In response to the 6/9/2011 post, “More on PLC’s,” a LYS Principal writes: It occurs to me that teams, or PLC’s, are useful for keeping faculty focused on the goals and direction established by the instructional leader. It is also clear to me that PLC’s are useful for monitoring student progress and keeping student performance on track. On the other hand, I think PLC’s can be a very dangerous instrument if improperly used. For example, some people view PLC’s as a way for teachers to own and direct the school and student outcomes. I am partially OK with that, as long as a tight and firm instructional leader keeps the school moving in a well-defined direction. Sadly, it is clear from discussions with many school leaders that they view PLC’s as a way to remove themselves from the instructional decision making process. I find this to be a very dangerous idea. Another common theme that I hear repeated by central office types is that a PLC will keep the school moving in the right direction even when the principal changes. This line of reasoning positions the principal as a passenger on the vessel, not the captain of the ship. Interestingly DuFour is very clear about the need for strong leadership and NEVER mentions the PLC as a tool for leadership continuity. The tools for continuity are best found in the works of Maxwell and Collins, not DuFour. DuFour is a great speaker and has great ideas. I have heard him present and I have read virtually everything he has written. But there is a lot of bad implementation and poor leadership practice that is justified through the flippant use of his name. SC Response I remember a discussion that I had a number of years ago with a principal who was trying to implement a nationally know PLC model. She asked what was the “trick” LYS schools were doing. Because based on the “less important” metric of student test scores LYS schools were getting better while her hard working school continued to flounder. When I told her that LYS schools understand that leadership practice is the catalyst for school improvement, she immediately cut me off and said the principals are the problem with schools. As principal, her job is to make sure that her PLC’s meet and empower them to enact the ideas and solutions that they develop. All I could do is smile and wish her luck. Sadly, luck didn’t work because the school was closed the two years later (after the principal was fired). PLC’s are powerful tools if: 1. The PLC work is focused 2. The PLC members have the capacity to engage to meaningful work 3. There is an understanding that the PLC operates (with no irony intended) under the illusion of democracy. Absent any one of the above three criteria ensures that the amount of activity versus the amount of progress is never commensurate. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn… Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! Louise ISD is searching for a Superintendent. Application details at A Central Texas School District is searching for an Assistant Superintendent. Application details at Follow Sean Cain on Upcoming Event / Presentation Schedule June 16, TASSP – Conference Breakfast, hosted by E. Don Brown (LYS travel tumblers for the first 1000 attendees, last year we ran out) June 16, TASSP – Book Release Event for “The Fundamental 5” June 16, TASSP – The Fundamental 5 June 16, TASSP – Tech Tools for the 2.0 Principal June 17, TASSP – PowerWalks June 18 – TASB Conference, Fort Worth