Reflecting on a “True PLC”

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In November, I set out to facilitate a virtual PLC that would run across the remainder of the school year. This PLC was comprised of a voluntary group of online instructors from Michigan Virtual School, and we recently gathered for our last session of the year. Below are my reflections on the 8-month experience and implications that have emerged.

Goals for the Year

  • Develop knowledge and skills as disciplined researchers of our own practice
  • Build capacity to collaborate with colleagues as critical friends
  • Have evidence of the impact of instructional experiments on students’ outcomes
  • Earn 24 SCECHs credits for participation

How’d we do? 

Based on feedback from the group, our data, and my own reflections, here’s how I’d assess our actual outcomes:

  • Made progress towards goal – Develop knowledge and skills as disciplined researchers of our own practice
  • Met goal – Build capacity to collaborate with colleagues as critical friends
  • Did not yet meet goal – Have evidence of the impact of instructional experiments on students’ outcomes
  • Made progress towards goal – Earn 24 SCECHs credits for participation

How do I know this is how we did?

Disciplined Researchers – My PLC members all identified an improvement aim they’d like to pursue. They analyzed the whys behind the problem they wanted to solve. They identified change ideas they felt might lead to the improvements they wanted to see. Most of them enacted a change idea, and the group helped them to analyze preliminary data results. Two members ended up diving into an extended research endeavor – one turning into a thesis for a Masters in Mathematics at Harvard (closing the gap between Calculus AB and BC) and the other emerging as informative of a viable PLC focus for 2017-18 (improving student writing in STEM subject areas).

Critical Friends – Every remaining PLC member reported that they valued the collaborative structure of our recurring meetings. Members reported that they felt more connected to their PLC colleagues, more aware of cross-departmental happenings, and more aware of what it can look like to engage in disciplined collaboration in a virtual setting.

Evidence of Student Impact – It became clear over time that having each individual PLC member identify their own improvement aim made it hard to give each improvement effort the time it required to stay disciplined and to be held accountable for showing up to each meeting with new information to inform change efforts. Although one member reported that she is more cognizant of parent and mentor communication as a result of her efforts to pursue her aim, this is not yet producing measurable results in her aim to increase the percentage of students who meet critical course deadlines. A promising indicator towards this goal is that members reported feeling as though the initial data gathered has left them “wanting more” and that it feels like a “great practice run for future collaborations.”

State Continuing Credit Hours (SCECHs) – We started with 9 voluntary PLC members, and we ended up with 5 who will earn the 24 credit hours. Of the 4 who will not, 1 took a new job out of state, 1 earned a promotion and shifted gears, 1 felt overwhelmed by her course load and opted out mid-year, and 1 opted out from the start based on a conflict with the monthly meeting time.

Moving Forward

Our PLC spent the entire last meeting reflecting on the year, and the last prompt I had them work together around was to, “Name the core principles and practices that you believe need to animate the work of a PLC that strives for the objectives we set out to achieve.” This is what they came up with:

  • Focused: Establish & work together towards a single, common improvement aim
  • Collaborative: Space where all voices are heard and for people to connect with one another
  • Structured: Common agenda structure, recurring meetings (possibly more frequently than monthly)
  • Job-Embedded: Relevant to one’s teaching / role
  • Clear Expectations: Regularly expected deliverables, both synchronously and asynchronously

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to engage in this endeavor this year. It came at the start of a new job among new people, doing work in education that is somewhat new to me. I was able to put my passions to work in this PLC, and I feel more connected to new colleagues whom I would not have had the opportunity to work with otherwise. This group voluntarily signed up to do something challenging – another of so many affirmations of the passionate educators that permeate our nation’s schools.

I look forward to the next iteration(s) of this learning experience with a laser-like aim on improving student learning, to prototyping what it might look like to create online structures to support other leaders’ in their facilitation of such a structure, and to sharing our experience with the rest of our organization in ways potentially useful for our broader structures for organizational learning.

Relevant Resources: 

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Why Dewey Needs Freire Needs Merrill: A Response to the Call for Critical Deeper Learning

Why Dewey Needs Freire Needs Merrill: A Response to the Call for Critical Deeper Learning

About 8 months ago, I made a professional shift for the very personal reason of being home more consistently with my young family and on the road less. While I stayed in the field of education, I made what’s often feeling like a leap from one end of the ed world to another: from the deeper learning network to the world of online and blended.

