Resources have been developed to support your work on starting and/or sustaining PLCs. Leadership in Professional Learning Communities is an online learning module offered via Moodle that is available for school leaders or leadership teams in Central Rivers AEA. This online learning module evolves around a DVD authored by DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, and Many, which is produced by Solution-Tree. This DVD can be checked out through Central Rivers AEA Get Media or purchased directly from Solution-Tree. The video below provides a brief introduction to the learning module.

Innovation configuration (IC) maps for PLCs

Central Rivers AEA has developed a set of Innovation Configuration (IC) maps for PLCs that are adapted, with permission, from the work of Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Thomas Many in A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work™.

Moodle learning modules

There are two Moodle Learning Modules available via our Central Rivers AEA Moodle server for districts to use as they work through the PLC process.  More specific information on the modules is available from the links on the left hand side of this page.  Each of the modules is designed to be used in conjunction with additional resources that need to be checked out from Central Rivers AEA GetMedia.

If you have any questions or need assistance with either of these modules please contact us.

Leadership for PLC

This Moodle Learning Module is intended for district leadership teams to prepare them to lead their school/district through the professional learning community process. The information covered includes the following:

  • Overview of the Purpose of PLCs
  • Disperese Leadership throughout the School
  • Employ a System of Reciprocal Accountability
  • Create a School Culture that is Simultaneously Loose and Tight
  • Learning By Doing

In order to complete this learning module you will need to check out the kit entitled, Leadership in Professional Learning Communitites at Work: Learning By Doing, available from the Central Rivers AEA Media Library. You will need the DVD from the kit to complete each topic.

Access the Leadership For PLC learning module via the Central Rivers AEA Moodle server. You will need to create an account or log in to your existing account in order to access the learning module. Once logged in, locate the Professional Learning Community section and click on Leadership for PLC. No enrollment key or access code is needed.

The power of PLCs

This Moodle Learning Module is intended for district staff who are beginning the process of creating professional learning communities in their district and/or school. It contains the following content:

  • Overview of the PLC Process
  • Three Big Ideas
  • Focus on Learning
  • Culture of Collaboration
  • Focus on  Results

In order to complete this learning module you will need to check out the kit entitled, The Power of Professional Learning Communities at Work: Bringing the Big Ideas to Life, which is available from Central Rivers AEA7 Media Library. You will need the DVD from the kit to complete each topic.

Access the The Power of PLCs learning module via the Central Rivers AEA Moodle server. You will need to create an account or log in to your existing account in order to access the learning module. Once logged in, locate the Professional Learning Community section and click on The Power of PLCs. No enrollment key or access code is needed.

RtI at Work Coaching Academy

Central Rivers AEA and Solution Tree partner to offer RTI at Work™ Coaching Academy
Solution Tree Logo
Central Rivers AEA will partner with Solution Tree, a nationally recognized provider of professional learning opportunities, to offer face-to-face meetings and webinars in 2014-15. The series, entitled “RTI at Work™ Coaching Academy,” will feature Mike Mattos, a leader in the professional learning community model. Mattos will guide participants through the process of leading and managing change.

The coaching academy is designed to help districts form leadership teams to act as informed agents of change throughout the system and is the next step in supporting school districts as they work through the school improvement process.

The academy builds on the foundation of the PLC at Work™ process by using team structures and a focus on learning, collaboration, and results to drive successful outcomes. Registration for the academy is limited. For more information, visit the RTI at Work™ Coaching Academy website or contact Kim Swartz at 1-800-735-1539.

What is a PLC?

The term professional learning community (PLC) has become quite commonplace in the field of education. Educators use this term to describe multiple combinations of individuals with an interest in education. While different teams have a purpose, not all teams are PLCs. More accurately described, PLCs are a group who work together interdependently in collaborative teams that are committed to achieving better results for their students. In this clip Denver CSD teachers describe their views of PLCs.

Driving force

School improvement is the driving force for implementing PLCs in many school districts .  This desire to create a systems-approach that can support and sustain conditions for learning is the impetus for many schools as they put changes in place.  Professional Learning Communities are often the key to improved teaching and learning. In this video clip, districts share what their driving force was for implementing PLCs.

First steps

Taking the first steps towards creating a Professional Learning Community is like taking the first steps of a journey…you begin by doing. Creating a common understanding among staff regarding “what is a PLC?” is a frequent starting point for many schools as they begin the journey. In this video districts share how they started their journey on the path of becoming a Professional Learning Community.

Making time for PLCs

Making time for PLCs can be one of the first challenges schools find as they work to implement the PLC process within their school. However, you find time for that which is important. In this clip, districts within Central Rivers AEA share how they carved out time for PLCs to meet.

Structuring PLC teams

Creating professional learning communities is difficult work. It doesn’t happen by simply grouping teachers together and giving them meeting time. There is no one right way to organize PLC teams. This clip shows some examples of how schools in Central Rivers AEA have structured their PLC teams.


Establishing written, agreed upon, team norms early in the PLC process provides teams an opportunity to build common understanding and commitment to the norms. In this video districts share about what they have learned about the importance of norms.

SMART goals – teachers

Developing SMART goals is a process and takes careful consideration. Adding or extending the time is sometimes needed in order to reach the SMART goal. In this clip teachers describe how they created their SMART goals and how they continued to monitor and adjust as needed along the way.

Four questions that guide a PLC

Professional Learning Communities focus on student learning and work collaboratively to ensure all students learn and achieve at high levels. Their work is driven by four essential questions.In this clip administrators and teachers share the importance of the four questions and how they impact the work of the team.

Connections to the Iowa Core

The PLC process has crucial connections to the Iowa Core. In this clip you will see how a variety of educators within Central Rivers AEA view that connection.

Goal alignment

One of the three big ideas of a PLC is focusing on results. In order to know the data to look for and collect you must start with a goal. In this video administrators and teachers discuss how they use goals to align their PLC process and keep it moving in the right direction.

How the PLCs & MTSS (RtI) processes are aligned

We know that effective schools create a climate of expectations of student learning. The shift moves from what is taught to what each student learns and in order to make this shift, schools must plan for immediate and decisive interventions when students don’ t learn. Schools are being asked to to implement a multi-tiered system of support MTSS (RtI). Listen as these district administrators and teachers  talk about how they see PLCs and the RtI process working together to support student learning.

Advice from the field

Beginning on the PLC journey can seem a bit overwhelming. Districts within Central Rivers AEA who have started down this path share their thoughts and strategies for getting started with PLCs.

Support for collaborative teams

The work of PLCs is not a linear task. This work can tackled in any order and should happen concurrently within a PLC. There is no one way and because of that, teams can get stuck in their work and the next steps within a PLC. Sometimes collaborative teams need support from leadership to help move them forward. In this clip district administrators share ways in which they help to support collaborative teams within their district or building.

PLC success

Being able to recognize all levels of success within the PLC process is critical to succeeding. In this video teachers and administrators describe the successes they have had through the PLC process.

Celebrating success

Communicating what is valued within a building or district is a powerful way to motivate and sustain improvement initiatives. Celebrations can be a powerful communication tool. In the following clips you will hear from central office administrators, principals, and teachers how their schools or districts are celebrating the successes.

Sustaining the momentum

PLCs are somewhat like a living organism, evolving and growing over time. As part of that process, they may reach a plateau, when they may need to be stretched to move forward. During these times it is important that leadership work to keep the PLC from stagnating or just going through the motions. In this video, administrators from Montezuma Community School District share how leadership teams help to keep the momentum of the collaborative teams going in their district.