Teacher Education Institute
Call/Text (800) 331-2208 | Fax (407) 536-6000 |   
Teacher Education Institute Register Now
Courses

Professional Learning Communities

This course is designed to assist teachers and administrators in public and private schools to create and implement a strategic organizational plan to align rigorous curriculum and relevant assessment to promote highest student achievement amongst all students within a school setting. Members of Professional Learning Communities use results-oriented action steps to clarify exactly what each student must learn, monitor each student's learning on a timely basis, provide systematic interventions, and use collective inquiry/feedback to create a collaborative atmosphere of continual improvement. The self-assessments and reflective exercises contained in the book, Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work by DuFour et al. will form the foundation for the course, with discussions and additional readings.

Carlow University ED 664 • Madonna University EDU 5830.21 • Notre Dame College ED 685 E • The College of Saint Rose EDT 662


Graduate participants earn 3 semester hours of graduate credit and will receive a transcript from one of our partner institutions below. Professional development participants will receive a certificate of completion for 45 hours of professional developments credit for face-to-face classes and 60 hours of professional development credit for online classes.

Register Here

Course Schedule

  • 10/8/18 - 1/8/19
  • 12/11/18 - 3/12/19
  • 2/12/19 - 5/14/19
  • 4/9/19 - 7/9/19
  • 6/11/19 - 9/10/19
  • 8/13/19 - 11/12/19
  • 10/8/19 - 1/14/20
  • 12/10/19 - 3/10/20

Session/Module 1: Introduction and Overview

Objectives:

  • The participants will understand a brief history of educational reform and how these approaches have been unsuccessful in addressing student achievement
  • The participants will understand and evaluate the conceptual characteristics (Six Big Ideas) of a Professional Learning Community and how these characteristics can be translated to classroom practices (ie. Dufour’s Six Components of a Professional Learning Community from course text)
  • Investigate research regarding the efficacy of professional learning community implementation on student achievement

Contents:

  • Course registration, requirements, and expectations
  • Introductions of class members
  • General Course Overview
  • Exploring the concept of school reform and how it has evolved over the past thirty years
  • Defining the who, what, when and where of Professional Learning Communities: PLC's Six Characteristics
  • Developing a common vocabulary and a consistent understanding of key concepts
  • Setting personal goals for the course
  • Table-group team building exercise

Session/Module 2: A Sense of Purpose and Mission

Objective:

  • Clarifying our purpose as educators and developing an action-based mission statement.

Contents:

  • Building consensus from the start, a case study reflection
  • Good is the enemy of great
  • Confronting the issue of time and time management
  • Rediscovering your own purpose in education
  • Creating and living an action-based Mission Statement
  • How your school's educational mission incorporates vision, values and goals
  • Assignment

Session/Module 3: Systems Thinking and Constructivist Teaching

Objectives:

  • Investigate and evaluate how systems thinking theory and constructivist teaching practices influence the identification of essential learning within schools
  • Consider the Ladder of Inference concept and how preconceptions can impede or promote progress and change
  • Analyze and evaluate how systems thinking theory and constructivist teaching practices influences how the professional learning community functions
  • Evaluate the importance of Systems Thinking within the schools

Contents:

  • Defining Systems Thinking/Constructivism
  • Why Systems Thinking is important to classroom and school culture
  • Strategies for Systems Thinking
  • The Ladder of Inference
  • Constructivist teaching in theory and practice
  • Assignments

Session/Module 4: Personal Mastery: Tools for Understanding our Perceptions of the PLC Journey

Objectives:

  • The participants will understand the importance of meshing personal leaning styles to create a safe environment for effective communication in a Professional Learning Community
  • The participants will understand how thinking styles affect student learning in the classroom and how these styles influence professional collaboration amongst adults on a PLC
  • The participant will understand and evaluate how Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Reasoning promote or hinder a Professional Learning Community’s ability to meet its mission, vision, values and goals

