Collaboration

Collaboration among teachers can greatly enhance the effectiveness of instruction and the performance of students. High performing schools create a culture of collaboration by breaking down barriers that isolate teachers. Building such a culture does not happen by chance; it must be structured, taught, learned, and practiced. Developing collaborative cultures is the work of leaders who realize that even "superstar" teachers working in isolation cannot produce the same results as teachers who share and develop professional practices together.

The Professional Learning Community (PLC) model is a research-based approach to education reform that enables schools to develop and sustain a collaborative culture. In a PLC group, members work interdependently to impact classroom practice in ways that lead to better results for students, teachers, and schools. PLCs enable educators to measure current student performance, set clear goals for improvement, work together to meet those goals, and then monitor teaching and learning to ensure continuous progress. The fundamental goal of a PLC is to ensure that all students are learning.

I. Professional Learning Community Observation Guide

The Professonal Learning Community Observation Guide is a tool to help educational communities build and deepen a shared understanding of what it means to work effectively as a professional learning community. The Guide, structured around three key elements of effective PLCs, can be used as a tool for self- monitoring a PLCs development.

This tool is part of a suite of three tools, Science Classroom Observation Guide, Supporting Student Success Guide, and Professional Learning Community Observation Guide, designed to promote reflective discussions of institutional and instructional practices which will lead to continuous improvements in student learning.

A. Introducing the Professional Learning Community Observation Guide (PLCOG)

The Professional Learning Community Observation Guide (PLCOG) will help groups build and deepen a shared understanding of what it means to work effectively as a PLC, and will provide a meaningful tool for self-monitoring a PLC's development. This guide can help foster open communication among group members so that they develop common norms, vision, and goals.

This guide is part of a suite of three tools developed by the North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership, the Science Classroom Observation Guide the Supporting Student Success Guide and the Professional Learning Community Observation Guide. These tools were designed to promote reflective discussions of institutional and instructional practices which will lead to continuous improvements in student understanding.

Note: The 'Note Taking Edition' can be copied as a pdf, or downloaded as an electronic template.

Purpose: This PowerPoint and accompanying documents can be used to introduce a group to the PLC Observation Guide and can help groups develop a shared understanding of an effective professional learning community.

Description: In the presentation, groups will use video clips and guided discussion to practice using the PLC Observation Guide.

The PLCOG can be used independently to support professional learning communities' growth and development.

Preparation Time: 1 hr 30 min

Presentation Time: 2 hrs

Resources:

B. Putting the Professional Learning Communities Observation Guide into Practice

The tools in this section can be used by practicing professional learning communities to improve their effectiveness as a team.

Description:

The PLC Cycle Poster is a helpful reference for teams working through a PLC cycle.

There are two PLC Reflection Tools. Both can be used by PLC members to reflect on the elements of professional learning community evident in their work. One, the PLC Reflection Tool, can be used at each meeting to help the group focus on a particular area for improvement. The Extended Version can be used periodically to monitor improvements across the board.

The PLC Observation Tool can be used by an outside observer of PLC to provide the group with feedback.

The Seven Stages of Professional Learning Teams identifies specific characteristics in the developmental stages of PLCs. This tool also provides guidance for a team's focus and interactions as they seek to improve their practices.

Resources:

C. Elements of a Professional Learning Community (PLC)

Description: Professional learning communities are more than just a group of educators conducting a meeting. Effective PLCs reflect a set of research-based characteristics, and their members embrace particular habits of mind. Understanding and enacting these five elements results in improved interactions among educators and improved results for students:

  • Shared norms and values
  • Collective focus on student learning
  • Collaboration
  • Deprivatizated practice
  • Reflective dialogue

Resources:
  • Garmston, Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce M. The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishing,1999. pp. 17-19.

  • DuFour, R. and Eaker, R. Professional Learning Communities at Work. Bloomington, IN:National Educational Service, 1998.

