times they do have points we can learn from.  



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Career Fair!

Velva Public School will be hosting a career fair for Velva students on November 30th beginning at 1:00PM in the Velva Gym.  A special thanks to Maria Effertz Hanson and Joyce James our school counselor for setting this great event up! Also another big thank you to the businesses for taking time to show our students possible careers!  There will be a total of 18 booths which is an increase from last year.  This is such a great opportunity to have something like this in our school and we look forward to the event.  Thank you!

Businesses/Colleges in attendance:
1. SRT
2. ADM
3. Verendrye Electric
4. Souris Valley Care Center
5. Small Business Development Center
6. Trinity Health Services
7. Agrotech
8. Gooseneck
9. Klein Chiropractic
10. Velva Drug
11. Velva Education Association
12. Ackerman Estvold Engineering and Consulting
13. MSU
14. NDSCS
15. Bottineau College
16. BSC
17. Mayville State
18. Williston State

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What is a PLC? Part 1

Some of you may have heard that our school has began operating as a PLC also known as a Professional Learning Community.  I am going to explain as simple as possible as to what exactly our teachers are doing during these collaboration times.  Research has shown that PLC's have impressive results in student achievement.



PLC's are guided by these four critical questions:
1. What is it we want our students to know and be able to do? 
2. How will we know when they learned it?
3.What are we going to do if the student isn't learning the information?
4. What if a student already knows the information?


Currently we are deciding what we want our students to know and be able to do.  Leading researchers in education have calculated that for our teachers to cover all standards, we would have to extend our schools from K-12 to K-22.  Which has caused most of our teachers to cover all standards while just scratching the surface.  Using collaboration and time within the school day - teachers will merge and select important standards to create what we call 'Powerstandards.'  Each standard will get reviewed asking some basic questions.

Is it a skill needed for the next class?
Is it something they need to know and be able to do for life?
Is it important to know for the state assessment?

Each benchmark under the standard will get rated by the teachers.
1) Must know, 2) Important to know, and 3)Nice to know.

Must knows become a part of a Powerstandard, important to know and nice to know will still be taught, but teachers may devote less time to it.  I hope that this will help in your understanding of what we are doing. I will be making a few posts over the course of the year as we continue in this process.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lessons from Linchpin

If you haven't had a chance to read Seth Godin's "Linchpin", I highly recommend it!  There are many lessons to be learned in the book.  I have chosen a few that have most impacted my thinking.  


"The person who leans forward the most wins the race" 

Our posture is important.  Leaders lean forward, we need to take risks and lean forward.  The linchpin sticks their chest out, whereas the cog sits and waits for instructions.  Cogs are easy to deal with, we want linchpins! - people who are unafraid of taking risks and at times challenge our thinking.  What holds us back from taking risks?  ...FAILURE?  Godin says, "Doesn't matter if you're always right, it matters that you're always moving." - We need to put ourselves out there even if you are unsure about the end product.  SHIP! Take the risk, write blogs, be uncomfortable, challenge others thinking!  Contribute!

Godin tells us the lizard brain and the resistance (negative self talk) hold us back.  They hold us prisoner, and keep us from taking risky steps.  They want us to maintain the status quo!    


"The lizard brain only wants to eat and be safe." 


"The lizard brain cares what everyone else thinks, because status in the tribe is essential to its survival." 


"The lizard brain is the reason you're afraid, the reason you don't do all the art you can, the reason you don't ship when you can.  The lizard brain is the source of the resistance."

Worrying about what people think and the possibility of failure hold us back.  Risk taking always has the possibility of bringing failure along with it.  We need to subdue the lizard brain and hold back the resistance to move forward in education.  We need to model to our teachers and students that failure can be an option if you are taking risks, and yes it is okay to fail.


"Fit in or Fail"  Are we training our students and staff to fit in or encouraging them to take risks?  Godin says, "schools should only teach two things; solve interesting problems and leadership."

How do you encourage your staff or students to take risks and accept failure?