Contents:

  • An Introduction to Personal Learning and Communication Styles- Identifying Our Personal Tools in Our Toolboxes
  • Tools in Our Toolbox’s
  • Tool #1- Maslow’s Hierarchy, Tool #2- Gregorc Mind Styles Delineator
  • Strategies for traveling with different drivers: How to communicate and work with different styles
  • Tool #3- Kohlberg’s Moral Reasoning: How Our Reasoning Affects Our Ability to communicate and problem solve
  • Summary of Tools in the Toolbox
  • What this Means for the Classroom: How We Apply What We Know
  • Assignments

Session/Module 5: Personal Learning and Communication Styles

Objectives:

  • Communicate the four characteristics of a learning team in a PLC and differentiate PLC team learning and collaboration from “group work”
  • Investigate the benefits of interdependence, versus independence, for working in teams in a Professional Learning Community
  • Experience and evaluate team-building strategies to achieve effective team organization (structures), communication and problem solving within the PLC and classroom
  • Distinguish effective skills demonstrated by high functioning teams in a PLC
  • Identify and explain strategies for effective communication and team building (Discover the protocols for effective advocacy and inquiry)

Contents:

  • Identify personal learning and communication styles using the Gregoric Indicator
  • How different learning styles affect group performance
  • Maslow's Hierarchy and Professional Learning Communities
  • Protocols for effective inquiry and advocacy
  • The Four Keys for Incorporating Celebration
  • The risk/reward emotional component of a PLC
  • Strategies for creating cohesive group structure
  • Assignments

Session/Module 6: Establishing Essential Learning in the School Culture

Objectives:

  • The participants will investigate and discover that common formative assessment is greatly enhanced by collaboration with peers and encouraging students to begin to take steps toward self-assessment
  • Clarify and reach consensus on what the students must learn (Essential Learning)
  • Establish guidelines for creating common formative assessments

Contents:

  • An introduction to Essential Learning
  • Clarifying questions regarding Essential Learning
  • How to create PLC’s that focus on student learning
  • Identifying roadblocks to student learning
  • Clarifying questions regarding monitoring student learning
  • Guidelines for and creating common formative assessments
  • The power of common assessments
  • Assignments

Session/Module 7: Shared Vision

Objectives:

  • Create the protocols for both developing and translating the vision and/or mission statement of your school into concrete action
  • Investigate the stories behind the structure and culture of their schools and understand how to begin the process of re-culturing

Contents:

  • The logistics of how to build the foundation of a PLC
  • Assessing the current reality of each school/district
  • Linking the Change Initiative to current practices and assumptions
  • Co-creating a new educational environment
  • Establishing a results-based orientation in a PLC
  • Addressing necessary cultural shifts
  • Assignments

Session/Module 8: Addressing Consensus and Conflict in a PLC

Objectives:

  • Anticipate and manage issues related to creating consensus, changing minds, and handling conflict within their professional learning communities
  • Develop a greater understanding of team building and the importance of and guidelines for creating team norms

Contents:

  • Reaching consensus on the concept of consensus
  • Elements of crucial conversations
  • Gardner's 7 factors of changing thought patterns
  • The inner conflict of knowing and doing
  • The importance of team norms
  • How to create explicit team norms
  • Assignments

Session/Module 9: Systematic Interventions to Keep All Students on Pace

Objective:

  • Discover how the framework for systematic academic interventions are created, put into action and reviewed and maintained

Contents:

  • Case study: Systematic Interventions versus an Educational Lottery
  • Brainstorming ideas for the creation of an intervention system
  • Clarifying questions to guide the development of Systematic Interventions
  • Assessing intervention strategies
  • Overcoming the barriers of existing culture and/or precedent
  • S.P.E.E.D. intervention criteria
  • How to support and sustain systematic interventions (no teachers left behind)
  • Assignments

Session/Module 10: Your Personal Growth Plan and PLC Action Plan

Objectives:

