"An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators." (http://www.allthingsplc.info/about)
Three big ideas that guide the daily work of educators in a professional learning community:
- The fundamental purpose of the school is to ensure high levels of learning for all students, and the extent to which the school is successful in achieving that purpose will have a profound effect on the short- and long-term success of students. The relevant question in a professional learning community is not “Was it taught?” but rather, “Was it learned?” The shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning underpins the work of a professional learning community.
- Educators cannot fulfill the fundamental purpose of learning for all if they work in isolation. Therefore, they must work together collaboratively to address those issues that have the greatest impact on student learning and must take collective responsibility to ensure the learning takes place.
- Educators will not know the extent to which students are learning unless they have a results orientation, constantly seeking evidence and indicators of student learning. They will use that evidence to identify students who need additional time and support for learning and to inform and improve their own practice in the classroom.
Based on these three big ideas, there are four guiding questions that drive the work of the professional learning community (PLC):
- What do we expect our students to learn? (Identify ESSENTIAL standards)
- How will we know they are learning? (Common Formative Assessments-CFAs)
- How will we respond when they don't learn? (Response to Intervention)
- How will we respond if they already know it?
(Dr. DuFour, Dr. Eaker, and Rebecca DuFour. Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press, 2016. Print.)
RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI) is essentially PLC Question #3: How will we respond when students don't learn it?
"RTI—also known as a multitiered system of support (MTSS)—is a systematic process that helps ensure ALL students receive the time and support needed to learn at high levels." (https://www.solutiontree.com/rti-at-work)
A driving force for RTI is the question: Why is it important to ensure ALL of OUR students succeed in school and what will WE do to achieve this?
The RTI at Work™ inverted pyramid is designed to continually focus a school’s collective attention and resources to a single point: the individual child.
A coherent and viable core curriculum that embeds ongoing monitoring for all students
Immediate and targeted interventions systematically applied and monitored for any students not achieving
Intensive interventions focused on closing gaps