After reading the last three chapters in the book PLC+: Better Decisions and Greater Impact by Design, it is possible to strengthen an understanding of the successful professional learning community (PLC) characteristics and improvement practices. According to Fisher et al. (2020), it is not enough for educators to focus on the progress of students, their knowledge, and skills but to concentrate on what has been learned and how to use this experience. The chosen material reveals the main idea of PLC discussions and framework and the necessity to ask the right questions at the right time. The implementation of the best practice within the PLC context is not a simple task, and this process requires taking important steps like defining and understanding PLC characteristics, discussing improvement interventions, and proceeding with practice.
The impact of PLC+ teams on teaching and learning processes has been recognized by many national and international facilities. PLCs introduce a clear guideline for educators to understand where they are going, where they are now, how to move learning, what has been learned, and who gained (did not gain) benefits (Fisher et al., 2020). To succeed in implementation, it is necessary to learn all nine characteristics of students and analyze if growth and achievement are equally possible. Fisher et al. (2020) underline such aspects as gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, attendance, interest, mobility, and English learning. Thus, students should not be divided only by race or gender only. The assessment has to touch upon all nine characteristics in all student groups. It becomes clear that equity of opportunities should be provided to avoid such barriers to learning as biased assumptions and limitations.
Response to intervention (RTI) is one of the best approaches to improve student learning at several levels. Fisher et al. (2020) admit that RTI is a generic term that may be referred to intensive or supplemental support. Student improvement might occur in small groups where particular instructional needs exist, and children are able to cooperate. However, some students require special attention, and individual assessments help teachers see the problematic areas and think about the most appropriate solutions. Understanding the basics of these interventions as a part of the PLC+ framework allows to proceed with PLC practice implementation.
It seems that even the most skilled professionals are able to choose the best practice implementation of the PLC+ framework because many things depend on individual characteristics, offered environments, and the level of cooperation (Fisher et al., 2020). Still, the reading makes it possible to think about available options. This reflection introduces collaborative assessment as the best idea to take from PLC practice. When people are able to educate and make observations together, they can achieve better results and improve their settings. Collaboration is a core issue in PLCs, and it is wrong to neglect this approach in the current system of education.
In general, this reading experience helps to understand how to implement new techniques and interventions to improve student learning and underline the role of educators in each process. Instead of focusing on children only, teachers should better collaborate and exchange their experiences. These approaches do not require much financial support but personal involvement and devotion to the chosen field. Education should be equal, and the PLC+ framework covers the most critical steps to be taken. Students have a chance for personal growth and improvement, and it is the educator’s responsibility to facilitate a learning process.
Fisher, D., Frey, N., Almarode, J., Flories, K., & Nagel, D. (2020). PLC+: Better decisions and greater impact by design. Corwin.