15 Resources for Establishing an Effective Professional Learning Community

Effective PLC

Professional learning communities (PLCs) provide educators the opportunity and process to collaboratively hone learning objectives and instructional strategies, determine the best student learning assessments, and craft interventions to support struggling learners. Effective PLCs honor each educator and foster a community that benefits teachers while meaningfully impacting student outcomes. Learn how create an effective PLC in your school with this selection of resources just released on ASCD myTeachSource®.

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Free Resources

Planning Professional Learning (Educational Leadership)

With backward planning, schools can ensure they choose professional development activities that align with their most important goals.

Foundations of Professional Development (Book Chapter)

This chapter from Strengthening and Enriching Your Professional Learning Community explains key professional development concepts of for educators.

The Power of Virtual Professional Learning (Book Chapter)

Steven Anderson, author of The Tech-Savvy Administrator, pushes educators to think about and engage in virtual learning communities.

Research Says / Keep Professional Learning Groups Small, But Connected (Educational Leadership)

Research on PLCs suggests leaders can support collaboration by setting forth big goals to promote group interaction, demonstrating personal commitment to the effort, and handing some decision making over to groups.

Professional Learning Communities: School Leaders’ Perspectives (Education Update)

School leaders discuss how they have used professional learning communities to transform teaching practices and boost student achievement.

What Is a Professional Learning Community? (Educational Leadership)

Richard DuFour discusses three principles of true professional learning communities: a commitment to student learning, a culture of collaboration, and a focus on results.

ASCD Members Only

Learning and Leading in the Professional Learning Community (Book Chapter)

Mike Schmoker explains how to best utilize your professional learning community in this chapter from Results Now.

How PLCs Do Data Right (Educational Leadership)

What is the defining characteristic of a successful professional learning community? It uses data to improve student learning.

Harnessing the Power of PLCs (Educational Leadership)

Here’s a look at several professional learning communities that have made remarkable improvements in student and teacher learning.

How to Create High-Impact Professional Learning: From Vision to Implementation (Book Chapter)

Douglas Reeves encourages educators to stop envisioning what their classroom could be and start working toward positive change by developing a professional learning plan.


Strengthening and Enriching Your Professional Learning Community: The Art of Learning Together (Book)

Learn how to create process learning circles to support genuine, sustained professional development for teachers and administrators.

Protocols for Professional Learning (The Professional Learning Community Series) (Book)

This guide covers effective discussion techniques designed specifically for educators in professional learning communities.

Improving Teaching with Collaborative Action Research: An ASCD Action Tool (Book)

Once you’ve established a PLC, this ASCD action tool will help ensure that your PLC stays focused on addressing teaching methods and student learning problems. This tool explains how your PLC can use collaborative action research to formulate questions about chosen topics, take action, and then collect and analyze data to answer those questions.

Exploring Differentiated Instruction (The Professional Learning Community Series) (Book)

Use this handy guide to get your PLC engaged, energized, and ready to implement differentiated instruction. Everything you need to organize and run your PLC—including agendas, schedules, handouts, and background readings—is included. With enough materials for 10 sessions in total, you can focus your PLC on all of the critical issues related to differentiated instruction.

Leading Professional Learning: Building Capacity Through Teacher Leaders (PDO Course)

In this course, Judy Carr defines job-embedded professional learning and identifies approaches to needs assessment that highlights professional learning needs within a school. She then provides guidance and criteria for the identification and selection of teacher leaders and includes examples of various means of learning with colleagues in a job-embedded system—such as action research and other study groups, collaborative planning of lessons and assessments, and differentiated professional learning in which teachers engage with and provide feedback to one another.


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