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Developing and Implementing a Professional

Learning Community: The Integration of

Educational Best Practices and Student

Presented By: Bob Attee (Science

Teacher), Inaya Bazzi (Literacy
Specialist), and Glenn Maleyko
Salina Intermediate continued
 4th through 8th grade 3rd year in existence.
 Converted from a K-5 building
 560 students in total
 95% of the students are on free and reduced lunch
 Over 60% Limited English Proficient (LEP)
 The majority of the students are from Yemen
 We have the highest immigrant/refugee population in
the school district
Schools Do Make a Difference
 Effective School Research of Ron
Edmunds, Larry Lezotte, Wilbur
Bookover, Michael Rutter, and other
 All children can learn; and the school
controls the factors to assure
student mastery of the core
Schools Do Make a Difference
 An analysis of research conducted over
a thirty-five year period demonstrates
that schools that are highly effective
produce results that almost entirely
overcome the effects of student

 Robert Marzano, What works in schools, 2003.

Correlates of Effective Schools
 Strong Instructional Leadership
 Clear Focused Mission
 Safe and Orderly Environment
 Climate of High Expectations
 Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress
 Positive Home/School Relations
 Opportunity to Learn & Student time on task.
The Power of Professional
Learning Communities
 The most promising strategy for sustained,
substantive school improvement is building
the capacity of school personnel to function
as a professional learning community. The
path to change in the classroom lies within
and through professional learning

Dufour & Eaker

Professional Learning
Community (PLC) Defined
 Educators committed to working
collaboratively in ongoing processes or
collective inquiry and action research in order
to achieve better results for the students they
serve. PLC’s operate under the
assumption that the key to improved
learning for students is continuous, job-
embedded learning for educators.
 Dufour, Dufour, Eaker, Many, 2006.
Learning Community is
Characterized by
 1. Shared, Mission, Vision, and Values
 2. Collaborative Teams
 3. Collective Inquiry
 4. Action Orientation/experimentation
 5. Commitment to Continuous school
 6. Results Oriented
 7. SMART goals
Salina Intermediate Mission

 The mission of Salina Intermediate School is

to increase academic achievement by
implementing and evaluating a technology
integrated comprehensive curriculum which
enables students to become literate problem-
solving critical thinkers. We have high
expectations for all students, and provide a
safe and nurturing environment
collaboratively with parents and community to
ensure that all students become responsible,
productive citizens.
There must Be a Cultural Shift
in how we do business on a
day to day basis.
Cultural Shifts
Becoming a Professional
Learning Community
 “To put it as succinctly as possible, if
you want to change and improve the
climate and outcomes of schooling both
for students and teachers, there are
features of the school culture that have
to be changed, and if they are not
changed your well-intentioned efforts
will be defeated”
Seymour Sarason: Taken From Robert Eaker PLC presentation.
A Traditional School Focuses
on Teaching
and a Professional Learning
Community Focuses on
Student Learning.
Cultural Shift
Traditional School Professional Learning
Teacher Isolation Collaboration
Generic Mission Mission Clarifies what students
will learn
When students don’t learn Systematic response as to how the
not systematic response school responds when students
don’t learn.
Collaboratively Developed
Infrequent Celebration Frequent Celebration as
individuals and groups
Cultural Shift Continued
Traditional School PLC

Decisions about Decisions are researched

improvement are based with collaborative teams
opinion based. seeking out best practices.

Emphasis is given on how Effects on student learning as the

teachers liked approaches. primary basis for assessing various
improvement strategies.
Administrators are viewed Administrators are leaders of
a leaders and teachers as leaders teachers are
followers. transformational leaders.
Team Collaboration and the 3
Essential Questions
 1. What is it that we want children to Learn.
 2. How will we know when they have learned
 3. How will we respond when they don’t

