Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lessons learned from year one in PLC's

In a few weeks we will wrap up the 2011-2012 school year.  I have been thinking and reflecting quite a bit about how we can improve our PLC's, as well as the lessons learned after year one of full implementation.  I must say from a school climate stand point I feel that it has done wonders in increasing the communication among staff.  There are many more professional conversations occurring now.  I feel that we are on the same page, and focused for the most part on the same goals.

Some lessons learned after year one:

  1. Clarification is so important in any change initiative.  I found that I had to reiterate several times as to what we should be doing and what it should look like.  We spun our wheels for a while, and I appreciate my teachers willingness to work through a very messy process.  Even after a year, I still find myself clarifying what it is we want to accomplish.  This will continue as we move to each different stage.  As administrators we must take an active role.  
  2. Monitoring is equally important from me, teachers must know that I have bought into the change initiative too.  If we just throw 4-5 people in a room with no goals or direction and expect them to collaborate, we won't accomplish much.  There is also a point where you could over monitor.  I needed to find that happy medium, and give them autonomy to put their own spin on it.  
  3. Many people talk about celebrating success, with year one there wasn't much data to back up what we were doing.  We devoted time at staff meetings to talk about what we were doing in our PLC's.  They shared documents, and discussed at length.  You could feel a sense of pride develop over time with the work they were creating.  I thought this was beneficial for all, it allowed them to compare and give feedback to each team.  This was our way of celebrating.
  4. Most PLC teams are highly effective at this point.  I found that I had to focus time on some of the groups that were more reluctant.  Sometimes we need to be the guide to our groups to make them effective.  
Vision for next year:

Quite a few groups have developed all Powerstandards that are fully transitioned to the Common Core.  Our next step is to take a deeper look at our assessment of those standards and begin developing formative assessments that link to our intervention times.  I look forward to watching and taking part in our continued growth as a PLC.  

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