Skip to main content
Location: United States |  Change Location
Male flipping through Corwin book

Hands-on, Practical Guidance for Educators

From math, literacy, equity, multilingual learners, and SEL, to assessment, school counseling, and education leadership, our books are research-based and authored by experts on topics most relevant to what educators are facing today.


Guiding Professional Learning Communities - Book Cover Look Inside

Guiding Professional Learning Communities

Inspiration, Challenge, Surprise, and Meaning

By: Shirley Moos Hord, James Lloyd Roussin, William Arthur Sommers

The how-to guide for developing, implementing, and sustaining a PLC!

This implementation handbook offers more than 30 structured "learning opportunities" to help busy educators put the research-based components of effective PLCs into practice. Ideal as a companion to Leading Professional Learning Communities, but also valuable as a standalone resource, this sequel guides educators in developing a new PLC or sustaining an existing one. Members of PLCs can use the engaging learning opportunities to facilitate individual and team development by exploring:

  • Beliefs, values, and vision
  • Shared leadership
  • Structural conditions
  • Relational conditions
  • Intentional learning
  • Sharing personal practice
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412972710
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2009
  • Page Count: 240
  • Publication date: November 24, 2009

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Exam Copy

By selecting the request for exam copy above, you will be redirected to our parent site, Sage Publishing, to process your inspection copy request.  Thank you.



"To improve teaching quality and student learning outcomes, someone has to take the reins and lead the effort with intelligence, skill, sensitivity, and a clear sense of purpose. This book offers the 'why' and 'how' to those willing to take on the challenge to accomplish that goal."
—Thomas R. Guskey, Professor of Educational Psychology
University of Kentucky

"This book places 'learning in community' at the forefront of PLC work. The authors provide a treasure trove of cognitively engaging learning opportunities that build a communal knowledge base."
—Diane Zimmerman, Superintendent
Old Adobe Union School District, Petaluma, CA

"Too often PLCs are treated as events. The authors of this fine book make clear that an authentic PLC is about embracing a form of leadership and learning in schools that requires fearless examination of teaching practices, faculty interactions, and student learning toward the goal of increased successful student learning. The book is rich with information, resources, and learning activities revealing how this can be accomplished."
—Robert J. Garmston, Cofounder, Institute for Intelligent Behavior
Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento

The how-to guide for developing, implementing, and sustaining a PLC!

Shirley M. Hord and William A. Sommers' best-selling book Leading Professional Learning Communities introduced educators to the research-based components of an effective professional learning community (PLC). Now this implementation handbook offers more than 30 structured "learning opportunities" to help busy educators put the components into practice.

Ideal as a companion to the original book but also valuable as a standalone resource, this sequel guides educators in developing a new PLC or sustaining an existing one. Members of PLCs can use the engaging learning opportunities to facilitate individual and team development by exploring:

  • Beliefs, values, and vision
  • Shared leadership
  • Structural conditions
  • Relational conditions
  • Intentional learning
  • Sharing personal practice

Guiding Professional Learning Communities is a rich field guide for increasing and enhancing teaching quality through the power of educators learning together.

Key features

  • Well respected authorship
  • Backed by solid research
  • Provides a "how-to" focus for implementation, improvement, and sustainability of professional learning communities (PLCs)
  • Presents original "Learning Opportunies"activities designed to teach leaders and participants of PLCs the content, strategies, techniques, and approaches for improving the operation of their PLC
  • Designed as a "field book' to complement the previous, more descriptive volume by Shirley M. Hord and William A. Sommers


Shirley Moos Hord photo

Shirley Moos Hord

Shirley M. Hord, PhD, is the scholar laureate of Learning Forward (previously National Staff Development Council), following her retirement as Scholar Emerita at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in Austin, Texas. There she directed the Strategies for Increasing Student Success Program. She continues to design and coordinate professional development activities related to educational change and improvement, school leadership, and the creation of professional learning communities.

Her early roles as elementary school classroom teacher and university science education faculty at The University of Texas at Austin were followed by her appointment as co-director of Research on the Improvement Process at the Research and Development Center for Teacher Education at The University of Texas at Austin. There she administered and conducted research on school improvement and the role of school leaders in school change.

She served as a fellow of the National Center for Effective Schools Research and Development and was U.S. representative to the Foundation for the International School Improvement Project, an international effort that develops research, training, and policy initiatives to support local school improvement practices.

In addition to working with educators at all levels across the U.S. and Canada, Hord makes presentations and consults in Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Mexico.

Her current interests focus on the creation and functioning of educational organizations as learning communities and the role of leaders who serve such organizations. Dr. Hord is the author of numerous articles and books, of which a selection of the most recent are: Implementing Change: Patterns, Principles, and Potholes, 3rd ed (with Gene E. Hall, 2011); Reclaiming Our Teaching Profession: The Power of Educators Learning in Community (with Edward F. Tobia, 2012); A Playbook for Professional Learning: Putting the Standards Into Action (with Stephanie Hirsh, 2012).
James Lloyd Roussin photo

James Lloyd Roussin

James L. Roussin, M.A.L.S., has been committed to improving teaching and learning in schools across the US and abroad throughout his professional career. He has worked as a Language Arts Teacher, Gifted Coordinator, ESL Coordinator, Curriculum Director, Executive Director of Teaching, Learning & School Improvement, Adjunct Professor, and Educational Consultant.