How do you subdue the lizard brain and resistance?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Traditional grading and PLC's



There has been a lot of discussion recently on grading lately.  In the latest issue of Educational Leadership there is a good article generating the "grading discussion."  If we believe in the work of professional learning communities, then we must also begin the discussion of grading in our schools.  How can we continue to use the traditional grading system if we are developing powerstandards and common assessments?  The further we get down the bumpy road of PLC work, the more I see the need to look at our grading system.  .

If our goal is to create common assessments on each powerstandard to identify learning deficiencies, then doesn't it just make sense to develop a standard based report card?  How often do we have students that receive A's and B's in all classes but are not proficient on their state assessment?  This is a major problem to me, students and parents must see the connection between the grading at our school and how we are assessed. 

We are beginning the discussion on grading, are you?  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Up the bumpy, bumpy road

We continue the development of our professional learning communities in a small school of singleton teachers. I am reminded daily of how difficult this process is and why so few schools commit.  It is a journey, and I am excited to see the results in the future.  Tonight after reading a few books to my daughter, one of them got me to thinking.  It is a book about a journey of a baby hippo.  A pulled a few of the lines out of it below.

"Through the squelchy, squelchy mud."

It is difficult to see clarity in the beginning, and it is often as clear as mud.  It makes it worse when all we want is to see the end product and especially difficult when you do not share a common theme.  Our teachers do not share the same grade and subject.  Instead, we are focusing on finding a common denominator.  If your school is in our position, take a look at Teacher as Assessment Leader.  There is a good chapter in there regarding what Adam Young is doing at White Pine High School, a singleton school.

"Around the bumpy, bumpy rocks."

There are so many hurdles in the way, the first major one is providing time within the day to collaborate.  The next is to take an active role in leading your learning community around the distractions that naturally come with collaboration.

"Through the long, long grass."

We are making our own path to make our school more successful.  The conversations and items that have been developed so far have been impressive.  There is no better feeling than hearing the conversations that are occurring in these teams.

We will continue finding our way through the squelchy mud, around the bumpy rocks, and through the long grass in our quest to ensure all students learn.  We cannot think of it as something that will get finished, it is a journey and the answers will come in time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What motivates you?

We had a healthy discussion at our last staff meeting regarding Motivation. Motivation can be intrinsic and extrinsic.

I put together an experiment that has been around for decades. After watching Dan Pinks piece on motivation I felt it was important to have this discussion with staff. In his TED Talk he references the Candle Problem.

Prior to the meeting I asked them to bring some ideas of what motivates them and they would be expected to share. During the meeting we attempted the candle problem and I tied this to motivation. One group would receive a reward and the other was given no reward. It was interesting that the group that solved the problem fastest was the reward group. Which was opposite what Dan Pink stated in the video, his point was that rewards do not motivate people. One could draw a conclusion that my staff is extrinsically motivated. This activity generated great discussion and was something different.

In then end we had a great discussion as a staff of what motivated staff, and it was a great way to share and bring staff together.

Please share what motivates you?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's that time again...

Our state assessment team met recently to discuss the layout of how we will test our students in grades seven, eight and eleven.  Every year we have the discussion of how we can make this less intrusive on our classes.  There are two typical options:

1. Cram all the tests in and lose less instructional time, which would decrease our test scores.

2. We spread them out and allow our students the best possible chance to do well.

This has been on my mind the last few years.  Think about how often we test our students and how much time we spend away from teaching and learning.  I began to add up the results and have posted them below.

NWEA Testing - Grades 7-10

  • This takes approximately 4 weeks to complete all grades in the fall and spring. (Students miss 3-4 hours of instruction time )

NDSA Testing - Grades 7,8, and 11 
  • This takes approximately 2 weeks to complete all grades. (Students miss close to 9 total hours of instruction time)
PLAN Testing - Grade 10 
  • This takes approximately 3 hours to complete. 
ACT Testing - Grade 11
  • This takes approximately 4 hours to complete. 
ASVAB - Grade 10
  • This takes approximately 3 hours to complete.  
ACT WORKKEYS - Grade 12
  • Optional for students.  This takes approximately 3 hours to complete. 
PSAT - Grade 11
  • Optional for students.  This takes approximately 3 hours to complete. 
If you tally the results it adds up to five days of testing total for all grades.  This does not include adjusting the schedule and missing other classes in the process.  We devote close to 7 weeks of testing in our schedule, when you add up the 6 weeks for NDSA, NWEA and the single day tests like the ACT.  I want to make it clear that not all of our students are testing the entire seven weeks or even the 5 days of total testing.  This is just a broad look at it all.  

