As a high school principal, it is crucial to have tools and models that have teeth, that will make an impact on student achievement, and also improve collegiality and collaboration among teachers. This is a wonderful faculty book study choice for any school looking to have teams of teachers focused on data and how to incorporate best practices in their classrooms.”

—Steve Knobl, Principal

Gulf High School, New Port Richey, FL

Strengthen teacher expertise and expand instructional leadership through focused professional learning teams!

Although a generous amount of research describes professional learning teams (PLTs) as a positive structure for developing a vision of school change through informed, data-based decision making, little guidance exists for schools wanting to create and sustain this type of team initiative.

Leading Professional Learning Teams provides a field-tested model for implementing PLTs that strengthen teacher collaboration in professional learning communities, improve instruction, and increase student achievement. Developed in partnership between educators, Education Northwest (formerly known as the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory), and six high-needs schools, this guide shows a professional learning team in action. Each chapter highlights four important elements to help ensure alignment with educators' objectives:

Action: Steps for starting up a PLT; Voices From the Field: School leaders offering insights from actual PLTs; Tools: Resources with information about PLTs, plus at-a-glance road maps for each step of the implementation process; Leadership Team Discussion: Discussion suggestions for implementation leaders

Written for school leaders who are new to PLTs and those who want to fine-tune their efforts, this resource is an invaluable tool for correlating staff development with your school's improvement goals.

Understanding Professional Learning Teams

Understanding professional learning teams

School improvement is most surely and thoroughly achieved when teachers engage in frequent, continuous, and increasingly concrete and precise talk about teaching practice.

Judith Warren Little, 1991, p.12

Focus of This Chapter

  • What are professional learning teams (PLTs)?
    • PLT inquiry cycle
    • Sample timeline for one year
    • PLTs versus committees
  • Why have PLTs?
    • Teacher collaboration influences student achievement.
    • High-quality teaching makes a difference in student learning.
    • Preservice training and classroom experience are not sufficient to develop high-quality teaching.
    • Traditional professional development is often insufficient to improve teaching quality.
    • Team-based professional learning improves teaching and learning.
  • What are some features of effective professional development?
  • What are some other models teachers use for collaboration?

Defining Professional Learning Teams

The need for teacher learning communities is now commonly ...

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