In Search of the Elusive PLC

If there’s one thing we educators can agree upon, it’s that our schools can be better. If there’s another, it’s that operating as a true Professional Learning Community (PLC) is the most surefire way to improve our outputs.

PLCSo if we’re clear on the vehicle, why aren’t we commuting together with regularity? Why the knowing-doing gap? Why haven’t our schools made wild, across-the-board academic gains in the past 15 years, since “PLC” became a popular part of our eduspeak?

As I’ve worked with schools and districts across the country, I hear this a lot: “Yes, we have PLCs. Every Wednesday morning from 7:30-8:30.” This exposes a fundamental misunderstanding: a PLC isn’t a meeting. Rather, a PLC is a collection of educators who always strive to perform at their ultimate potential, working together to learn, grow, and improve the professional practice of teaching in order to maximize student learning. A PLC is one little part WHAT we do, and one giant part of HOW we do it. And WHY? To improve student learning.

And how is your PLC pursuit? What has worked? Where have you had obstacles? How did you overcome them? What stunted your growth? Share your lessons learned so that we might all benefit and grow our own healthy, robust PLCs.

Pete Hall is an educational consultant, former award-winning principal, speaker, and author of four books (including Lead On! Motivational lessons for school leaders (Eye on Education, 2011) and Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building your capacity for success in the classroom (ASCD, 2015). He shares his perspectives in 212-word entries every month or so. He can be reached for speaking engagements, professional development, or other queries at petehall@educationhall.com.

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