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P.L.C. School:

   This report comes from the summary of results included in the literature review noted above (Hord, 1997, p. 27).

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The term professional learning community describes a collegial group of administrators and school staff who are united in their commitment to student learning. They share a vision, work and learn collaboratively, visit and review other classrooms, and participate in decision making (Hord, 1997b).

For staff, the following results have been observed:

  • reduction of isolation of teachers
  • increased commitment to the mission and goals of the school and increased vigor in working to strengthen the mission
  • shared responsibility for the total development of students and collective responsibility for students' success
  • powerful learning that defines good teaching and classroom practice and that creates new knowledge and beliefs about teaching and learners
  • increased meaning and understanding of the content that teachers teach and the roles they play in helping all students achieve expectations
  • higher likelihood that teachers will be well informed, professionally renewed, and inspired to inspire students
  • more satisfaction, higher morale, and lower rates of absenteeism
  • significant advances in adapting teaching to the students, accomplished more quickly than in traditional schools
  • commitment to making significant and lasting changes and
  • higher likelihood of undertaking fundamental systemic change (p. 27).

For students, the results include:

  • decreased dropout rate and fewer classes "skipped"
  • lower rates of absenteeism
  • increased learning that is distributed more equitably in the smaller high schools
  • greater academic gains in math, science, history, and reading than in traditional schools and
  • smaller achievement gaps between students from different backgrounds (p. 28).

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"As an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff-development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement."

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