Moving School Improvement Into the Classroom With SMART Goals


School districts across the United States are faced with improving achievement for all students. The complexity of this issue has resulted in the expansion of organized walkthroughs taking place . . . Read more

Driven by DIVAS (Data, Instruction, Varied Assessments, and Supports)


How do educators focus on improving student achievement when demographics and performance challenges seem insurmountable? The teachers at Licking Heights High School recently addressed this . . . Read more

Using Your Best to Help the Rest: Another Thought on Intervention


It has been exciting over the years to see the growth of our students at Lakeridge Junior High as we have committed to increasing the capacity of adults through the processes associated with being a Professional Learning Community... Read more

Excerpt: Pyramid of Behavior Interventions, Chapter One


We believe that academic and behavioral performance go hand in hand. One study (Hawkins, Catalano, Kosterman, Abbott, & Hill,1999) found that when schools raised their level of academic achievement, behavior problems decreased... Read more

Teaching Students to Be Responsible With PLCs


In a blog post last year called Do PLCs Enable Students to Act Irresponsibly? (February 16, 2010), I presented the premise that schools should do more than hope students act responsibly but rather should put procedures in place to require students to do so. I acknowledged that almost all educators would prefer that students act responsibly because responsible behavior is important to their success in school and in life. I also suggested that regrettably, some of the students who enter our schools do not act responsibly. Read more

The Seven I’s


As principal of Viers Mill Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland, from 1997 to 2005, I learned a great deal about the benefits of operating as a professional learning community (PLC). As a community, we tried to keep our focus on the four critical questions… Read more

What Do We Do When They Haven’t Learned?


The implementation of a PLC is not a silver bullet, but a pathway to follow in working to ensure student learning. Implementation requires dedication and a focus on desired learning outcomes as teams work to answer the four key questions that guide a PLC... Read more

How PLCs Use Assessments


We received a series of questions from a school grappling with developing common assessments. I summarized the questions and attempted to provide a brief response for each… Read more

Special Education Used as Intervention

Isn’t the system of interventions what special education is designed to do? Some people think the PLC concept is just another version of special education. They suggest, “If the kids can’t cut it, why not just put them in special education? That’s why we have it… Read more

Tracking Team-Based Interventions


Preparing for our upcoming conversation with Rick and Becky DuFouron the steps that highly functioning professional learning communities take to provide enrichment and remediation opportunities for . . . Read more

Book Review: Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap


In preparation for our upcoming conversation with Rick and Becky DuFour on the steps that schools can take to develop effective systems of intervention that reach beyond the classroom, I just finished reading their newest book, Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap. Here’s my review... Read more

Another Digital Conversation With the DuFours Starts May 19


Having worked in a professional learning community for almost six years now, I can tell you that nothing is more challenging for traditional schools than crafting a schoolwide system of . . . Read more

Neglecting the Gifted and Talented

Doesn’t PLC give attention to struggling students and emphasis on intervention result in neglecting gifted and high-achieving children? Educators who ask this question believe that focusing attention on needy, lazy, or low-performing kids… Read more

Do PLCs Enable Students to Act Irresponsibly by Asking Educators to Assume Greater Responsibility for Learning?


Those familiar with our work know that we contend schools committed to helping all students learn provide students who are not being successful with additional time and support for learning in a way that is timely, directive, and systematic. This proposal is sometimes met with skepticism by… Read more

Which Quartile Should We Focus On?


We received a question from a high school administrator who asked which group of students the school should focus on in order to improve the school's achievement on the high-stakes tests administered by the state. He wrote, "We have received conflicting information about… Read more