We are mandated to test, but I really hope that we begin to look at the amount of time that we test students and the impact it has on teaching and learning.  Teachers could be closing learning gaps with the time it takes to test.  So its that time of the year again and we will continue to do what we've always done and test.  I have high hopes with the coming changes of re-authorization.  There are some positive things developing in this article. 

How do you balance testing in your schools?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No Office Day

Summary of No Office Day

The title of this blog does not mean that I took the day off.  Today, I spent the entire day in classroom's.  It was a great day and very busy!  I have definitely lost my teachers voice, as I may need to invest in some throat lozenges.  Teachers either requested my assistance to help with a lesson or asked me to come up with something that they were currently covering in class.  Below is narrative of my day.  It was an awesome day, I am in classrooms quite a bit as but not like this.  

8:30AM

Reported to Mr. Lauinger's room to present a lesson to the juniors in US History.  Our topic was the 4th Amendment and more specifically what it means to schools.  We had a very good discussion regarding their rights to privacy and security in school.  We went over supreme court cases that gave examples of the current issues in schools dealing with right to privacy.  An example of a case we discussed was about a students confiscated phone and the fact that school officials are able to search phones if they they have reasonable suspicion.  There was some good discussion involving that topic.  We finished with discussing our current reality at VHS and if they thought there was a good balance between privacy and security in our school.  

9:15AM 

Reported to Mr. Norby's class next.  Mr. Norby had me explain how to use Google Forms to create surveys.  Their class is developing questions, mostly related to school and they wanted to know how to gather this data more effectively.  This is an example of one that a student had developed.  Students will be mailing these out to selected students and teachers to gather data.  It will be neat to see what they come up with!



10:00AM

Brittany working hard.
Reported to Ms. Sevigny's room to try my luck at making salsa.  Students had previously completed a pre-lab and were ready to make salsa.  Ms. Sevigny first explained what and how they were going to make the recipe.  It involved us boiling water and removing the peals off tomatoes and then cutting up all sorts of peppers. I showed my knife skills off to the students (not really).  I took a few pictures of what we did.  Thanks for the good salsa!


Marcus, Hunter, Nathan and Mason 

10:40AM 

After Ms. Sevigny's class, I went down to Mr. Peterson to take some students on in an Egyptian game.  Students are covering Egypt and they found a game that the ancient Egyptians played.  I took on Hunter and after a battle I was able to come out victorious!  Here is a link to the game that we played.  


11:00AM

Reported to Mr. Podoll's room to check out what they were doing.  Students were wiring basic plugins and lights.  They were also finding out how many amps and watts were in different electronic items.  I posted some pictures below about what they were working on.  


11:30AM

Reported to Mrs. Haga's Room.  Students were working with probability and Mrs. Haga used some effective ways to describe it.  We also included a short clip from Kahn's Academy describing probability.  If you haven't had a chance to check that site out, you should!  She followed it up with some activities with coins and dice.  Students experimented with shaking up 140 coins and to see the percentage that came up with heads and tails.  It was pretty close to 50%.  

12:55PM

After lunch, I was off to Mrs. Lemer's class.  Mrs. Lemer had some short Greek Mythology stories for me to read and discuss with students.  We discussed the stories of Narcissus, Echo and Arachne.  Narcissism takes the definition from Narcissus meaning vain or full of self.  It was an overall good discussion regarding negative traits of human beings.  Here is a picture that depicts Narcissus looking into the pool of water.  


1:15PM

I had to rush to get to the next class.  Mrs. Peterson's class setup Jeopardy, I took on two other 7th grade students and proceeded to get dominated.  I did not study cell structure as well as I should have.  I did get a few right however, in the end I had the lowest score at -$1,300.  Regardless it was a lot of fun. 

