The Positive Impact of
Professional Learning Communities
Dr. Cyndi Williams,
Educational Leadership, Radford University
VASCD Newsletter Editor
With a passion for teaching and learning, a cup of coffee, and reflections to share, a small group of educators join together with their school administrator in a weekly professional learning community (PLC) session. These short, but informative meetings, held before, during, or after the school day foster a sense of collective teacher efficacy to support quality learning experiences for students, data-driven decision making, and boosts in student achievement. Relationships developed in these PLC focus groups span across grade levels, content areas, schools, and divisions. These relationships, networking opportunities, and genuine conversations about what is best for students are the foundation for great schools.
In their book
Leaders of Learning
, DuFour and Marzano state, “The best strategy for improving schools and districts is developing the collective capacity of educators to function as members of a professional learning community (PLC) - a concept based on the premise that if students are to learn at high levels, processes must be in place to ensure the ongoing, job-embedded learning of the adults who serve them” (2011, p. 21). Learning opportunities in PLCs can take many forms based on the needs of the students and the school community. Leadership within these powerful groups builds a collective teacher efficacy that supports authentic student learning.