 A new fourth question is How will we respond

when they have learned?
Salina Intermediate School
Improvement Plan
 Goal 1: Reading
 Goal 2: Writing
 Goal 3: Math/ Problem Solving
Goal One Reading
 All students will demonstrate
improvement in reading comprehension
in all content areas. 65% of the
students will show proficiency by
meeting the state standards on the
2007 MEAP reading assessment.
Goal Two Writing
 All students will demonstrate
improvement in writing across all
content areas with 60% of the students
showing proficiency by meeting the
state standards on the 2007 MEAP
writing assessment.
Steps for Reaching the
Reading Goal
Partnerships in Comprehensive
Literacy Model
 Further implementation and enhancement of the
 Some Components in the model include, Read
Aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading,
Independent Reading, and Literature Discussion
 We use the Developmental Reading Assessment
(DRA) to monitor student comprehension and
progress in all grades and all content levels.
Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy Model

 “Grounded in the belief that true change occurs at the

school level.”
Dorn and Soffos, 2001
 Consists of Ten Features

 Meets the standards set by the No Child Left Behind of

 Implementing our goals are embedded in PICL
Ten Features of the
Comprehensive Literacy Model
1. Curriculum for Literacy
2. High Standards
3. Model Classrooms
4. Coaching and Mentoring
5. Accountability
6. Intervention
7. Team Meetings
8. School Plan
9. Technology
10. Spotlighting
Curriculum for Literacy
 Read Aloud
 Shared Reading
 Familiar Reading
 Guided Reading
 Reader’s Workshop
 Word Study
 Assisted Writing
 Writer’s Workshop
 Literacy Corners
 Content Workshop
Shared Reading


Whole Group Instruction Strategy Introduction

Reader’s Workshop

Mini-lessons Explicit Anchor Charts

Reading Workshop

Guided Reading

Teacher Support On-going Assessments

Literature Discussion

Response Logs
Literature Discussion Groups
Coaching and Mentoring

Coach to Teacher
Teacher to Teacher
North Central Accreditation


Comprehensive Literacy Model

Assessment Walls School Reporting Form


90 West

Data Reporting
1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
Professional Development

Team Meetings Teacher Discussion

ELL support
 We have developed a newcomer literacy
academy that integrates reading across the
curriculum in grades 6th through 8th.
 The 4th and 5th grade students receive ELL
support during their literacy block from our
Bilingual Literacy and Technology Specialists.
 ELPA, LAS, Terra Nova, MLPP, and DRA
Results are used for appropriate student
placement in the newcomer literacy center.
Implementation of the Special
Education Co-teaching

 Co-teaching in 4th and 5th grade in

 Co-teaching in 6th through 8th grade in
science and social studies.
 We are looking to expand the model into
the other content areas in the near future.
Example mathematics (middle school) and
Language Arts.
Implementation of the
Assessment for Learning
 We have planned an assessment for learning
PD program for the entire school year
 Meet in Departmental teams to develop and
Refine Common Assessments.
 We began the process of implementing and
creating common assessments during the
2004-05 school year.
Implementation of the
Assessment for Learning

 We plan to use the results to guide our

instruction in all content areas.
The Building Wide Writing
Across the Curriculum Program
 All teachers including elective teachers
submit student writing samples that is
reviewed by the Literacy Team.
 We created a common writing rubric in
the various content areas.
 Extensive Inter-rater Reliability Training.
 The development of appropriate writing
prompts for all content areas.
Implementation of the Problem
Solving Prompts

 All teachers including elective teachers

submit student writing samples that are
reviewed by the Literacy Team
 We created a common writing rubric in the
various content areas.
 Extensive Inter Rater Reliability Training
 The development of effective prompts for all
content areas.
Goal Three Math
 All students will demonstrate improved
math problem solving in all content
areas with 80% of students showing
proficiency by meeting the state
standards for the 2007 MEAP math
Desired Learning Results

 Students will be able to formulate and solve word problems involving mathematical
algorithms and justify solutions verbally or in writing using a variety of strategies as
measured by building math assessments and content area common assessments.
 Students will be able to read, interpret and construct graphs, charts and other forms of
graphic organizers that will illustrate their ability to problem solve and critically analyze
situations as measured by building math assessments and content area common
 Students will be able to create multimedia projects that will allow them to show their
learning and ability to solve problems using higher order thinking skills as measured by
building and ISTE rubrics.
Steps for Reaching the
Mathematical Problem Solving
Implementation of the
Problem Solving Prompts

