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What is the secret to improving professional learning communities (PLCs)? Going back to the basics. Here are five questions offered by assistant clinical professor David M. Boren to reflect on how your teams are doing.

  1. Are we clear about our purpose?
    Getting crystal clear on the mission and vision as a team will provide the filter through which every decision, initiative, program, and mandate must pass.
  2. Do we work as a team and do we consistently review team norms?
    Setting ground rules, or norms, for how to work together and reviewing them consistently is crucial to function at high levels of productivity.
  3. Do we identify and ensure learning of essential standards?
    Examining the four criteria of endurance, leverage, readiness, and accountability can provide clarity.
  4. Do we collectively review and respond to the results of team-created common formative assessments?
    Collectively reviewing common assessment data allows PLCs to identify students’ needs and also which teachers and resources are best suited to meet those needs.
  5. Are we continuously learning and improving for the benefit of our students?
    Learn something new every single day as a teacher to be the teacher your students need.

A renewed focus on fundamentals can pave the way for improvement. How fundamentally sound is your school?