Structures of PLCs

Use these resources to explore the ideas expressed in  .


  1. - Ground Rules, or Norms, are important for a group that intends to work together on difficult issues, or who will be working together over time. They may be added to, or condensed, as the group progresses. Starting with basic Ground Rules builds trust, clarifies group expectations of one another, and establishes points of “reflection” to see how the group is doing regarding process. Materials: Stickies. Chart Paper. Using a T Chart to delineate norms of structure on one side and norms of conduct on the other helps to clarify who, what, when and how.  Norms are the bedrock of successful PLCs. Attention to these, and continual re-visiting before and after EVERY meeting is essential.
  2. - An engaging tool for “visioning”: what a school can be. This protocol is adaptable to any good driving question (“What our school or district look like as a PLC?”) and creates the groundwork for creatively approaching Vision (what we want to be)  and Mission (how to get there). A modified version for school teams is also available in Step 2 Resources.
  3. - The vision statement, created before the mission statement through the Futures Protocol, communicates an ideal end result, a vision. It reflects values and beliefs, and should inspire and challenge. A vision statement does not describe what a company does, nor does it describe how a company operates. Rather, a vision statement details an ideal end result, a state of being that the company would like to achieve. A vision for the school is an ideal. It is a picture of an ideal state in the future. The vision is the foundation for the mission, goals, plans, and activity of an organization.
  4. - Answering the questions on this checklist will help you make sure your school’s vision statement is in line with principles of effective learning and teaching.
  5. - (Also known as the making meaning protocol) Allows participants to look at the relationships between “life” learning experiences that have profound impacts on learners and the role of teaching and learning.


  1. - Peter Senghe writes about the need for PLC-like structures in business, this short article (from SEDL) is a good read for a new PLC. 
  2. - by Mary Anne Raywid: PLCs are transparent about their challenges. Using an article that frames the question in front of the group as a text-based discussion is often a very effective means of kick-starting a hard conversation. 

Other Tools from Module 2:

  • - Agreeing on common templates to plan and benchmark are foundational activities for successful teams.
  • - Template: what, why, when, where and how.