Richard DuFour & Michael Fullan, Cultures Built to Last--Systemic PLCs at Work
There are many challenges facing education today, and adequate funding to do what needs to be done is the topic most often discussed. Frustrating as this debate has become, I would propose it is also a very exciting time for educators to be the recipients of best practices supported by research. Focusing on what works for our students allows us to narrow our emphasis and to actively collaborate with intent to create the system of achievement for each of our students. Having more students grow, reach, or exceed their outcome goals is a humbling experience. You are providing them with the experience of success now and in their future.
The cultural shift from “what to teach” to “what should students know and be able to do” is a journey requiring change which can be more than difficult. Richard DuFour is the leading authority of Professional Learning Communities. His most recent book Cultures Built to Last, Systemic PLCs at Work supports schools to create a system where they can experience significant gains in student achievement by embracing this student learning focus. “Professional Learning Communities can play a central role in dramatically improving the overall performance of schools, the engagement of students, and the sense of efficacy and the job satisfaction of educators.”
DuFour’s thoughtful reflections in his book Cultures Built to Last aids educators to recognize there are three big ideas that serve as the core of what it means to have a systematic Professional Learning Community in your school. This isn’t a program, but a process where all educators generate a relentless focus on high levels of learning for all students, in a collaborative culture, with a collective effort, to improve practice, and drive continuous improvement. It can be exhausting and yet exhilarating to support and enhance achievement for all of our students. It is exciting to be a part of a team of educators who are embracing change for success now and in the future.