  • Professional Learning Communities Website

  • Link to the PLC Observation Guide (web).

D. Behaviors of Effective Group Members

Description: An effective facilitator is only one ingredient in a collaborative group. Group members must also develop their skills and become effective contributors as well. When group members themselves are knowledgeable and skilled, the group is able to develop a shared purpose and make informed decisions.

Resources:
  • Garmston, Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce M. The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups. Norwood, MA:Christopher-Gordon Publishing, 1999. pp. 33-47, 51-61, 89.

E. Skills and Settings that Facilitate Learning

Description: For workshops, classes, seminars, or meetings to be effective, the facilitator must attend to both the physical environment as well as the interactions among participants occurring minute by minute. The goal is to create an emotional, cognitive, and physical environment that matches the intended learning experience and minimizes barriers that may inhibit participation and learning.

Resources:
  • Garmston, Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce M. The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups. Norwood, MA:Christopher-Gordon Publishing, 1999. pp. 71-76, 105-131, Glossary of Facilitation Skills, xviii-xx.

  • Garmston, Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce M. How to make presentations that Teach and Transform. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1992.

F. Four Hats of Leadership

Description: In adaptive schools, leadership is shared. Administrators, teachers, and support staff must have the knowledge and skills to recognize their changing roles or "hats of leadership." When all parties understand the distinction among the major functions of leadership they can effect change.

The Four Hats of Leadership are Coaching, Consulting, Facilitation, and Presentation. Understanding each 'stance' can help an individual develop competence, confidence, and flexibility as a leader.

Facilitation: An approach used to direct the process used in a meeting, maintaining focus on one content area and one process at a time.

Presentation: An approach used to extend and enrich knowledge, skills, or attitudes and to enable these to be used in a team's work.

Coaching: An approach used to help another take action toward his or her goals.

Consulting: Applying expertise as an information specialist or an advocate for content and/or process.

The PowerPoint presentations are designed to help groups understand these different but overlapping roles and apply them in their PLC setting.

Below, you will find three presentations on the Four hats of leadership along with accompanying documents for each.

Resources:
  • Garmston, R. and Wellman, B. "The Adaptive School Syllabus." El Dorado Hills, CA: Four Hats Seminars, 1998.

  • Garmston, Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce M. The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishing, 1999. p. 27.

G. Introduction to the Four Hats and Facilitation

Description: The first of three associated Powerpoint presentations, this is an introduction to the Four Hats of Leadership with a focus on Facilitation. This presentation includes information used to direct a meeting, maintaining focus on one content area and one process at a time.

Note: The three PowerPoint presentations in these sections rely on the Garmston and Wellman book The Adaptive School. Use of this book is necessary for the content and processes of these presentations. In the same manner as the National Research Council’s How People Learn informed our reasoning around pedagogy, The Adaptive School has informed our work in the area of Leadership Development. The text was used widely in our project and positively affected our practice.

Preparation Time: 1 hr

Presentation Time: 90 min

Resources:

I. The Four Hats - Coaching and Consulting

Description: The third of three associated PowerPoint presentations on the Four Hats of Leadership, this focuses on both Coaching and Consulting. Included here is information on an approach to help another take action toward his or her goals (coaching), and applying expertise as an information specialist or an advocate for content and/or process (consulting).

Preparation Time: 1 hr

Presentation Time: 90 min

Resources:

II. Characterisitics of Effective Collaboration

In groups that collaborate effectively, three elements tend to be present: Shared vision and ways of working, collaboration, and reflective dialogue. A skilled facilitator is insufficient to generate an effective group. Group members must also embrace habits of mind and behaviors consistent with collaborative practices. While working to become an effective group it is important to explicitly identify the desired behaviors, practice applying them, and evaluate the extent to which they influence the group's work. When these behaviors become routine, the cohesion, energy, and commitment to shared work increase dramatically. The role of the facilitator is to ensure that the needs of the group are met so that the group's goals can be achieved. Groups address student learning through facilitated problem solving and planning. Facilitation provides the focus, direction, and organization necessary for a Professional Learning Community to see positive results for students. Time spent planning and preparing facilitation strategies reaps enormous benefits by increasing the efficacy of the group.

