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The Practice of Authentic PLCs - Book Cover Look Inside

The Practice of Authentic PLCs

A Guide to Effective Teacher Teams

By: Daniel R. Venables

Award-winning author details a clear, research-based process for implementing PLCs to improve student learning. Included are practical strategies, activities, exercises, and troubleshooting tips for coaches.
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412986632
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2011
  • Page Count: 208
  • Publication date: January 11, 2011

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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"This text illustrates the essence of what it really means to be a teacher—to care deeply and to think and act collectively about student and teacher learning."
—Barrie Bennet, Professor
OISE/University of Toronto, Ontario

"Daniel Venables has made a terrific contribution to the growing effort of teachers to educate ourselves in professional learning communities through protocols that focus our attention on the right stuff. Happily his writing is as accessible as his material is useful and his insights fresh."
—Joseph P. McDonald, Professor of Teaching and Learning and author of The Power of Protocols
New York University

Discover the keys to building effective, authentic PLCs

Creating an authentic professional learning community requires breaking down the walls of isolation and collaborating to improve student learning, because collectively we are more than the sum of our parts. Grounded in the award-winning author's foundational work with the Coalition of Essential Schools, this book enables educators to hit the ground running with a research-based process that includes:

  • Setting the foundation for collaboration and team building
  • Facilitating protocols
  • Examining student and teacher work
  • Implementing teacher-designed common formative assessments
  • Analyzing and responding to data

Educators will find numerous strategies, activities, exercises, and guidance for PLC leaders, including FAQs and a troubleshooting guide to common obstacles. When teachers are given the time, tools, and power to improve instruction, everyone benefits.

Key features

  • Details a clear, step-by-step process for implementing PLCs that is both research based AND field-tested that enables educators to hit the ground running.
  • Builds on the big ideas and characteristics of authentic PLCs by adding three linchpins of authentic PLCs to help schools narrow the focus into three main tasks of PLCs: Examining student and teacher work; designing and implementing Teacher-designed Common Formative Assessments (CFAs); Analyzing and responding to data (including but not limited to CFA data).
  • Includes a chapter for PLC coaches that contains a FAQ section, all protocols and activities referred to in previous chapters, as well as a trouble-shooting guide that addresses common PLC obstacles.
  • Offers numerous strategies, samples and tools to help educators establish and engage in the work of PLCs.


Daniel R. Venables

Daniel R. Venables is founder and executive director of the Center for Authentic PLCs, a research and consulting firm dedicated to assisting schools build and sustain authentic Professional Learning Communities. He is a Math/Science Fellow with the Coalition of Essential Schools and an award-winning classroom teacher of 24 years. He currently resides on a horse farm in South Carolina with his wife Brady, their therapy dogs, Blue and Flo, and a cat named Fahrney.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Author


     The Call for PLCs

     Out With Programs, In With People

I. The Context for Authentic PLCs

1. The Business of PLCs

     PLCs in Context

     Meeting Logistics

     The Roles of the Players

     Summary: PLCs

2. What to Do First: Building a Foundation for Collaboration

     Building the Teams

     Establishing Group Norms

     Constructing Community Knowledge

     Summary: Collaboration

II. The Essential Tasks of Authentic PLCs

3. Looking at Student and Teacher Work

     Protocols for Student and Teacher Work


     Bringing and Examining Work

     Peer Observations

     Summary: Looking at Work

4. Designing Quality Common Formative Assessments

     Deciding Assessment Content

     Designing Standards-Based Assessments

     Alternative Forms of Common Assessments

     Scoring and Grading CFAs

     Reviewing CFA Data and Planning for Intervention

     Summary: CFAs

5. Reviewing and Responding to Data

     Data Literacy

     Reviewing Existing Data

     Pursuing Additional Data

     Translating Data Into Action

     Summary: Data

III. Coaching Authentic PLCs

6. Coach's Guide to Facilitating Protocols and Activities

     Protocols for Team Building, Norm Setting, and Constructing Community Knowledge

     Protocols for Teacher and Student Work and Issues and Dilemmas

     Two Facilitator Protocols

     Frequently Asked Questions

     Summary: Coaching Protocols

7. Troubleshooting Common Obstacles

     Common Obstacles and Challenges

     A Note to Principals

     Summary: Coaching Teachers

Coach's Appendix

Protocols and Activities

References and Further Readings