Leading Professional Learning Teams


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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables Foreword by Shirley M. Hord Preface Acknowledgments About the Author 1. Understanding Professional Learning Teams Defining Professional Learning Teams The Need for PLTs Other Models for Teacher Collaboration Key Points for Chapter 1 2. Setting the Stage for Success Readiness for PLTs Understanding Change Building Relationships Creating Avenues of Communication Key Points for Chapter 2 3. Laying the Foundation Within the School Community Advocating for PLTs With Important Stakeholders Aligning With School Goals Structures for Working Collaboratively Providing and Using Data Providing Additional Resources Establishing Supportive Accountability Key Points for Chapter 3 4. What About Leadership? Administrators as Leaders Shared and Facilitative Leadership Teacher Leadership Sustaining Leadership Vignette: A Professional Learning Team in Action Key Points for Chapter 4 5. Supporting the Work of PLTs Successful PLTs Reinforcing PLT Strategies and Skills Ensuring That PLTs Are Teacher Led Using a Rubric to Encourage Reflection Anticipating Potential Challenges Celebrating Success Key Points for Chapter 5 Resources A. National Staff Development Council (NSDC) Standards for Staff Development B. Survey of School Capacity for Continuous Improvement C. Professional Learning Community (PLC) Survey D. Finding Time for Professional Learning E. Resolving Conflict: Key to Collaboration F. Sample Conflict Scenarios G. Possible Expectations for PLT Team Leaders and Facilitators H. Tools 1. Professional Learning Team Inquiry Cycle 2. PLT Inquiry Cycle With Steps Explained 3. Getting Started: Sample Agenda for Workship 1 4. PLT Team Log 5. Sample PLT team Meeting Agenda and Log 6. Defining Team Roles 7. Professional Learning Team: Planning Sheet 8. Five Demensions of Professional Learning Communities 9. Criteria for Quality Team Time 10. Finding Time for Collaboration 11. Factors Supporting the Success of PLTs 12. PLT Implementation Rubric 13. Getting Started Roadmap Suggested Readings References Index

About the Author

Susan E. Sather is a senior program advisor at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) in Portland, OR. She leads the Laboratory's professional learning teams (PLT) work, supervising and conducting PLT training in schools around the nation. She also contributes to research on issues such as high school academic rigor. Sather has 38 years of experience in education, 17 as a teacher working with a dropout prevention program and in special education. Prior to joining NWREL, she was western regional manager and a staff developer for a whole-school reform model, Ventures Education Systems. She has conducted research and evaluation through the School of Education and the School of Social Welfare at the University of California Berkeley, and with ARC associates in Oakland, California. At ARC, she was a member of the Leading for Diversity research team and co-author of Leading for Diversity: How School Leaders Promote Positive Interethnic Relations. She has a PhD in educational administration from the University of California Berkeley.


"As a high school principal, it is crucial to have tools and models that have teeth, that will make an impact on student achievement, and also improve collegiality and collaboration among teachers. This is a wonderful faculty book study choice for any school looking to have teams of teachers focused on data and how to incorporate best practices in their classrooms. I really like the key points section for an extra-busy administrator or teacher who still wants to get the main ideas." -- Steve Knobl, Principal

This book comes out of the highly credible stable of NWREL (Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory), with the foreword written by Shirley Hord. Typically, the book is about changing practice in schools, and it leads the readers through the change process.If I had to think of three adjectives to describe this book, they would be: PRACTICAL, PRACTICAL, PRACTICAL. The resources offered include: NSCD standards, continuous improvement capacity survey, PLC survey, very useful strategies for finding time for professional learning, conflict resolution, team expectations, and 13 very useful tools, including road maps. Change is difficult in schools, but with this support, essential change becomes doable. And, the book will provide the best professional learning that you could buy in setting up professional learning teams.This book is essential reading for school leadership teams.

-- Neil MacNeill, Principal
"This book is packed with insights about creating cultures of inquiry that are focused upon student learning. I found the gritty details of the work of the teams helpful. That alone would convince me to buy the book." -- Becky J. Cooke, Principal
"A must-read guide for any school principal ready to take the next step forward into professional learning teams to improve instruction and learning in their school. This well-organized guide is both practical and research based." -- Mark White, Principal

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