1:40PM 

Reported to Mrs. Braaten's class next.  The 7th grade keyboarding class.  Students were finishing up some keyboarding skill work.  As I came in, Mrs. Braaten shifted gears to go into the next activity.  We were going to put together a poem using letters A-Z.  I have posted the poem I came up with.  I shared this with them and they began work on their own.  I do not claim to be a poet.  

A Principal’s Job
(A)spiring to the be the best
(B)eleives in his teachers
(C)ares deeply about all students
(D)riven to make Velva School the best school in the state
(E)ver improving professionaly
(F)aith in students to make the right choices
(G)et involved!
(H)elping hand
(I)nvolved with school, students and staff
(J)ovial about education!
(K)ind
(L)oves leading a school and watching teachers and students grow
(M)otivated
(N)ever satisfied!
(O)pen to suggestions
(P)erplexed at times
(Q)aulified
(R)eadily available for students and staff
(S)tudents first and foremost
(T)eacher effectiveness is key to student learning
(U)nderstands the importance of working together, collaboration
(V)elva Aggies rule!
(W)hat does Mr. McNeff do?
(X)pectations are high!
(Y)outh are our future
(Z)ealous to work with young adults

2:45PM 

Finally, I reported to Mrs. Froshaug's room to do a critical thinking activity with her students.  We analyzed song lyrics and asked what it meant to them and then they had to create their own.  We attempted to get them to sing them too, but were unsuccessful.  



Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

VHS month in review: September

School has started off great. It has been such a busy year so far with construction and getting everything back to normal after our evacuation.  The area around the school has been a happening place to say the least.  It is hard to believe that we will begin our seventh week of school next week.  Which means quarter one will be coming to a close.  Please remind your son or daughter to finish the quarter strong and check Powerschool regularly.

Homecoming took place earlier this month.  There were a few additions and traditions that were brought back, one being the homecoming parade.  Students showed their spirit and worked hard on their floats.  The pep rally capped off everything. If you haven't seen the staff homecoming video please check it out below.


We will be wrapping up our NWEA tests next week and we look forward to looking at that data.  We use these tests to gauge where are students are academically.  We will begin preparing for our state assessments towards the end of October.  These tests of course are high stakes and our success on them determines if we make Annual Yearly Progress or not.  

Plenty of activities have taken place in the first six weeks.  All activities are off to successful starts.  The activity calendar can be found here.  

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Monday, September 12, 2011

What's your 20%?

Recently I have begun my doctorate in ed leadership.  Minus the hour and half drive to and from, it has been great for me.  One of the things we discussed early on was the 80/20 concept. Which means focusing 80% of your time on the 20% of most important items.  We often spend much of our time on the management piece to our job, or at least I do.  We lose focus of what is really important.  Should I be on top of running attendance for the fourth time today or should I get into a classroom to observe and provide useful feedback.  We have to find ways to get those tedious or less important items done some other way.  Through delegation and realizing what is important is the way.

Recently I have been focusing on strengthening my PLC's and getting into classroom to give much needed feedback for my staff.  This is my 20% that is worth focusing on.

What is your 20%, and what is really important?  It certainly isn't sitting at my desk all day working on management items.  How do you balance management and leading?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Change is hard

This year we have jumped head first into Professional Learning Communities.  I have been able to make a schedule work within the day for teachers to collaborate.  I know there are hurdles ahead, such as buy in and of course the fear of change.  Two weeks into the beginning stages of collaboration, I can already see the benefit.  The discussion alone is exciting for me to hear.  Teachers are discussing ways to directly impact learning and that rarely took place before.  We are a long way from our goal, but you have to start somewhere.  The hardest part to sell it is that it is not another fad or program.  Also it is something that will never be perfected, it is a process.  That is difficult for them to accept.

All of my teachers are singleton teachers, which means they do not share the same class.  This can make it difficult to find common ground to start.  It would make it so much easier if they shared the same class.  We have to do differently and think differently to make this concept work for us.  I don't have the answers nor do my teachers, but in time we will make PLC's work for our school.  I am looking forward to the journey and the impact on student learning ahead.  

Where are you in your process of PLC's? Did you have a rocky start?