A. Elements of Professional Learning Community (PLC)

Professional Learning Communities are more than just a group of educators conducting a meeting. PLCs reflect a set of research-based characteristics, and their members embrace particular habits of mind. Understanding and enacting these five elements results in improved interactions among educators and improved results for students:

  • Shared norms and values
  • Collective focus on student learning
  • Collaboration
  • Deprivatizated practice
  • Reflective dialogue
An effective learning community embodies the following:

Behaviors of Effective Group Members: An effective facilitator is only one ingredient in a collaborative group. Group members must also develop their skills and become effective contributors as well. When group members themselves are knowledgeable and skilled, the group is able to develop a shared purpose and make decisions.

Skills and Settings that Facilitate Learning: For workshops, classes, seminars, or meetings to be effective, the facilitator must attend to both the physical environment (resources available; arrangement of seats and tables; minimized distractions) as well as the interactions among participants occurring minute by minute. The goal is create an emotional, cognitive, and physical environment that matches the intended learning experience and minimizes barriers that may inhibit participation and learning.

Resources:
  • Garmston, Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce M. The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups. Norwood, MA:Christopher-Gordon Publishing, 1999.

  • DuFour, R. and Eaker, R. Professional Learning Communities at Work. Bloomington, IN:National Educational Service, 1998.

  • Professional Learning Communities Website

  • Jump to the PLC Observation Guide (web).

  • Garmston, Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce M. How to make presentations that Teach and Transform. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1992.

B. Four Hats of Professional Learning Community Leadership

Description: In adaptive schools, leadership is shared. Administrators, teachers, and support staff must have the knowledge and skills to recognize their changing roles or "hats of leadership." When all parties understand the distinction among the major functions of leadership they can affect change.

Facilitation - An approach used to direct the process used in a meeting, maintaining focus on one content area and one process at a time.

Presentation - An approach used to extend and enrich knowledge, skills, or attitudes and to enable these to be used in a team's work.

Coaching - An approach to help another take action toward his or her goals.

Consulting - Applying expertise as an information specialist or an advocate for content and/or process.

Reflection Tools - Supporting documents to assess knowledge and experience with the four hats of leadership.

Resources:

III. Strategies that Support Effective Collaboration

Specific scaffolds, structures, and protocols enable PLC members to perform tasks that they may not yet be able to perform without support. They help enforce norms of collaboration before such norms become routine. The structures highlighted here ground the work of the PLC in standards, research, practice, and evidence.

A. Science Curriculum Topic Study

Description: Science Curriculum Topic Study (SCTS) is a systematic process and a set of tools and strategies designed to help educators improve the teaching and learning of science through the considerations of key ideas and practices. SCTS helps to improve the understanding of science content, clarify curriculum content big ideas, identify potential learning difficulties or misconceptions, apply effective teaching strategies, and improve coherence of topic development across curriculum.

Keeley, P. (2005) Science curriculum topic study: Bridging the gap between standards and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Resources:
  • Curriculum Topic Study Website: Includes additional up-to-date resources, including books, videos, CDs and articles to support topics found in the CTS Guides.

B. Introduction to Science Curriculum Topic Study

Description: These resources help teachers develop an awareness of SCTS as a tool for connecting standards and research on learning to classroom practice as well as provide guided practice in using SCTS.

Preparation Time: 1 hr

Presentation Time: 90 min

Resources:

C. SCTS and Developing Assessment Probes

Description: These resources provide a process to design research-based assessment probes to identify student conceptions before, during, and after instruction.

Preparation Time: 90 min

Presentation Time: 3 hr

D. SCTS and Examining Student Work

Description: These resources provide a process to clarify learning goals through analysis of research on children's ideas. They also help to improve teachers' ability to analyze and diagnose student thinking based on their written work.