Jim is currently working as a Strategic Change Consultant and is the Executive Director for Generative Learning. Website:

Jim helped to revitalize the Minnesota Staff Development Council from 1998 – 2004 and served as its President for four of those years. He has also served as a board of trustee on the National Staff Development Council (now Learning Forward).

He is a teaching associate for Human Systems Dynamics (an institute that is using complexity theory to impact organizational development work). He is also a learning facilitator for Leadership Development, Cognitive Coaching, Adaptive Schools, QLD (Quality Leadership by Design) - S.M.A.R.T. Goals, and Program Evaluation.

In February of 2006, Jim traveled to India on a Berkana Learning Journey to explore new forms of leadership that are emerging in global communities. And in 2009 he spent four months working in the Middle East with ASCD-Middle East in supporting the Ministry of Education in implementing new teacher development standards. J

Jim’s current interests focus on healthy organizations and human development through the lens of natural systems theory and complexity science.

James Roussin is the author of a variety of articles as well as a co-author of the book: Guiding Professional Learning Communities: Inspiration, Challenge, Surprise, and Meaning (Shirley M. Hord, James L. Roussin & William A. Sommers, 2010).
William Arthur Sommers photo

William Arthur Sommers

William A. Sommers, Ph.D. of Austin, Texas, continues to be a learner, teacher, principal, author, leadership coach, and consultant. Bill has come out of retirement five times to put theory into practice. He was on the Board of Trustees for five years and President for the National Staff Development Council now called Learning Forward.

Dr. Sommers is the former Executive Director for Secondary Curriculum and Professional Learning for Minneapolis Public Schools, and a school administrator for over 30 years. In addition to being an adjunct faculty member at several universities, he has been a program director for an adolescent chemical dependency treatment center and on the board of a halfway house for 20 years.

Bill has co-authored eight books, and co-authored chapters in several other books. In January 2016 Bill and his colleague Skip Olsen launched a website which includes educational blogs, new rules, and book reviews. Bill is a practitioner who integrates theory into leading and facilitating schools. Dr. Sommers has continued to be a leadership coach for over 25 years to school administrators.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Roland S. Barth


About the Authors

Part I. Introduction: Things You Need to Know Before You Use This Book

Part II. Words to the Wise: Before You Begin

Part III. Learning Opportunities: Tools, Tasks, Deep Thinking, and a Wee Bit of Trivia

Learning Opportunity 0.1: A Crisp Rationale for PLCs

     Learning Opportunity 0.2: Benefits to Staff and to Students: A Flamingo Dialogue

     Learning Opportunity 0.3: Research-Based Components of a PLC: A Jigsaw

Component 1: Shared Beliefs, Values, and Vision

     Overview and Current Thinking

     Learning Opportunity 1.1: My Personal Learning Compass

     Learning Opportunity 1.2: Creating a Culture of Academic Optimism

     Learning Opportunity 1.3: Prioritized Abandonment

     Learning Opportunity 1.4: Discovering Our Core Values

Component 2: Shared and Supportive Leadership

     Overview and Current Thinking

     Learning Opportunity 2.1: Friendly Feedback for the Principal

     Learning Opportunity 2.2: A Guide for Making Decisions

     Learning Opportunity 2.3: Learning Conversations

     Learning Opportunity 2.4: Planting the PLC in a Strong Culture

     Learning Opportunity 2.5: Positive Deviance

     Learning Opportunity 2.6: Distributed Leadership

Component 3: Structural Conditions

     Overview and Current Thinking

     Learning Opportunity 3.1: Time and Other Essential Ingredients

     Learning Opportunity 3.2: Assessing the Effectiveness of PLC Meetings

     Learning Opportunity 3.3: Assessment for PLC Development

     Learning Opportunity 3.4: The Learning Community’s WORK

     Learning Opportunity 3.5: Identifying a PLC Learning Goal

     Learning Opportunity 3.6: Traffic Light Indicator

Component 4: Relational Conditions

     Overview and Current Thinking

     Learning Opportunity 4.1: The Importance of Trust in the PLC

     Learning Opportunity 4.2: Group Development

     Learning Opportunity 4.3: Mapping Collaborative Interactions

     Learning Opportunity 4.4: Relational Conditions

     Learning Opportunity 4.5: Building Consensus

     Learning Opportunity 4.6: Defusing Conflict in a PLC

Component 5: Intentional Collective Learning and Its Application

     Overview and Current Thinking

     Learning Opportunity 5.1: Leadership and the Enemies of Learning

     Learning Opportunity 5.2: Twelve Principles for Effective Adult Learning

     Learning Opportunity 5.3: The PLC Action Plan

     Learning Opportunity 5.4: Listening Together in the PLC

     Learning Opportunity 5.5: Using the Stages of Concern to Connect Professional Learning to the Classroom

     Learning Opportunity 5.6: Using the Levels of Use (LoU) to Connect Professional Learning to the Classroom

     Learning Opportunity 5.7: PLC Growth Development Profile

Component 6: Sharing Personal Practice

     Overview and Current Thinking

     Learning Opportunity 6.1: “Foursight” for Learning: Four Focus Areas to Consider in Monitoring for Student Learning

     Learning Opportunity 6.2: Four Conversations

     Learning Opportunity 6.3: Coaching: Transferring Adult Learning to the Classroom or What’s Learned Here Leaves Here

     Learning Opportunity 6.4: Reflection Protocols

     Learning Opportunity 6.5: Video Sharing Protocol

Part IV. Bringing Closure

Resource A