Increasing volumes of research are emerging about how the "Sit and Get" professional development methodology is not providing the results needed to change school systems. In Washington State's highly paced reform efforts, it makes sense to address change in the classroom where students will see the most impact. As a result, professional development studies are suggesting that we look closely around how staff in a school can collaboratively focus on student work and teacher craft to authentically improve what students are learning.
In order to accomplish this effective joint work, districts and schools must look at what conditions need to be in place prior to and during the creation of effective professional learning communities. Several kinds of factors determine when, where, and how staff can regularly come together and work collaboratively as a unit to do the learning, decision making, problem solving, and creative work that characterize a professional learning community.
The Missouri Story
The National Education Association has followed Butcher-Green Elementary School in Grandview Missouri through their journey of developing, implementing, and sustaining a professional learning community in their school. The streaming video segments available on this website highlight the progress that the Butcher-Green Elementary staff members make as they address how to form teams, develop team norms, establish protocols, review student work, and develop collaborative processes. The entire video showcases how teams working together in effective professional learning communities close the achievement gap and improve student learning.
This segment of the video leads the viewers through how Butcher-Green Elementary School got started with Professional learning communities.