George Lucas Educational Foundation


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Hello to my fellow Walden U Friends: Can anyone share of resources or information that I may obtain concerning professional learning communities and it relationship to special education?

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Heather Maddox's picture
Heather Maddox
Special Education Teacher 4/5

At out school we are studying RTI. So our PLC's are using the Mary Howard book on RTI. This helps us as sped teachers and also gives us ideas on our part in RTI. We also have PLC's based on our interests or concerns like behavior, brain research or school climate. With all these groups we can meet as sped teachers or meet with teachers across the subject areas. Hope this helps.

Debb Adams's picture

In our district we are using On Comon Ground by Rick DuFour, and Whatever It Takes. In addition Learning by Doing is an incredible hands-on book that will help the practice of creating and maintaining relationships in a PLC. Everyone, including Spec. Ed., is using the books in our middle school, so I think the information in the books translate well across disciplines and levels.


Valli Dobbin's picture

Fortunately our principal has supported our time in PLC's. We now meet twice a month for 75 minutes while our principal takes our 4th - 6th graders to the gym. When we first started meeting, he was able to pay substitutes and we met as a group in a room at the administration building for an entire day. This is where we made substantial progress on programs and learning strategies for our struggling students,and for the advanced students. Recently our PLC's have resembled staff meetings; however, we are planning on meeting some afternoons in order to go back to our original intention of focusing on student progress in the core areas. One aspect that did come out of our studies, was that the only students who did not make progress with all our various interventions were those students who had behavior problems.

Laurie Vaillancourt's picture
Laurie Vaillancourt
6th grade science

Our school has moved to "late start Mondays" to give us the opportunity to meet with our colleagues. While this is a great step forward for our district, we are limited to meeting with our grade band department. I wish we had the opportunity to choose the group we meet with.

Barbara's picture
12-22 year old special needs students

Our Principal has supported the teachers in what they thought was important to discuss. Technology is fairly new with our special needs students so we had many PLC geared toward learning about iPads, SmartBoards and other technical devices. This coming year I believe the district is going to have the Principal run the PLC. She is not happy about this so we will see how receptive the teachers are.

Michelle Ybarra's picture
Michelle Ybarra
Kindergarten teacher from Brownsville, Texas

I like the idea of "late start Mondays" that sounds like a great opportunity to meet with the grade level to discuss classroom management issues, lesson plans, and the opportunity to share ideas. I would like to see that implemented at my school or through our district.

Heather Ball's picture
Heather Ball
Fourth grade Math and Reading teacher from Montross, Virginia

I've heard of two schools this week with the late start strategy to providing teachers with the opportunity to collaborate. It is a great idea and gets teachers talking while they are fresh. The only chance we have to collaboration is squeezed into long days with the students and we often feel "burn-out" by the time we meet. I love the Monday morning idea. I'd like to suggest that to my administration.

Pam's picture

I am a first year teacher and attending Walden for the mastery program of reading and math. I want any ideas on how to help teach math to my special students in 6th and 7th grade. Hands on is very important.

Marilyn Anugraham's picture

In my school in Malaysia, we have yet to follow in suit of forming PLCs but since I have been diligently following tremendous praise reports from various American schools via YouTube and Edutopia, I would like to implement it with my English teachers on a trial basis just to gather feedback next month. I would really appreciate all the help I can get and materials that I would need in order to carry it out successfully . Thanks.

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Engagement Manager

Hi Marilyn, welcome to the Edutopia community. It's great that you're interested in establishing a Professional Learning Community at your school. I think you may want to consider trying it for more than one month though. It takes time to establish a process and model that works for your particular school. Give the PLC time to take root and grow.

Here are a few of resources that might be useful...

Basic tips on how to create a PLC:

Resources for growing your Professional Learning Network. The article includes links at the bottom to some useful resources:

Partners in Learning also has a useful guide to starting and developing a PLC:

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