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Leading Professional Learning Communities
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Leading Professional Learning Communities
Voices From Research and Practice

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December 2007 | 184 pages | Corwin
Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, is a school improvement model that continues to grow in popularity as a means to build capacity, embed professional development, create a positive school culture, grow accountability, and increase student achievement. This book provides an overview for why PLCs are needed & what they can accomplish.
 
Foreword by Andy Hargreaves
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. What Is a PLC? Professional Learning Communities: Definitions and Effects
 
2. Why Leadership? Leadership Imperatives for Professional Learning Communities
 
3. Culture and Context, Structures and Schedules, Policies and Procedures
 
4. Creating Conditions to Get Started
 
5. What Are the Skills Needed to Build Professional Learning Communities?
 
6. Where Are We? Where Should We Be? Who Is Monitoring Our Work?
 
7. What Have We Learned?
 
References
 
Index

"The most important volume available to help principals undertake the challenging yet exhilarating work of building true communities of professional learning." 

Joseph Murphy, Professor
Vanderbilt University

"It takes leadership for a school to become a community of professional learners, and that’s what this book is about. Steeped in years of study and immersed in the realities of school life, the book does not gloss over the challenges that leaders will encounter as they embark on this journey. The authors draw upon rich research evidence and personal experiences, sprinkle humorous vignettes throughout, and offer many practical and proven change strategies. This is a valuable resource for any educational leader who wishes to become a 'head learner.'"

Arthur L. Costa, Professor Emeritus
California State University, Sacramento

"Hord is the originator of the triple-headed concept of professional learning communities. Sommers is an experienced administrator and past president of the National Staff Development Council. With their extensive backgrounds in educational evaluation and the implementation of school change and development, they are uniquely equipped to delineate and defend a particular vision of professional learning communities that has educational depth, professional richness, and moral integrity."

From the Foreword by Andy Hargreaves

"A well-developed research base supports the importance of professional learning communities, but until this book, how-to publications have been short on empirical evidence. Hord and Sommers create a powerful bridge between knowledge and action that reflects their deep experience as scholar-practitioners committed to improving school culture. The book’s dual focus on principles and 'rocks in the road' provide a grounded basis for school leaders. A dog-eared copy should be in every principal’s office and in every professional developer’s tool kit."

Karen Seashore Louis, Rodney S. Wallace Professor
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

"Readers will immediately sense from the authors a deep respect for educators combined with an understanding of the challenges that schools face today. Hord and Sommers's rationale and suggestions will resonate because they come from experience and great insight. The bottom line remains steadfast for these two distinguished educators: you implement a PLC so that teachers learn and students achieve. This text will help educators reach toward that compelling vision."

Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director
National Staff Development Council

"An excellent guide highly recommended for working professional educators."

The Bookwatch, April 2008
Midwest Book Review

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Shirley Moos Hord

Shirley M. Hord, PhD, is the scholar laureate of Learning Forward (previously National Staff Development Council), following her retirement as Scholar Emerita at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in Austin, Texas. There she directed the Strategies for Increasing Student Success Program. She continues to design and coordinate professional development activities related to educational change and improvement, school leadership, and the creation of professional learning communities. Her early roles as elementary school classroom teacher and university science education faculty at The University of Texas at Austin were followed... More About Author

William Arthur Sommers

William A. Sommers, Ph.D. of Austin, Texas, continues to be a learner, teacher, principal, author, leadership coach, and consultant. Bill has come out of retirement five times to put theory into practice. He was on the Board of Trustees for five years and President for the National Staff Development Council now called Learning Forward. ... More About Author

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