Resources:
  • Keeley, P. Science Curriculum Topic Study. Thousand Oaks, CA:Corwin Press, 2005. p. 90.

E. SCTS and Curriculum Implementation

Description: These resources provide a process to use science curriculum effectively by improving understanding of content, clarifying the meaning and intent of curricular goals, and reviewing research that may impact student learning.

Resources:
  • Keeley, P., Science Curriculum Topic Study. Thousand Oaks, CA:Corwin Press, 2005. pp. 69-74.

    Science Curriculum Topic Study on-line resources

  • Figure 3.9 The CTS Learning Cycle. Keeley, P., Science Curriculum Topic Study. Thousand Oaks, CA:Corwin Press, 2005. pp. 41.

F. SCTS and Study Groups

Description: These resources help traditional study groups use SCTS to focus learning on science content, standards, and research.

Preparation Time: 1 hr

Presentation Time: 90 min

Resources:

G. SCTS and Examining the Hierarchy of Content Knowledge

Description: These resources provide a process to "unpack" a topic. Through the identification of concepts, specific ideas, important facts and terminology teachers can better understand the topic and how it connects with other ideas.

Preparation Time: 1 hr

Presentation Time: 90 min

Resources:

H. SCTS and Collaborative Inquiry into Examining Student Thinking (CIEST)

Description: These resources provide a process by which groups construct their understanding of student thinking through asking questions, analyzing relevant data, and engaging in constructive dialogue.

Preparation Time: 90 min

Presentation Time: 2 hr

Resources:

I. SCTS and Identifying Content Knowledge to Teach a Topic

Description: These resources provide teachers a process to identify relevant grade-level science content while also increasing their own content knowledge.

Resources:

B. Peer Observation

Description: The peer observation process encourages professional dialogue around student interactions in the classroom. The referenced materials are designed for use in a variety of settings. The protocols can be used by an instructional coach, teacher-leader, or peer-observer working with a teacher to improve instructional effectiveness. Additionally, the peer observation materials can be used by a Professional Learning Community seeking to gather data around the effectiveness of shared instructional practices or curriculum.

The peer observation protocols can be used in conjunction with the Lesson Study (web) process and the Looking at Student Work (web) protocols.

C. Looking At Student Work

Looking At Student Work (LASW) Protocols provide a vehicle for building the skills and culture necessary for collaborative work focused on student preconceptions and content knowledge. The goal of these structured discussions is to promote a collaborative approach to monitoring student thinking and informing classroom instruction by examining the evidence presented in student work.

There are several protocols included below, which differ based upon the intended purpose. For example, the first protocol, High-Medium-Low, is basic; it is intended to introduce participants to working with a protocol, while establishing common criteria for rating student work. Each protocol includes a “Facilitator’s Guide” to assist in planning and implementation.

Each protocol’s generalized purpose is:

High-Medium-Low Protocol – For beginning groups learning about protocol use in LASW.

Standards in Practice Protocol – Assess whether a learning activity prompts students to meet a particular standard, then modify that activity accordingly.

Understand and Respond Protocol – Determine whether or not students have reached a learning target and what actions should be taken next to assist them.

Examine Student Thinking Protocol – A rich protocol designed to help groups explore student thinking regarding a particular concept and differentiate instruction based on the patterns in student work.

A group that wants to collaboratively Look At Student Work may bring in work from their own practice, or use the student work samples provided below.

High-Medium-Low Protocol

Purpose:
To introduce the use of a protocol to collaboratively examine student work, and to develop shared expectations of student learning and performance.

Description:
This protocol uses a probe and student responses to explore and develop shared expectations for student learning.

