Reculturing Schools as Professional Learning Communities

ISBN 10: 1578860539 / ISBN 13: 9781578860531
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Synopsis: This important work documents and examines evidence of efforts taking place in rural, urban, and suburban Pre-K-12 schools that are actively engaged in creating professional learning communities (PLCs). Literature is reviewed that defines and identifies the distinguishing dimensions of PLCs. A five-year, federally funded research study is explained including the methodology and demographics of the six study schools and a synthesis of the 64 interviews.

A PLC organizer (PLCO) is introduced, which realigns with Shirley Hord's original 1997 research. The organizer provides the framework to explain the five PLC dimensions and related critical attributes. The PLCO also merges Fullan's model, Phases of Change (1985), which includes initiation, implementation, and institutionalization.

The authors provide extensive evidence of the progressive development of a PLC from initiation to implementation using exemplars and non-exemplars from interviews that either hinder or facilitate creating and sustaining PLCs. A new assessment tool, the Professional Learning Community Assessment (PLCA), is also presented and can be used for diagnosis and evaluation of schools as they work toward school reform efforts. Readers are also presented with information that connects professional learning community work to a new approach to school improvement. Five case studies are included that can be used in schools and university classrooms for the purpose of engaging educators in reflection, open dialogue, problem finding, and problem solving. This first-hand documented information provides readers with unique issues as they wrestle with the challenges of transforming schools into organizations that meet diverse students needs.

Lessons learned from this problem-based learning can easily transfer to the readers' own experiences and schools. The authors conclude by highlighting significant findings, reviewing the most recent related research that addresses sustaining such efforts, and offering suggestions for school leaders to

About the Author: Jane Bumpers Huffman is an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of North Texas in Denton and teaches in the master's and doctoral programs. Huffman also serves as her department's program coordinator for Educational Administration and has been instrumental in receiving eight grants. Her research interests include change management, professional development, leadership, professional learning communities, and parent involvement. Huffman has also directed the annual Assistant Principals' Conference in Texas for the past six years. Huffman worked in the Norman, Oklahoma public schools for ten years as a teacher, school administrator, and staff development administrator. She also served as a Research Assistant at Southwest Educational Develpment Laboratory in Austin, Texas. Contact Janie at huffman@unt.edu or 940-565-2832.

Kristine Kiefer Hipp is an associate professor in the College of Education at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She teaches in a master's program in Educational Leadership and a doctoral program in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service. Hipp consults widely, facilitating organizational change in K-12 schools/districts related to her research in leadership, professional learning communities, and collective efficacy. Hipp also taught in a Master's program in Educational Leadership at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She worked for the School District of Janesville for 25 years as a special education teacher/support teacher, district level staff developer, graduate-level adjunct at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, research assistant at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and consultant in effective teaching practices. Contact Kris at kahipp@stritch.edu or 414-410-4346.

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