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The Practice of Authentic PLCs

The Practice of Authentic PLCs
A Guide to Effective Teacher Teams

May 2012 | 208 pages | Corwin
This book for school leaders details how to implement authentic PLCs in schools and districts. Its aim is not to sell the work of PLCs, but rather to assist school leaders and teachers in developing the knowledge and tools necessary to do the work of building and sustaining real PLCs. Grounded in Venables' foundational training and work with the Coalition for Essential Schools, this book unites collaboration, facilitation, data inquiry, using protocols for student and teacher work, designing common formative assessments (CFAs) and planning data-based instructional intervention into one cohesive handbook.

In a step-by-step manner, this book lays out how to establish and do the work of PLCs right the first time. And for schools already dabbling with teacher collaboration and who have instituted a version of PLCs-lite, this work can help existing groups go deeper in the doing the work of authentic, effective PLCs.

About the Author
The Call for PLCs

Out With Programs, In With People

I. The Context for Authentic PLCs
1. The Business of PLCs
PLCs in Context

Meeting Logistics

The Roles of the Players

Summary: PLCs

2. What to Do First: Building a Foundation for Collaboration
Building the Teams

Establishing Group Norms

Constructing Community Knowledge

Summary: Collaboration

II. The Essential Tasks of Authentic PLCs
3. Looking at Student and Teacher Work
Protocols for Student and Teacher Work


Bringing and Examining Work

Peer Observations

Summary: Looking at Work

4. Designing Quality Common Formative Assessments
Deciding Assessment Content

Designing Standards-Based Assessments

Alternative Forms of Common Assessments

Scoring and Grading CFAs

Reviewing CFA Data and Planning for Intervention

Summary: CFAs

5. Reviewing and Responding to Data
Data Literacy

Reviewing Existing Data

Pursuing Additional Data

Translating Data Into Action

Summary: Data

III. Coaching Authentic PLCs
6. Coach's Guide to Facilitating Protocols and Activities
Protocols for Team Building, Norm Setting, and Constructing Community Knowledge

Protocols for Teacher and Student Work and Issues and Dilemmas

Two Facilitator Protocols

Frequently Asked Questions

Summary: Coaching Protocols

7. Troubleshooting Common Obstacles
Common Obstacles and Challenges

A Note to Principals

Summary: Coaching Teachers

Coach's Appendix
Protocols and Activities
References and Further Readings

"This text illustrates the essence of what it really means to be a teacher; to care deeply and to think and act collectively about student and teacher learning."

Barrie Bennet, Professor
OISE/University of Toronto, Ontario

"This book offers its readers practical tools and hard-won insights gleaned from Venables’ extensive experience in the day-to-day work of PLCs. This guide is a valuable resource for seriously creating PLCs that continuously improve teaching and learning for the benefit of all students."

Dennis Sparks, Emeritus Executive Director
National Staff Development Council, Ann Arbor, MI

"The book provides a clear roadmap for a member or facilitator of a PLC."

Diane Barone, Professor
University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada

"This is one of the most helpful books I have read on developing an effective Professional Learning Community in a school. It will make a distinct contribution to the field."

Rosemarie Young, Principal
Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY

"This book offers a practical approach to school cultural change through the implementation of the underlying principles of Professional Learning Communities. Readers are walked through the key developmental stages and processes to change the relationships within the school, and consequently the way the school operates to improve students’ learning."

Neil MacNeill, Principal
Ellenbrook Primary School, Western Australia

“Daniel Venables has made a terrific contribution to the growing effort of teachers to educate ourselves in professional learning communities through protocols that focus our attention on the right stuff. Happily his writing is as accessible as his material is useful and his insights fresh.”

Joseph P. McDonald, Professor of Teaching and Learning and author of The Power of Protocols
New York University

"This fine pick considers team building, protocols for success, and teacher-designed formative assessments to teach how to respond to data and develop exercises and activities for PLC leaders."

James A. Cox, Editor in Chief
The Midwest Book Review, August 2011

Daniel R. Venables

Daniel R. Venables is founder and executive director of the Center for Authentic PLCs, a research and consulting firm dedicated to assisting schools build and sustain authentic Professional Learning Communities. He is a Math/Science Fellow with the Coalition of Essential Schools and an award-winning classroom teacher of 24 years. He currently resides on a horse farm in South Carolina with his wife Brady, their therapy dogs, Blue and Flo, and a cat named Fahrney. More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412986632

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