A teacher was reviewing the state professional Standard 1 on the rubric under the category of “Teachers demonstrate leadership” referencing component “b” documenting s/he is participates in professional learning community (PLC) moving toward assumes a leadership role in professional learning community. Due to being employed in a non-public school site and not having a lot of options in county with agency resources for existing PLC that focuses on early childhood education for children ages 3-years to 4-years-old the question was posed “How to set up a PLC in pre-k setting?
Professional learning community (PLC) will give members who participate in (a) opportunity for teachers to network, (b) cooperation among colleagues on common themes, and (c) expand professional roles to provide high-quality education for early childhood students along with their families. Research shows there are five (5) attributes for a PLC that must be taken under consideration as you began planning for your site staff only or invite neighboring/county-wide participants and they are as following:
- Supportive and shared leadership
- All agree to have and participate in a PLC
- All benefit from professional opportunities
- Collective creativity
- Reflective dialogue – agree to agree and disagree respectfully
- Conduct conversations about students, teaching and learning (all information confidential)
- Identity issues and problems in chronological order to address
- Shared values and vision
- Open communication on shared values and vision – everyone has a voice in the conversation
- Supportive conditions
- Determine when, where, how and if staff regularly come together as a unit to do learning, decision making, problem solving and creative work
- Designated and protected time to meet and talk to ensure meeting is productive
- Respect and trust among colleagues
- Willingness to accept feedback and work toward improvement – how best to serve children/families, etc.
- Supportive leadership from administrators
- Shared personal practice
- Open classroom doors where colleagues can visit and give feedback
- Open lesson plan books where colleagues can view and give feedback
- Open conversation
- Practice of “peers helping peers”
- Conduct review by teachers
- Good understanding of child development, curriculum, etc. to best serve the overall program issues
As you take under consideration the five (5) attributes listed above here is a suggestive process to setting up your onsite PLC initially.
- Survey staff to find out how many want to participate and if would like to open up to other community sites
- Prior to start of PLC meeting survey staff on topics to address and prioritize as part of conversation for first meeting
- Determine facilitator of PLC and set agenda
- Set date/time to meet with rules of confidentiality that will last approximately 1 hour – decide how often to meet and how (e.g., one a month, face-to-face, teleconference call)
- Discuss topics and give updates at upcoming meeting(s)
- Name the PLC group
- Decide if guest speaker is required on certain topics being addressed
Here are three (3) websites that can be viewed for more information on PLC. All Things PLC provides research, articles, data, and tools for educators. Inspirational stories with a blog including questions and answers. Serve Center mission is to support and promote teaching and learning in prekindergarten through Grade 12 education community. A number of resources on PLCs tool to sustain onsite professional development directed toward improving teacher quality and student improvement. Teacher Leaders Network (TLN) members have referenced and created Resource Library where teachers post articles.
Enjoy starting a PLC or revamping the set-up of the current one in place to discuss various topics relating to pre-k students and professional development. Share your thoughts or comments on planning and implementing a PLC.