Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Thinking Person, Clker, http://bit.ly/1EmDSQV; Stanford, MorgueFile, http://mrg.bz/xy4Ybm; Tape Measure, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1Lug6si; Umbrella, Clker, http://bit.ly/1Hv9Dte; Restaurant, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1F1Mqxd
Hello there everyone, and welcome to site-based management and professional learning communities and their impact. In this lesson, we will examine the connection between site-based management systems and professional learning communities, focusing specifically on the impact they have on instruction and school improvement. Perhaps after this lesson, you will look at your own school through a different lens. So let's get started.
My family and I enjoy watching cooking shows on television. One in particular we especially like is called Restaurant Impossible. The premise is that chef Robert Irvine comes to a failing restaurant and has 48 hours and $10,000 to turn it around and breathe new life into it. If you watch the show, you know that he can't do it alone. He has an incredible team of designers, builders, painters, chefs, and cleaners behind them. More than that, he has a system.
The first thing he does is assess the cleanliness and aesthetics of the restaurant. Then he observes the service. Finally, he tastes the food. The restaurants that recover from failure and sustain growth are those who follow his recipe for success. Yes, the pun was intended.
In most schools, the role of site-based management is typically filled by the school improvement team. Like all PLCs, the essential purpose of these groups is to support reform and achieve goals set forth at the school level. Teams created are school-based, and encourage and promote voice, empowerment, and development. For teachers principals parents and students, as well. These PLCs support site-based management. What they all have in common is that they must have a shared vision, mission, and goals in order to effectively improve schools and increase student achievement.
With any movement comes a plethora of research. One of the largest studies that include both qualitative and quantitative data on the impact of PLCs was conducted by Claude Goldenberg from Stanford University. Goldenberg and his team looked at the effect PLCs had on student achievement and instructional pedagogy. The group studied 15 Title 1 schools and determined that there were statistical significant gains in both areas. This is good news in that by making some organizational changes, positive results can be realized.
One of the major takeaways was that schools that followed specific protocols and supported teacher initiatives showed improvement. Furthermore, of 20 districts and 200 additional schools, Goldenberg identified that teams with the following characteristics had the greatest impact on student achievement and pedagogy. Teams consisting of like roles, for example, science teachers or grade four teachers. Teams using specific protocols to guide their efforts. Teams with trained peer facilitators. Schools that provided the conditions and support to improve pedagogy and achievement, for example, utilizing personnel more effectively and shifting schedules. And finally, teams that demonstrated grit when trying to improve student achievement and meet instructional goals and initiatives.
The reason PLCs and site-based management systems exist in the first place is to create systems of reform and continuous improvement in schools. So how do we measure that? Various studies identify four characteristics of PLCs and SBMs and decentralized management systems that lead to improved student outcomes. The four are a focus on student learning that is connected to critical thinking, higher order thinking, and authentic application of skills and knowledge. As an aside, this area can really be supported by the use of technology.
Number two, a focus on pedagogy in research-based instructional strategies that focus on authentic teaching and learning. It is important to note that these strategies need to be implemented with fidelity. Thirdly, organizational capacity to build and empower supportive teams of educators. And finally, external supports by the district that empower their work toward continuous improvement. This may take the form of financial support, but not necessarily always the case.
As we know, it's sometimes difficult to get 100% buy into anything. But when the following characteristics are in place, the research shows that schools develop the capacity for implementation strategies and sustainability to reform and improve instruction, to increase achievement, to enhance the school culture and environment. Furthermore, it's really no surprise that research from the Southwest Educational Developmental Laboratory report the following outcomes for students who attend schools designed around these structures.
An increased retention and attendance. Increased achievement in math, science, history, and reading. Decreased achievement gaps. Increased collaboration, which to me, really, is the essence of a PLC. Shared mission and goals of the school, and it helps to review these often. Strong instructional and content knowledge, and one way to get that is through increased professional development. And finally, decreased teacher absenteeism.
This is a pretty impressive list. These outcomes, if achieved, will lead to sustained school improvement and the successful implementation of new initiatives. So it's time to go ahead and summarize this lesson. We began by introducing how PLCs fit into site-based management systems. We looked at Claude Goldenberg's research and identified characteristics for impact, as well as how certain features can lead to school improvement. And finally, we listed some positive outcomes that can directly result from a strong PLC.
And here's today's food for thought. Go back and take a look at the slide titled positive outcomes. Which characteristics does your school currently possess? And which are lacking?
Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resource section will be super helpful. The section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want. Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.
(00:23-01:06) Learning Community Impossible
(01:07-01:44) PLC’s and SBM
(01:45-03:10) The Impact/Research
(03:11-04:13) School Improvement
(04:14-05:23) The Positive Outcomes
(05:24-06:18) Summary/Food For Thought
Examining the impact of professional learning communities
This research article reviews a study by Claude Goldenberg from Stanford University to determine the effectiveness of PLCs in improving student achievement and instructional practices.
Professional Learning Communities: Communities of Continuous Inquiry and Improvement
Although an older document, this resource provides a comprehensive overview of the role of PLCs in continuous improvement. The research and the applications include relevant and practical approaches.