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March 9, 2014


A Small District PLC?

by Chris Lindholm

makingteamworkmeaningfulMoving from a district of 10,000 students to one of 1,600 students this past year has made me reflect quite a bit on how to structure collaborative teams to do the meaningful work of a Professional Learning Community when there are fewer teachers to team up.  The research on effective schools is clear that collaborative teams of teachers focused on common formative assessments and implementation of interventions/enrichments to ensure all students learn at high levels is essential, but how to structure those teams for success is always a challenging leadership question.  As often happens, my Twitter feed offered some “just in time professional development” this past week as I ran across an excellent presentation by author and 6th grade teacher Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) focused on this very topic.  The ideas and options he shares are relevant to a school or district of any size.


Check out Bill’s 2012 book, Making Teamwork Meaningful, Leading Progress Driven Collaboration in a PLC at Work!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Molly
    Mar 14 2014

    Technology does make this convenient, I have had a few meetings lately with teachers on Google +, and we wouldn’t have had time if we also needed to travel to the other building. Taking physical proximity out, opens a lot of doors.

    • Mar 19 2014

      Thanks for the reply Molly and glad you are reaching out via Google + and Twitter. Something I’d love you to be thinking about is – how can we collect the evidence of our work in collaborative teams so that it is meaningful and authentic and connected to our school and district improvement plans? With tools like Google Apps, wikis, sites, Moodle, etc… we should be able to create synergy as we celebrate (sometimes publicly) the evidence of our progress.

      Thanks for staying connected!

  2. Apr 12 2014

    Hey Pal,

    Sorry that it took so long for me to find this post in my stream!

    And thanks a ton for digging this content.

    Did you see the handouts for that Singletons session? In it, we look at four different scenarios for structuring collaborative teams in a small school. You can find them here:

    Lemme know if you want to talk about this stuff in more detail. Always willing to help…


  3. Apr 13 2014

    As always – it’s an honor to have you chiming in here Bill. Thanks for all you do to help us do the right work!

  4. Thank you for sharing these resources! Working to continually improve and take collaboration to a new level requires creative approaches to design the structures to support it. As leaders, one of our most important responsibilities is building the capacity to make this happen. Even in larger schools and districts, we need to remember the needs of all our teachers, especially those with unique assignments when we talk collaboration. The structure is a means to an end. The end being student learning and achievement driven by the four PLC questions.


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