 All teachers including elective teachers

submit student writing samples that are
reviewed by the Literacy Team
 We created a common writing rubric in the
various content areas.
 Extensive Inter Rater Reliability Training
 The development of effective prompts for all
content areas.
The Integration of Technology
Across the Curriculum
 Student Multimedia presentations and
 Development of Graphic Organizers
(example Inspiration, PowerPoint,
iLearn, others)
Computers in the Home Based
on Income Children Ages 6-17
50 under $25000
40 $25000-$50000
30 $50000-$75000
20 $75000 and above
Hom e
Com puter 60% gap low to high
Access income Bracket

US Census Bureau 2001.

Schools level the playing
field by giving computer
access to students who
have none in the home.
US Census Bureau (2001)
Technology should be used to
support strategies proven by
research to promote more
effective learning.
ISTE Standards project 2002.
Salina MEAP Science
Proficiency Results
60 2000
50 2001
40 2002
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

A 68.3% increase
Based on work of:
Dave Bydlowski (Wayne County RESA)
Laura Seymour (Dearborn Public Schools)
Multimedia Project
 1. Identify the content benchmarks (or
GLCE’s) that you will be teaching to this
Multimedia Project
 2. Using the benchmarks from the first
step, cluster the benchmarks into units
or themes.
 If you are on a middle school team, you
may look for similarities in
interdisciplinary subjects.
Multimedia Project
 3. Construct a calendar for the school year, which includes all of the
units from the second step.
 Discuss with your team how you can work together to enhance the
curriculum between the content areas.
 When would it be better to teach a unit - ex. Science and social
studies are both covering environmental problems in April; Science
and math are covering charts and graphs in October.
Multimedia Project
 4. Define the one MAJOR UNDERSTANDING
that you want all students to know upon
completion of the unit.
 This is the big picture of what students should retain
if they forget the details of the unit.”
Multimedia Project
 5. Define the ESSENTIAL
CONTENT as determined by the
benchmarks, that all students need
to know in the unit or theme.
 What do the students need to know in
this unit (Align GLCE’s and
 Line up your benchmarks in this unit.
Multimedia Project

 6. Determine how you are going to ASSESS

understanding and essential content in the
student project(s).
 What product should you see that relates shows that
students have mastered the content?
Assessment Options For Types Of Objectives

Type Of Assessment:
Type of
Objective: Essay /
Selected Performance Personal
Response Writing Assessments Communication

Knowledge + + ? +

Reason + + + +

Skills + +

Multimedia Project
 7. Select the most appropriate
technology based instructional
 What hardware and software has or has
not worked for you in the past?
 What activities worked well?
 Which technology best supports student
Multimedia Project
 9. Construct your day to day lesson
plans following best practices.
 Plan the duration of your project.
 How many days or weeks will it take in
order to complete this project.
 Be sure to add time to present the student
Intervention process working draft
PICL MODEL Salina Intermediate Student Interventions
Professional Learning Communities
Teacher Teacher
If Students Do Not Meet conference with
conference with
If Students Exceed
Standards ... Standards ...
Advisor/ Advisee Advisor/ Advisee
program (A2) program (A2)
Academic Games
Student Council parent conference parent conference
Pullout Study Career Education
Differentiated Differentiated
Skills Support Instruction
with Samira Instruction IGNITE
Technology Practices Practices Stand
Integration Basketball / Rec
Instructional Academic Games Writing Across
* Personal Student Council
Dialogues Writing Spelling Lists * Personal the Curriculum
Across the Spelling Lists
Antibullying Title 1 Tutoring Curriculum Parent Liason Mentoring
Support * Classroom DCMST
Campaign * Classroom Partnership
Intervention Student Behavior or
Academic Plan Behavior or Math Counts Peer Mediation
Emergent Referral Process Socialwork Literacy and
Intern Stand (Contract) Academic Plan
Scholars (Contract) NumeracyCenter
Career Education Intervention Co-teaching
*Self Parent Liason Referral Process Antibullying Model
Peer Mediation Detention *Self
Co-teaching Assessment Assessment Support Campaign
Model Basketball / using portfolios using portfolios Communication
Mentoring Box High Achievers
Home Visits
* In dividual Arabic Foreign
21st Century Lunch With Subject folders * In dividual
Subject folders Language
Tutoring Social Worker
Technology program
program * Self - check * Self - check
Communication assessment assessment Integration
Box follow - up retest follow - up retest

