Leadership magazine Nov/Dec 2015 V45 No 2 - Page 10

tunities to problem solve as a staff. One resolution, for example, was in the fifth grade: Four teachers selected the one most skilled in teaching reading and writing to all fifth graders, while the others acted as assistants until they developed the skills to teach reading and writing effectively. After months of training teachers and providing ongoing coaching, teachers’ skills improved significantly. The academic collaboration meetings became Professional Learning Communities, in part, because “forward thinking” was a new catch phrase that appeared to be very vogue. The principal was not pre­occupied with the name placed on collaboration meetings and trainings as long as it did not stop the momentum or interrupt the recently established structures and systems in place to provide a quality educational experience for all students. The PLCs offered most of the necessary components to improve the schools, in part because they are defined as teams that are composed primarily of teachers, with an administrator, other staff and resource persons 10 Leadership as appropriate. The main focus of these teams is on improving student learning by enhancing their own learning and capacity in the delivery of research-based best practices. Over time, academic pundits have concluded that Professional Learning Communities should manifest several characteristics. These include a high level of trust, shared values and commitments, continuous inquiry, cohesion, effective interpersonal communication, cross-cultural sensitivity, collaboration, data-based problem solving and planning. Some of the principles to