  • Initiate goal-creation and goal-setting as it relates to Professional Learning Communities
  • Discover how other schools and districts create, collect and manage data

Contents:

  • Creating short term goals to serve as benchmarks
  • Developing S.M.A.R.T. goals
  • Attainable goals and Stretch goals and why both are important
  • Using relevant information to improve results
  • Moving beyond the DRIP syndrome of being data rich, but information poor
  • Course Evaluation
Objectives
  • Develop an understanding of the history of educational reform and how past approaches have been unsuccessful in addressing student achievement
  • Evaluate the conceptual characteristics (Six Big Ideas) of a Professional Learning Community and how these characteristics can be translated to classroom practices (ie. Dufour's Six Components of a Professional Learning Community from course text)
  • Investigate research regarding the efficacy of professional learning community implementation on student achievement
  • Relate and communicate the four building blocks of Learning Communities and how to apply them in their schools and classrooms
  • Investigate and evaluate how systems thinking theory and constructivist teaching practices influence the identification of essential learning within schools
  • Consider the Ladder of Inference concept and how preconceptions can impede or promote progress and change
  • Analyze and evaluate how systems thinking theory and constructivist teaching practices influences how the professional learning community functions
  • Evaluate the importance of Systems Thinking within the schools
  • The participants will understand the importance of meshing personal leaning styles to create a safe environment for effective communication in a Professional Learning Community
  • The participants will understand how thinking styles affect student learning in the classroom and how these styles influence professional collaboration amongst adults on a PLC
  • The participant will understand and evaluate how Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Reasoning promote or hinder a Professional Learning Community's ability to meet its mission, vision, values and goals
  • Communicate the four characteristics of a learning team in a PLC and differentiate PLC team learning and collaboration from group work
  • Investigate the benefits of interdependence, versus independence, for working in teams in a Professional Learning Community
  • Experience and evaluate team-building strategies to achieve effective team organization (structures), communication and problem solving within the PLC and classroom
  • Distinguish effective skills demonstrated by high functioning teams in a PLC
  • Identify and explain strategies for effective communication and team building (Discover the protocols for effective advocacy and inquiry)
  • The participants will investigate and discover that common formative assessment is greatly enhanced by collaboration with peers and encouraging students to begin to take steps toward self-assessment
  • Clarify and reach consensus on what the students must learn (Essential Learning)
  • Establish guidelines for creating common formative assessments
  • Create the protocols for both developing and translating the vision and/or mission statement of your school into concrete action
  • Investigate the stories behind the structure and culture of their schools and understand how to begin the process of re-culturing
  • Anticipate and manage issues related to creating consensus, changing minds, and handling conflict within their professional learning communities
  • Develop a greater understanding of team building and the importance of and guidelines for creating team norms
  • Discover how the framework for systematic academic interventions are created, put into action and reviewed and maintained
  • Initiate goal-creation and goal-setting as it relates to Professional Learning Communities
  • Discover how other schools and districts create, collect and manage data
Partner Universities

Our Partners are well-established regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities, recognized for academic excellence and their commitment to teachers.

Important Information

Online 3-graduate credit courses are 13 weeks in length.

Face-to-face courses are held Friday evening from 6:00pm-9:00pm and Saturday/Sunday, 8:30am-5:30pm.

Weekday courses are Monday-Friday from 8:00am- 6:00pm.

It is the responsibility of the student to check with their state, county, district, or school to ensure that all requirements are being met by the course you're taking.  

Check the Partner Universities tab for specific university information as well as course numbers which are specific to the university partner. 

Students are to purchase their own textbook, the information for which can be found here.  Most courses require a book but some do not, so check the list for your specific course. If no book is required it will be specified. 

Professional development (PD) participants receive a certificate of completion from TEI for 45 hours of PD credit for face to face classes and 60 hours of PD credit for online classes. These certificates are mailed within one week of the end of the class.