*Spelling *Spelling
Groups Groups

team / grade
level team / grade

classroom classroom
Technology Integration
Bullying Prevention Program
 Collaboration is a systematic process in
which we work together,
interdependently, to analyze and impact
professional practice in order to
improve our individual and collective
 Research has found that the single
most important factor for effective,
successful schools is creating a
collaborative culture.
(Eastwood & Lewis)
Advantages of collaborative
 provide support for new teachers
 promote confidence among staff members
 allow teachers to work together to find quality
 provide opportunities for sharing ideas,
materials, and methods for better teaching
 enhance student achievement
Effective collaborative teams share
knowledge, define learning standards,
agree on pacing, build knowledge of
best practice, and focus on issues that
MOST impact student achievement.
 The most effective collaborative teams
focus on learning rather than teaching.
If teams do not focus on issues and
questions that most impact student
achievement, they become
“coblaboration” teams.
 Strategic and Specific
 Measurable

 Attainable

 Results-Oriented

 Time-Bound
Intended VS. Implemented
 Intended Curriculum- the essential concepts
that you plan to teach
 Implemented Curriculum- your executed
lesson plans, what you actually teach

 By comparing the two on a regular basis over

time, teams will have a more clear & concise
response to: What must students know?
Building Consensus and
Responding to Resistors
 Resistance to PLC concepts may arise due to the
belief that:
 It is the teachers’ job to teach and the students’ job to learn
 Learning is only a function of the student’s aptitude
 Professionalism is defined by the autonomy to do as one
 Strategies for addressing the problem:
 Set a clear definition for consensus
 Deal with confrontation
Defining Consensus
 Resistance arises in part because a
clear, operational definition of
consensus has not been agreed upon
 A group has arrived at consensus
 All points of view have been heard.
 The will of the group is evident even to
those who most oppose it.
Building Consensus
 Create a comprehensive list of pros and cons
regarding idea under consideration:
 All points of view will be heard
 No personal opinions will be evident

 Determine the will of the group

 “fist to five” strategy of voting
Team Meetings components
 Three important components keep the team focus and
help to subdue the resistors
 1. The development of Team Norms
 2. The development of Team Goals
 3. Sustaining Good team leadership (This could be one or two
 The real strength of a newly implemented idea is
determined by the response to the disagreements
and violations of commitments that are inevitable
 Conflict is to be expected, especially when an
organization is engaged in significant change
 The absence of conflict suggests only superficial
 Leaders must address violations of what the
organization contends is vital
Engaging in Dialogue
Strategies offered in Crucial Conversations:
 Clarify what you do and don’t want to result

from the conversation

 Find mutual purpose

 Create a safe environment for dialogue

 Use facts

 Share your thought process

 Encourage recipients to share facts and

thought process
Continuing to Address
Even after an open dialogue, resistors may persist. Leaders
must act as promoters and protectors of decisions and:
 Continue working with the resistor
 Make no exemption from the collaborative process
 Clarify the specific behaviors required
 Clarify specific consequences
 Monitor behavior rather than attitude
 Apply the specified consequences, if necessary
Howard Gardner’s Factors to
Change People’s Thinking
1. Reason: Appealing to rational thinking and decision-making
2. Research: Building shared knowledge of the research base
supporting a decision
3. Resonance: Connecting to a person’s intuition
4. Representational Re-descriptions: Changing the way the
information is presented
5. Resources and Reward: Providing people with incentives
6. Real-World Events: Providing examples where the idea has been
applied successfully
7. Confrontation
Final Thoughts on Resisters
 Addressing resistance will communicate
priorities throughout an organization
 Unwillingness to follow through when difficulties
arise sends mixed messages about what is
important or valued
 Hopefully, it will never come to this…
Thank you and have a great year.
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