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Les Potter is currently the Assistant to the Superintendent (Educational Services Overseas Limited) in Egypt. He received his doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Les has over 45 years...
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Creating a Professional Learning Community

Since their inception, schools have continually sought to improve in response to demands from teachers, administrators, parents, policymakers and legislators. When we look at the research into improving schools and examine the keys to school improvement, it invariably boils down to the ability of the people within the school to function as a professional learning community. A professional learning community (PLC) shares a vision. A vision is generally created by the principal to move the school academically forward. 

The philosophy of a professional learning community and servant leadership is people working together in a collaborative environment. Each member of the community wants to help the other succeed in daily interactions between staff and principals. All stakeholders, members of the board of education, the superintendent, the faculty and support staff, move together to implement this shared vision. Teachers are empowered to do what is best for  their students. Involving others in decision-making processes and empowering them to act on their ideas is one of the most significant and effective strategies used by capable people.

There is an attitude of cooperation and a willingness to serve others as opposed to serving self. There is never a fear of asking for help. The support participants working in a PLC feel is systemic. The ability to explore and ask questions, asking peers and supervisors, is only possible when it comes from the top.

The principal is the key player in creating this community. The role he or she plays is a vital one. The principal begins by bringing the faculty together in a four-step process:

  1. reinforcing the vision
  2. reinforcing the mission
  3. developing value statements
  4. establishing goals

Each will be discussed in later articles.

Excerpts from "Enhancing a High-Performing School Culture and Climate." by Bulach, Lunenburg and Potter

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Dr. Les Potter
former Director and current Assistant to the Superintendent
American International School West, Cairo Egypt
[email protected]