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Leading Professional Learning Communities
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Leading Professional Learning Communities
Voices From Research and Practice

Edited by:

Foreword by Andy Hargreaves



February 2008 | 184 pages | Corwin

Published in Association with National Association of Secondary School Principals

Published in Association with National Staff Development Council

"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.

 
Foreword by Andy Hargreaves
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
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?
 
References
 
Index

"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

"It takes leadership for a school to become a community of professional learners, and that’s what this book is about. Steeped in years of study and immersed in the realities of school life, the book does not gloss over the challenges that leaders will encounter as they embark on this journey. The authors draw upon rich research evidence and personal experiences, sprinkle humorous vignettes throughout, and offer many practical and 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 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 their 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

"A well-developed research base supports the importance of professional learning communities, but until this book, how-to publications have been short on empirical evidence. Hord and Sommers create a powerful bridge between knowledge and action that reflects their deep experience as scholar-practitioners committed to improving school culture. 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

"Readers will immediately sense from the authors a deep respect for educators combined with an understanding of the challenges that schools face today. Hord and Sommers's 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

"An excellent guide highly recommended for working professional educators."

The Bookwatch, April 2008
Midwest Book Review

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