Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Thinking Person, Clker, http://bit.ly/1EmDSQV; Pad, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1ByApQR; Girl Reading, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1dyMbE6; Meeting, Clker, http://bit.ly/1HMUwhb; Easel, Clker, http://bit.ly/1J2ZHg5; People Talking, Clker, http://bit.ly/1J2ZKsg; Opinion Writing, Provided by the Author
Hello everyone, and welcome. My name is Gino Sangiuliano. And in this lesson, we will examine the development of goals for a PLC, a professional learning community and why they're so important to the planning process. Let's begin.
The other day I was observing in a fifth grade classroom when I saw something really cool. It was the chart that you see here. On it, you will notice that the class has clearly taken ownership of their learning. In this case, opinion writing.
By setting goals and charting their growth, they can monitor progress. A closer look at the classroom even reveal that each student have a data binder with samples, tools, and resources to help them get to where they want to be. Beyond writing, this teacher is preparing students to have a growth mindset and believe in continuous improvement.
The success of a PLC, or professional learning community, is predicated on certain critical features, namely, establishing norms, a vision, mission, and goals. In order to increase buy-in and accountability, it's also essential that these components are created by teams. In any field of work, this is a cyclical process and often needs to be revisited based upon new information. In schools, the data collected from students, teachers, and parents will help towards that end. In this lesson, we will focus on the feature of setting goals.
The PLC's first order of business is to establish and align the vision and mission statements. Then comes the development of its goals, using the SMART goal format. SMART goals are effective because they are specific, measurable, attainable, connected to a responsible party-- or the R can also stand for relevant-- and the T stands for time-bound.
Here are a couple of examples. The first one is taken from a fourth grade English language arts class. The goal is that all 23 students will increase their overall standard score by one level on the grade four standard for writing on opinion pieces, based on informational text as aligned to our school improvement team goals. The teacher further breaks it down by specifying the following.
Group A, one of 23 students will improve their score from four to five. Group B, six of 23 will go from a three to a four. Group C, 15 out of 23 will go from a two to a three. And group D, one of 23 will go from a one to a two. This is called the tiered approach. And in this example, the R stands for relevant, as the goal does match to the school vision and mission and what the school wants to achieve with their writing scores.
Next, let's take a look at an example where the R stands for a responsible party. Students in grade two will receive 15 minutes of fluency instruction from the classroom teacher per day from September to October in order to increase the reading fluency scores to 95 words per minute or higher for all students. In this example, the R can be for relevant, but it's also for responsible. And the responsible party in this case is the classroom teacher.
Gathering a team to develop SMART goals can seem a bit overwhelming at first. But trust me, if you follow these steps, you'll have no problems at all. First, refer to the vision and mission and place it for all to see. Define what is needed in order to reach the mission and the vision. These are the statements that will eventually be turned into your goals.
For each statement, the team needs to determine what specifically you want to accomplish and what actions are needed to get there. There's your S. How will attainment be measured? There's your M. Ask yourself if the goal is attainable-- A. The team needs to identify why the goal is relevant and who will be responsible for carrying out the actions. There's your R. And then, make a timetable that asks, how long it will take before the goal can be measured and adjusted, if needed. The T for time.
After writing each SMART goal, review the vision and mission. Ask if and how they are connected. Will the team need to adjust the goal? And if so, make the appropriate edits in order to create full alignment.
Let's try running through the process using the following example. You've got a team of teachers at the high school level who would like to work on improving student engagement. At their first meeting, they post the district's vision and mission. Their vision is to create a community of lifelong learners that demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and values to work collaboratively and productively as global citizens.
And the district's mission is to provide a quality education that encourages every student to be ready for college and career. Born out of these statements come the following ideas that the team will discuss. For example, students need to improve their communication skills. Online resources and tools need to be better utilized. Students need more time in class to dialogue and debate. Teachers need to pose more open-ended questions that encourage discussion.
Ultimately, this will all lead to the following goal. Teachers will engage in a book discussion group using classroom instruction that works by Robert Marzano, and explore various techniques. Each teacher will model a lesson for a colleague and observe a lesson by the end of the third quarter.
Run the check to see if it meets the SMART criteria and if it is aligned to the district's vision and mission. This goal will improve teaching, thus help students to be better prepared for college and career. So in my opinion, it is aligned.
We open this lesson by looking at the big picture and the components of a PLC. So why are they all so important to successfully functioning teams? The answer lies in two words-- continuous improvement. The development of these features will allow PLCs to put to action and get the important work of a school improvement team done. Collectively, the components become the roadmap for success and, ultimately, improvement.
It's now time to take a look back and summarize what we covered in this lesson. We reviewed the components of a PLC. We focused on SMART goals. We went even deeper and talked about the development of a SMART goal and included a sample of the entire process. Finally, we looked at how it's all connected to continuous improvement.
Here's today's food for thought. Pick an area of your life, personal or professional, that you could apply the philosophy of continuous improvement to. What goals have you set toward that end?
For more information on this topic, please check out the additional resources section that accompany this video. There, you'll find links and resources to help you better understand this topic. As always, thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.
(00:14-00:45) Class Data
(00:46-01:20) The Big Picture
(03:14-04:11) Developing Goals
(04:12-05:36) Sample Process
(05:37-06:03) Continuous Improvement
(06:04-06:49) Summary/Food For Thought
All Things PLC: Tools & Resources
The All Things PLC Website offers a variety of grade-level specific SMART goal templates and how-tos. You will need to register for free on the site to download any of the materials for your personal use.
The School Improvement KnowledgeBase
The South Central Comprehensive Center at the University of Oklahoma provides a step-by-step activity to guide the development of school improvement teams.