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Illuminate Whiteboard Series: 4 Steps to Makeover Your PLCs

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October 25th, 2017

Presented by Kate Pechacek – Transcription below


Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Illuminate Whiteboard series. I’m Kate Pechacek. I’m an Implementation Manager for Illuminate. And we, today, are going to talk about the PLC Recipe. So, PLCs have been around for a long time, and they’re sort of a common recipe that’s developed over time. Common set of ingredients that go into a beautiful PLC.

What Goes Into the Recipe?

So typically what we would say…and I say this a little tongue-in-cheek…ingredient number one would be, like, a standards-aligned, valid, reliable assessment that has questions that are proportionate in rigor to your state assessment, and you have common student misconceptions tied to distractors, and you…I’m going on and on with this list for a reason, because this is what we tell teachers you need to have for that common assessment.

Ingredient 1
And then ingredient number two is time and space to meet and talk with other teachers. You need actionable data. And you then, from there…if everything goes perfectly…you now have all students learning at the highest levels and everybody’s college and career ready. Beautiful, perfect, except for almost every ingredient in there is not necessarily aligned to reality in a school district. So we’re going to sort of make over that recipe. I propose for ingredient number one, don’t let perfect be the enemy of progress. Come up with a standard assessment…so standards aligned in common that you’re all going to give. Let the rest go for a while. It’s better that you get data than you spend all your time trying to create an instrument to get it.

Ingredient 2
Number two, typically we would say is…if you look up here, we would say actionable data. Actionable data? What is that? How do you know if data’s actionable? Rather than leave it to chance that people take action with data…and by the way, 80% of your time should be spent taking action and coming up with action. Twenty percent really should be spent looking at the data and analyzing. So actionable data, I would propose, is data that comes with action-driving questions that you list with the data. So if your purpose is to differentiate, then an action-driving question might be, “What are you going to do differently for students falling in your proficient or non-proficient range?” So data that you get with questions that help drive the action you’re hoping to take within a PLC.

Ingredient 3
Ingredient number three. Time and space to sit and talk to other teachers. Rather than time and space to sit and talk, let’s talk about time and space to come up with a plan. So this goes back, again, to the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your time should be coming up with a targeted action plan you’re gonna put into place. Twenty percent is spent on that analyzing phase. Many times we have it flip-flopped, or you spend your time in a PLC really analyzing and you never get to the action.

Ingredient 4
And then ingredient number four. We want teachers not to leave thinking they’re changing the world and every student will be college and career ready the second they leave that PLC and we’ve come up with a plan for that. It’s just not realistic. But a realistic plan is that teachers leave because they have a common assessment that’s standards-aligned and because they have action-driving questions to go with their data. And because they have time and space to work on the plan, they will leave with a plan to make a next right step.

In Conclusion
So at its roots, PLCs really become the core of improving tier one instruction if you remake the recipe into something that’s not only more realistic but something that really is about taking action to improve student learning. And thank you so much for joining us today.


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