The term professional learning community has become quite commonplace in education circles. The term describes a collegial group who are united in their commitment to an outcome. In the case of education, the commitment would be to student learning. The community engages in a variety of activities including sharing a vision, working and learning collaboratively, visiting and observing other classrooms, and participating in shared decision making. The benefits of a professional learning community to educators and students include reduced isolation of teachers, better informed and committed teachers, and academic gains for students. Shirley Hord of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory says, that as an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff-development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement.1

1. Hord, S. M. (1997). Professional learning communities: What are they and why are they important?

Resources to Consider

Quality PLCs Sources: This resource lists a number of books, websites, and other resources to learn about PLCs or improve the quality of your PLCs.

Glossary of PLC Key Terms and Concepts: Use this resource to support your district, school, departments, or grade levels as they begin their work in PLCs.

Revisiting Professional Learning Communities at Work - A Focused Conversation with Rick and Becky DuFour: Enjoy this Voicethread to learn more about how educators from around the country and beyond are learning about PLCs. (You may need a Voicethread username and password to access this voicethread.)

Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap -- A Focused Conversation with Rick and Becky DuFour: Enjoy this Voicethread to learn more about using PLCs to raise the bar and close the achievement gap. (You may need a Voicethread username and password to access this voicethread.)

PLC Task Cards: Use this PowerPoint to share the four PLC questions with your teams.


A Picture of Data in our School: Use this tool to capture longitudinal data of your school in one visually-appealing document. This template can help you track changes, make data-driven decisions, and share data with the appropriate stakeholders.

Cultural Shifts in a PLC: Use this resource to share the shifts that occur when schools engage in effective PLCs.

Transform your Group into a Team: This set of tools will support your work as you gauge the stages of your team's development. Tools and parameters for creating norms, and questionnaires to support the growth of your PLC are also a part of this exceptional set of quality tools for developing strong teams.

Understanding Professional Learning Teams: This tool provides an activity and questions for teams to consider as they begin to develop an understanding of PLCs.

PLC Guiding Questions: Use these guiding questions to engage site-based administrators, instructional leaders, or other educators in crucial conversations that will support the work of PLCs.


DPI Professional Learning Communities Resources: This site provides information regarding the five attributes of high-quality Professional Learning Communities, why PLCs are important, the steps to creating effective PLCs, and more.

All Things PLC: This site was created to serve as a collaborative, objective resource for educators and administrators who are committed to enhancing student achievement. We invite you to share your knowledge, ask questions, and get expert insight into the issues teachers face each day in the classroom.


All Things PLC Articles and Research: The All Things PLC website has a variety of articles and research findings on the following topics:
              • Expert Insights
              • Getting Started
              • Teamwork/Collaboration
              • Assessment
              • Leadership/Managing PLC Change
              • In the News

Leading Edge: This article by Rick DuFour discusses our professional obligation to stay at the top of our field by seeking opportunities for continuous growth and improvement.

What is a Professional Learning Community?: This article in Educational Leadership by Richard DuFour provides information about developing PLCs. "To create a professional learning community, focus on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively, and hold yourself accountable for results"

PLN: Personal Learning Network

Using Professional Learning Networks: "This issue of ASCD Express looks at how effective professional learning communities (PLCs) can help educators improve their teaching practices, develop solutions to their common challenges, and raise levels of student achievement."

Resources for Growing your Personal Learning Network: Get ideas and tips for creating connections and developing a network from this Edutopia blog post.

All-A-Twitter About Education: This Education Week blog post by Michael Petrilli provides educators with one of the easiest and fastest ways to broaden their PLN. This post provides a listing and Twitter handle for the top 25 educator tweeters and the top 25 education policy/media tweeters.

“The resources provided during the course of the NCDPI Summer Institute 2012 have been helpful to some educators across the state. However, due to the rapidly changing resources available, NCDPI does not represent nor endorse that these resources are the exclusive resources for the purposes outlined during the Summer Institute.”