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Leading Professional Learning Communities - Book Cover

Leading Professional Learning Communities

Voices From Research and Practice
By: Shirley M. Hord, William A. Sommers

Foreword by Andy Hargreaves

This research-based, step-by-step guide shows principals how to build leadership capacity, embed professional development, create a positive school culture, develop accountability, and increase student achievement.

Full description

Leading Professional Learning Communities - Book Cover
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781412944779
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2007
  • Page Count: 184
  • Publication date: December 15, 2007

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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"Hord is the originator of the triple-headed concept of professional learning communities. Sommers is an experienced administrator and past president of the National Staff Development Council. With the authors' extensive backgrounds in educational evaluation and the implementation of school change and development, they are uniquely equipped to delineate and defend a particular vision of professional learning communities that has educational depth, professional richness, and moral integrity."
—From the Foreword by Andy Hargreaves

"The most important volume available to help principals undertake the challenging yet exhilarating work of building true communities of professional learning."
—Joseph Murphy, Professor
Vanderbilt University

"The book does not gloss over the challenges that leaders will encounter. The authors draw upon rich research evidence and personal experiences and offer many practical, proven change strategies. This is a valuable resource for any educational leader who wishes to become a 'head learner.'"
—Arthur L. Costa, Professor Emeritus
California State University, Sacramento

"Hord and Sommers create a powerful bridge between the research base on PLCs and practitioner knowledge and action. The book's dual focus on principles and 'rocks in the road' provide a grounded basis for school leaders. A dog-eared copy should be in every principal's office and in every professional developer's tool kit."
—Karen Seashore Louis, Rodney S. Wallace Professor
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

"The authors' rationale and suggestions will resonate because they come from experience and great insight. The bottom line remains steadfast for these two distinguished educators: you implement a PLC so that teachers learn and students achieve. This text will help educators reach toward that compelling vision."
—Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director
National Staff Development Council

Imagine all professionals in all schools engaged in continuous professional learning!

Current research shows a strong positive relationship between successful professional learning communities and increased student achievement. In this practical and reader-friendly guide, education experts Shirley M. Hord and William A. Sommers explore the school-based learning opportunities offered to school professionals and the principal's critical role in the development of an effective professional learning community (PLC).

This book provides school leaders with readily accessible information to guide them in developing a PLC that supports teachers and students. The authors cover building a vision for a PLC, implementing structures, creating policies and procedures, and developing the leadership skills required for initiating and sustaining a learning community.

Each chapter includes meaningful quotes from the field, "rocks in the road" and ways to overcome them, examples from real PLCs, and learning activities to reinforce chapter content. The text illustrates how this research-based school improvement model can help educators:

  • Increase leadership capacity 
  • Embed professional development into daily work
  • Create a positive school culture 
  • Develop accountability 
  • Boost student achievement

Discover how you can grow a vital community of professionals who work together to increase their effectiveness and strengthen the relationship between professional learning and student learning.



Shirley M. Hord photo

Shirley M. 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).
William A. Sommers photo

William A. 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 www.learningomnivores.com 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 Andy Hargreaves



About the Authors

1. What Is a PLC? Professional Learning Communities: Definitions and Effects

2. Why Leadership? Leadership Imperatives for Professional Learning Communities

3. Culture and Context, Structures and Schedules, Policies and Procedures

4. Creating Conditions to Get Started

5. What Are the Skills Needed to Build Professional Learning Communities?

6. Where Are We? Where Should We Be? Who Is Monitoring Our Work?

7. What Have We Learned?





Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.