atom redTeams and Processes

A student who is highly supported by a team of teachers collaborating routinely for his/her learning success is far more likely to succeed. Therefore, the areas of collaboration and communication are essential components to successful SPL implementation.

Researchers call schools that continuously work together to seek and share learning and to act on their learning, “communities of continuous inquiry and improvement,” communities of practice or professional learning communities (PLCs). Professional learning communities are built on and promote effective collaboration and communication. At the heart of a PLC “is a focus on and commitment to the learning of each student. A PLC is comprised of collaborative teams whose members work interdependently to achieve common goals linked to the purpose of learning for all.”  (Dufour, Dufour, Many, Eaker, 2006) Members of a PLC work together to examine the current reality of their practices and the best ways to improve teaching and learning and meet the goals of achievement levels of their students.  The PLC members are committed to action and to putting into practice what they learn through the examination of student work as well as other types of evidence of student performance, drawn from multiple data sources. Through observation, analysis and discussion, PLCs work their way to common understandings and common goals. Common commitment to continuous improvement drives the collaborative teaming process through a focus on results.

The collaborative decision-making process leads to the development of customized instruction and authentic scaffolding with the highest probability of success for the greatest number of students. When the key concepts of SPL are understood and applied within the context of the entire district and school, goals are more likely to be accomplished. Successful implementation requires focused leadership and collaborative practices among general education, special education, Title I, speech-language, ELL and gifted educators. High functioning PLCs support common goals, combining resources, sharing knowledge and determining the most effective use of staff and other resources; all contributing to a high functioning system of support for personalized learning.


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