A Professional Learning Community or PLC has been defined in several different ways by several different people. The name may lead people to misunderstand what an effective PLC really is. Is it just a group of professionals sitting around and talking? Certainly you can call that a PLC if you wish, but the purpose of this effort at Santa Ana College School of Continuing Education is more aligned with what K-12 programs have done for years. It is a collaborative effort and process to improve “learning” by bringing the isolated teacher into a community, discussing strategies, unwrapping standards, and developing techniques based on classroom data that is also generated by the faculty.
The idea is to help teachers be part of the development of the curriculum and instructional practices where they have more of a stake in the outcomes. This process in itself is professional development and leads to additional professional development. To read more about Professional Learning Communities in K-12 programs, consider purchasing Building a Professional Learning Community at Work by Parry Graham and William M. Ferriter.
We at SAC SCE have just started an official Professional Learning Community . Our program is so large and so set in its processes and policies that first we had to study and review data related to PLC’s. In our community we have been discussing and testing some of the techniques that Richard Dufour has introduced. Richard Dufour is one of the pioneers of this movement in K-12. We are also following the efforts of programs that are currently establishing PLC’s in similar programs and we are seeking training from CALPRO as well.