Professional Learning Communities

What are Professional Learning Communities?
Professional Learning Communities, or “PLCs,” are educators who meet to collectively improve student learning and achievement. PLCs engage in a continuous cycle of collaborative inquiry questioning based on classroom practices in an effort to build a shared knowledge as professionals. These meetings occur at regularly scheduled times throughout the school year. The members of the PLC may change based on need and focus (short and long term PLCs) PLC discussions are facilitated through the use of a protocol. Protocols are selected based on the goal of the meeting (data analysis, celebrating success, tuning work etc.) Utilizing protocols provides a structure and focus to each PLC meeting, while facilitating the discussion in a way that all voices are heard, and diverse perspectives are welcomed.


Why are Professional Learning Communities important?
PLCs create a safe space for educators to discuss and analyze their craft. Through professional learning communities, teachers can continually set goals, improve student achievement, and regularly reflect on their practice. A school that fosters the PLC process creates a unified commitment to student learning, moving from isolation to collaboration.


How do Professional Learning Communities relate to other PICCS components?Professional Learning Communities serve as the vehicle for an assortment of PICCs initiatives. Through PLCs, teachers can analyze data, prepare for teacher observations, and reflect on their practice. PLCs can then protocols to take incorporate PICCS initiatives into their day-to-day practices.

PICCS promotes the continuous improvement of professional teaching practices on a peer-to-peer level. One of the other initiatives, Peer Review, encourages teachers to have their educational units reviewed and assessed in safe environment. Exemplary units of instruction are published, creating a broader learning community among the teachers in the PICCS network.

From Closed Door to Collaborative: Using Professional Learning Communities for School ImprovementIn the video posted below, members of Professional Learning Communities from two PICCS schools work together to improve curriculum and instruction and discuss the roles of teacher leaders in schools.

To learn more about how PICCS helps schools develop Professional Learning Communities, please contact Courtney McCall at