Group Effectiveness in Grade Level Professional Learning Committees Ashley Mullins Clay City Elementary Teacher Leader Professional Development Activity Objectives: Assess the effectiveness of our grade level Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) at Clay City Elementary Create an action plan to improve PLC weak areas Increase the “effectiveness of your group” which is the PLC in each grade level Why these objectives? Assessing our group effectiveness and developing an action plan will help us to become as effective as possible and be more successful for our kids. We have to know what we need to work on before we can work on it. Increasing the effectiveness of our grade level PLCs will help to better serve our children. There is no way our school can function well if its pieces (our grade level PLCs) don’t function well. Time is a precious resource so it is important that each grade level PLC (or group) functions as efficiently as possible. The less time we waste, the more we get done. The better that we are able to function together as a group, the more we will accomplish. Outcomes As a result of this Professional Development we should be able to…….. 1. Understand the overall (current) effectiveness of our grade level PLCs. 2. Increase the group effectiveness of our grade level PLCs. Planned Activities (that will help us accomplish our objectives) Review 12 Key Characteristics to a Fully Functioning Group pg 216 This ensures we fully understand the 12 key characteristics that we will rate ourselves on in the next activity. These are the facets that make an effective group. Exercise 11-1: Characteristics of an Effective Group pg. 217 This will allow us to evaluate the current group effectiveness in our grade level PLCs by giving us a scope of where we are currently and where we need to improve. Including Discussion Concerning Rating for Each of the 12 Characteristics: This will give us a clear notion of where we all stand in the current function of our group according to each characteristic. Do we agree with the rating? Why or Why Not? Do you agree with the overall diagnosis of the group’s effectiveness? Create an Action Plan to Address Group Weaknesses By creating an action plan, we can create a clear process that will increase group effectiveness through planned activities. *All activities and Page Numbers are referring to the textbook entitled “The Art of Leadership by Kent Curtis and George Manning* Teacher Leadership in Relation to Teams Leaders Rely on Teams Our Principal, Mrs. Meadows, relies on grade level PLC teams to accomplish tasks in order to increase student learning across the school. Teacher Leaders recognize the efficiency that occurs when working with a team in contrast to completing tasks separately. Successful Leaders Understand Groups Groups can accomplish more than the individual and successful leaders understand this. To be successful, you have to understand how a group works best. What Makes an Effective Group? “Rather than a single thread, there is a tapestry of qualities that characterize all effective groups.” Page 215, “The Art of Leadership” 12 Characteristics of an Effective Group 1.Clear Mission 2.Informal Atmosphere 3.Lots of Discussion 4.Active Listening 5.Trust and Openness 6.Disagreement is Okay 7.Criticism is Issue-Oriented…..Never Personal 12 Characteristics of an Effective Group, continued 8. Consensus is the Norm 9. Effective Leadership 10. Clarity of Assignments 11. Shared Values and Norms of Behavior 12. Commitment Exercise 11-1 Evaluating Your Group To be able to identify weaknesses in our groups and create an action plan to get better, we first have to know where we stand in relation to the 12 characteristics. Be Open……Be Honest. The only way we can get better and grow is to be true to the situation. The Next 20 Minutes: Using Exercise 11-1 collectively rate your group according to each characteristic including open discussion. Record scorings, tally points, and see what rating the rubric from Exercise 11-1 gives your group. Do you agree? Why or Why Not? Discuss Take 5 minutes to…… Discuss specific weaknesses that came to light as a result of Exercise 11-1 Where can we grow? Why do you think this weakness exists? What can we do to change the circumstances and view things in a positive light? Identify Your Greatest Two Weaknesses Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day: Identify the two areas for growth that you think would most benefit the effectiveness of your group with the other members of your PLC. We can’t fix everything at once. What are your groups two top priorities for improvement in regards to the 12 characteristics? Write these down. Create an Action Plan For each of the two identified weaknesses that your group will work on: Identify 3 steps that you can take, as a group, that will improve areas in which you attend to grow. Set up an accountability system How will you check yourselves to make sure you are taking the identified steps with fidelity? Can you hold each other accountable to the group for the better of the students? Other Things You Can Do According to “The Art of Leadership” you can be a Teacher Leader and take on one of several positive group member roles in order to increase group success. This is in addition to your action plan. They are as follows: Encourager: be positive and make others feel good Clarifier: keep everyone up to speed, summarize meetings Harmonizer: bring everyone together Idea Generator: be creative and suggest new ideas Ignition Key: keep your group motivated Standard Setter: be a model for others Detail Specialist: be the finisher, fine tune the finished product Assessing Our Objectives Revisit the action plan we created tonight in your grade level PLCs every two weeks to make sure that you are following it and completing the listed steps. In three months, at the monthly faculty meeting we will all reconvene to re-assess the “effectiveness of our groups” with the same activities that we completed today in order to see if we are completing our objective, which is making our grade level PLCs more effective. If our objectives have been met, we will hopefully see growth in our ratings. If our objectives have not been met, we will revisit the action plans in order find alternative ways to improve.