Time:

Preparation Time: 2 hrs
Slide Show: 10 min
Protocol: 90 min

Standards in Practice Protocol

Purpose:
This protocol allows for a close examination of students’ work in direct relationship to the standards. Teachers or teams would select this protocol if they wonder if this assignment assists students in meeting standard OR if this assessment adequately measures students’ achievement of the standard.

Description:
Participants identify the standard implicit in the assignment, generate a scoring guide, determine whether students have met the standard, and plan for needed change. This protocol uses resource materials that reference standards. (e.g. SCTS, Benchmarks, State Standards, etc.)

Time:

Preparation Time: 2 hrs
Slide Show: 10 min
Protocol: 80 min

Understand and Respond Protocol

Purpose:
This protocol is designed to help educators collaboratively examine student work in order to: 1) identify whether students or an individual student met a specific learning target, and 2) determine appropriate instructional responses.

Description:
Teachers collaboratively examine student work in order to determine the evidence of understanding students exhibit about a particular concept. The various interpretations of student understanding of the concept by the group members are then used to formulate appropriate classroom responses.

Note: Included is an "Artifact Description Worksheet" participants may find useful. The 'Presenting Teacher' may complete the worksheet before the session and use it in Step 2.

Time:

Preparation Time: 2 hrs
Slide Show: 10 min
Protocol: 90 min

Examine Student Thinking Protocol

Purpose:
To collaboratively explore student thinking about a scientific concept:

  • Investigate research into learning a specific concept,

  • Examine your students thinking or misconceptions,

  • Differentiate instructional actions for different levels of understanding.

Description:
A sophisticated protocol for experienced groups that includes a number of lenses for looking at student work. Participants using this protocol will complete a probe into student thinking, look at the big ideas and misconceptions identified by literature, predict how students will answer the probe, construct a rubric for sorting student work, sort student work by High-Medium-Low conceptual understanding, and develop specific instructional strategies to address all three groups.

Time:

Preparation: 2 hrs
Protocol: 2 hrs

Other Recommended Resources and Student Work Samples

Description: The resourses listed here have informed our thinking about collaborative examination of student work. Keeley's four volumes of Uncovering Student Ideas in Science contain numerous assessment probes useful in surfacing student ideas about many scientific topics. The 'samples' are authentic reproductions of student work.

Resources:
  • David Allen and Tina Blythe, The Facilitator’s Book of Questions, Tools for Looking Together at Student and Teacher Work. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council, 2004.

  • Joseph P. McDonald, Nancy Mohr, Alan Dichter, Elizabeth C. McDonald, The Power of Protocols, An Educator’s Guide to Better Practice. NY: Teachers College Press, 2003.

  • David Allen, Tina Blythe and Barbara S. Powell, A Guide to Looking Collaboratively at Student Work. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Project Zero, 1996.

  • David Allen, The Tuning Protocol: A Process for Reflection. Providence: Coalition of Essential Schools, 1995.

  • Keeley et. al., Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Vols. 1-4, NSTA Press 2005-2009.

D. Case Studies

In 2007-8, NCOSP Teacher Leaders wrote case studies that represented and examined their own learning experiences as classroom teachers, collaborators, or teacher leaders. Three kinds of resources are available from this work, which was supported by the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, and led by Tracy Coskie of WWU:

  • Using case studies to foster professional dialogue
  • Resources to support case writing
  • Finished NCOSP teacher leader cases

Using case studies to foster professional dialogue

Description: Case study can be a powerful strategy for professional learning. A basic approach approach for learning from cases is represented in the "Case Study Protocol Scaffold" at the top of the resource list at right:

  1. Sharing ideas to help clarify what the case is about,
  2. Dialogue to explore particular aspects within the case, and
  3. Moving beyond the case to apply insights to the work of teaching and/or leadership.

Following the Scaffold are several Case Studies, each with a companion protocol to guide the case study.

Finally, several case study book resources are listed, each of which contains a number of cases for science teaching and teacher leadership.

Resources:

Resources to support case writing

Description: These resources from Tracy Coskie and the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession were used to support various stages of case writing for NCOSP Teacher Leaders.

