PLCs Aren’t Just for Teachers!


In the Fall, I heard a teacher from another district say, “if the district introduces something with an acronym, we know it won’t last; we wait it out.” In education, there’s so much jargon, and though it may make us sound like we have an exclusive language, it confuses everyone but us. So, public service announcement: when talking to anyone that isn’t in education, don’t use acronyms! People have no idea what you are saying.

Today’s acronym: PLC. PLC stands for professional learning community. Professional learning communities, as defined by Richard DuFour, concentrate on three big ideas, ensuring that students learn, a culture of collaboration, and a focus on results. We all benefit by participating in a PLC, and school leaders are no different.

In 2016-2017, a group of like-minded individuals in technology and innovation world began forming a PLC. We didn’t call it out as such, but it certainly fits the bill. We gather monthly and collaborate around improving the educational experience through personalization and innovation for our staff and students. In the beginning, as with any PLC, we worked to earn our sea legs, defining our purpose, setting our goals and getting to know one another. If you haven’t noticed, technology positions have evolved from “techy” to innovative learning and our discussions traverse the two looking for opportunities to capitalize on the intersection.  Since we represent six districts, our collective thinking moves Cincinnati forward, not simply our district.

Our PLC offers rich support, and when Google went haywire this week, our PLC sprang into action. The group doesn’t simply talk about personalized learning and innovation; we provide support for one another. The group, driven by passion and purpose, is invaluable. You cannot put a price on collaboration and our ideas when together, supersede any of those developed individually.

Three Benefits of a PLC:

  1. Diffused liability. Talk about ideas, instructional practices…What worked? What didn’t? Learn from one another and vet ideas.
  2. Comradery. When you are working toward similar goals, it helps to talk about the trials and tribulations.
  3. Results. I immediately think of the acrostic TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More).

Yes, acronyms are overused, and many initiatives tied to them disappear, but there’s value in this one. PLCs, when maximized and fully functioning, produce results, supports, and comradery. We don’t call ourselves a PLC; we call ourselves the GCGC which stands for Greater Cincinnati Guru Crew. If you are involved in one give yourselves a name and embrace your group, if not, I suggest you work to create a professional learning community!

In case you missed it, read about the Meraki’s, another high-functioning professional learning community.