  1. Understanding cases
  2. Developing ideas for a case
  3. Case writing & feedback
  4. Reflecting on case writing

Resources:

Completed NCOSP teacher leader cases

Description: These resources are cases written by NCOSP Teacher Leaders and completed in summer 2008. Just as with the cases in the sub-section above (Using case studies to foster professional dialogue), they make excellent case studies for exploring classroom and leadership issues in science education.

Resources:
  • [upload NCOSP Teacher Leader cases]

E. Lesson Study

Lesson Study is a process by which teachers collaborate to plan, observe, and refine a lesson; it is a continuous process of professional development and structured reflection on teaching that leads to the measured improvement of student learning. The Lesson Study process starts with the clarification of a lesson's learning goal and then focuses on the design of instructional experiences that move toward achieving the goal.

Learning About Lesson Study

Description: The resources in this section are intended to support groups involved in Lesson Study and/or interested in learning more about conducting lesson study. We suggest that first-time visitors to this section start by reviewing the PowerPoint file "Introduction to Lesson Study." This presentation and the accompanying notes serve as an excellent overview of the core principles of Lesson Study and creates connections to many of the Lesson Study resources presented on this website.

The Northwest Regional Education Laboratory (NWREL) has developed an extensive set of resources for conducting Lesson Study (these resources are tagged with NWREL in their link). There are protocols for conducting pre-observation meetings, classroom observations, post-observations debriefings, and a log for teacher notes during the debriefing. Resources for this section include links to the NWREL website home page and lesson study section.

Integrated Curriculum Topic Study and Lesson Study, abridged version (Orange Book)

Description: The Lesson Study - Orange Book (pdf) is a tool to guide teams through a step-by-step process utilizing science Curriculum Topic Study (CTS) as the basis for a lesson study. This section includes the Orange Book (in pdf format), a companion electronic template to record your work in the Orange Book, a PowerPoint presentation designed to introduce the lesson study process, and a "flow chart" to be used in a lesson study workshop.

PowerPoint Preparation: 90 min
PowerPoint Presentation: 2 hr

Integrated Curriculum Topic Study and Lesson Study, Facilitators Guide (Purple Book)

Description: The Lesson Study Facilitator's Guide - Purple Book(pdf) is a tool for facilitators of CTS/Lesson Study. It is a companion guide to the Lesson Study - Orange Book including background information about lesson study, guidelines for facilitation, and reflective questions for participants.

Resources:

Additional NCOSP Lesson Study Resources

Description: NCOSP relied on the work of the Lesson Study Research Group at Columbia University to inform our exploration of Lesson Study. The result of this early exploration was the Integrated Curriculum Topic Study - Lesson Study Green Book(pdf) which is a full-fledged process of lesson development. The Orange Book, referenced earlier in this section, is an abridged version of the Green Book. This section includes the Green Book and a detailed sample lesson on Moon Phases reflecting the Green Book process.

Other Recommended Resources

Description: Resources in this section include The Teaching Gap, a text comparing results from traditional US and Japanese teaching systems, a lesson study handbook, videos of teachers in the US and Japan engaged in lesson study, journal articles, and additional web resources.

Note: The Lesson Study website at Columbia University is no longer updated. It is being kept online for archival purposes.

Resources:

IV. Tools for Planning Effective Collaboration

This section contains a suite of tools and protocols developed to assist collaborative groups in deciding upon and then planning their work. Two tools are highlighted: Professional Learning Community Planning Protocol and the NCOSP District Action Planning Protocol.

A. Professional Learning Communty Planning Protocol

Description: This protocol engages building leaders in dialogue to assess their school's level of proficiency in the areas of individual student performance, instructional effectiveness, and collaborative practices and construct a data-driven plan to support improvements where they are needed most.

Resources:
  • PLC Planning Protocol

B. NCOSP District Action Planning Protocol

Description: This data-driven planning process allows teachers and administrators to align their education reform activities with real, verifiable problems that they have the potential to influence.

The goals of the process are to use data to inform decisions and monitor improvements, to increase cross grade-level collaboration, and to strengthen collaboration among teachers and administrators.

Purpose: This presentation is designed to help facilitators explain and lead their school in a data-driven plan working toward continuous improvements in science teaching and learning.

Resources:
  • Garmston,Robert J. and Wellman, Bruce m.The Adaptive School:A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups, Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon Publishing, 1999.

  • Love, Nancy. Using Data-Getting Results: A Practical Guide for School Improvement in Mathematics and Science. Norwood, MA:Christopher-Gordon Publishing, 2002.

  • District Action Plan (pdf)

  • District Action Plan Report (doc)

C. School Capacities for Improvement - Survey of Science (SCI-SoS)

Description: The SCI-SoS is a survey to help educators collect data they can use to inform their science reform efforts. Forty seven questions measure five components of "school capacity" that research has shown to be necessary for improved science teaching and learning in schools: 1) Shared responsibility for all students’ success, 2) Resources, 3) My knowledge and skills, 4) My colleagues’ knowledge and skills, and 5) Professional development. All responses are rated on a 5-point scale, where 1 = "Not at all" and 5 = "To a great extent". A summary of a school's capacity for science reform can be obtained when teachers, administrators, and school staff take this online survey. Additionally, these school stakeholders can complete this survey at the beginning, middle, and end of each school year to measure changes in the five capacity areas.

Based on data collected from NCOSP schools in 2007-2008, recommendations are provided to schools about how they might structure a PLC’s time and teachers' participation, and use resources and processes in order to maintain or improve a school’s performance in the five capacity areas.

Note: The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. All responses to the survey questions are anonymous. No identifying information is presented in the reporting of the data. The data report can be accessed by the individual (e.g., science coach, teacher leader, administrator, etc.) who coordinated the survey for a school through their personal login and password to the NCOSP website.

Resources:

Recommendations for PLC work:

There are several attributes of PLCs which are associated with schools whose survey-takers reported a consistently high rating and/or an improved rating in each capacity area. Stakeholders looking for ways to improve or maintain their school's capacity in these areas might take into consideration the following PLC practices.

Schools with high or improved ratings on Shared responsibility for all students’ success had PLCs with the following attributes:

Time
- Consistent meetings, once every 2 weeks
- Time to meet is provided by the school/district (e.g. planning time, LID days)

Participation
- Variety of people involved in PLC work (e.g. higher education faculty, teachers from various grades and science disciplines, TOSAs, teachers from other schools)

Schools with high or improved ratings on Teacher’s own knowledge and skills had PLCs with the following attributes:

Time
- Meetings conducted outside of the school day (e.g. before or after school, on weekends)
- Participants do some PLC work between meetings

Participation
- PLC has consistent membership throughout the year
- Experts are called upon to participate in the PLC (e.g. school specialists, TOSAs, teachers from other schools)

Working Processes
- PLC members have a common focus/goal
- Data collection guides PLC work (e.g. student work, classroom observations, anecdotal evidence)

Resources
- PLC work is funded by the school

Schools with high or improved ratings on Teacher's colleagues’ knowledge and skills had PLCs with the following attributes:

Time
- Meetings last between 2 hours and ˝ day

Participation
- Variety of people involved in PLC work (e.g. higher education faculty, teachers from various grades and science disciplines)

Working Processes
- Data collection guides PLC work (e.g. LASW protocol, classroom observations)
- PLC has a consistent focus/goals

Schools with high or improved ratings on Professional Development had PLCs with the following attributes:

Time
- Meetings last between 2 hours and ˝ day
- Meetings are consistent, and PLC meets at least every 1-2 weeks
- PLC time is funded by the school/district (e.g. substitutes provided or school schedule is structured to allow PLC to meet)