Why do these realms of education feel worlds apart? At times, it’s as if one doesn’t know the other exists or proceeds onward purposefully avoiding the other. Research on online and blended appears to ignore or overlook the blended efforts of deeper learning network members. We seem to be living parallel lives, and I continue to feel disoriented by this.

I mentioned this oddity to my friend and former colleague (who is an active leader among deeper learning partners), and she shared with me Sarah M. Fine’s November 2016 Ed Week Learning Deeply blog post, “Why Dewey Needs Freire, and Vice Versa: A Call for Critical Deeper Learning.”

Fine does what I find to be a beautiful job of juxtaposing two schools of thought about education that could greatly benefit from the influence of and marriage with the other: the deeper learning people (Dewey) and the critical pedagogy people (Freire). I’d like to add a third school of thought into that mix and see what happens. Where do the instructional design people (Merrill) come in, and what can they learn from the others, and vice versa?

Who are these people?

Deeper Learning Critical Pedagogy Instructional Design
As a School Development Coach who trained and supported many teachers and leaders around Project Based Learning (PBL), some of my driving questions for supporting project ideation were:

  • What do you want and need your students to learn?
  • Who cares about that in the real world / in the field, and how do they use it?
  • How might you create an experience that has your students do what those folks in the field do?
  • What might it look like for your students to work together, in partnership with the folks who do that thing in the field, to solve, do, or create something real?
Fine writes, “..when critical pedagogy folks think about teaching and learning, they ask questions such as:

  • Are the histories and perspectives of historically marginalized groups reflected in the curriculum?
  • Are questions about racism, classism, patriarchy, and other “isms” an explicit part of the content with which students are asked to grapple?
  • Are students learning to see, critique, and resist power dynamics that contribute to the continued oppression of themselves and others?”
As a Professional Learning Coach primarily focused on online professional learning now, I work with instructional designers who are guided by the following when developing content:

  • What will learners know and be able to do by the end of this learning experience?
  • How will you activate what learners already know so that it can serve as a foundation for new knowledge?
  • How will you demonstrate new knowledge to learners?
  • How will a learner make sense of and apply this new knowledge?
  • How will this new knowledge be integrated into the learner’s world?

Fine suggests the deeper learning folks could learn from the critical pedagogy folks by expanding the perspective of authentic projects to include critical questions that require unearthing, analyzing, and resisting patterns of oppression and structural inequities. She suggests the critical pedagogy folks could learn from the deeper learning folks by developing more authentic opportunities for students to apply their powerful learning.

What’s still missing here? This is where the instructional designers come in. Instructional designers understand how people learn and can shape the flow of a learning process to honor that. Instructional design principles can help the most visionary deeper learning advocate take an idea and develop the structures and steps to bring it to life for students in ways that elicit high quality products (something that can often take PBL facilitators years to figure out). Designers bring coherence to the “messy middle.” Instructional design can help the critical pedagogy folks bring their goals to life by extending beyond critical thinking to assuming integration of new critical knowledge into one’s world as the norm. Instructional designers understand that nothing can be left unsaid.

What can instructional designers learn from Dewey and Freire? Deeper learning and critical pedagogy can bring life, humanity, greater purpose, and attentiveness to equity to instructional design – these schools of thought can bring new meaning, for designers, to the question, “To what end?”. In the process of “scripting” a learning process aligned to Merrill’s principles, it can be easy to get complacent – to follow the Activation – Demonstration – Application – Integration steps without thinking about a broader, meaningful purpose, about cultural competency or relevance, or about how to scaffold 21st Century Skills such as written and oral communication or collaboration.  This might be my own learning curve in this new role of mine, but instructional design can become a bit of an echo chamber for a designer and as a result, I have a feeling, for the learner…just like we’re tending to do in the education silos Fine so accurately called out in her piece. Instructional design, or the online learning space in general, could benefit from more realness, relevance and authenticity.

I can’t end this post without naming what Fine also names: that the deeper learning world tends to be pretty white. And pretty male. So far in this new job of mine, the same can be said of the online and blended “space.” We can’t presume to understand critical pedagogy unless we actively learn and engage in it ourselves. We should be actively recruiting people of color into these overly white corners of the ed field while building bridges between them. Such active recruitment will require deeper, critical reflection on our own biases in order to engage intentionally in such an effort.

We need to be one another’s thought partners in this field of education. I genuinely believe that from our little, innovative arenas, we all passionately want to improve the system for every single educator and learner out there. I think we can be all three and more, together. Plus, I don’t want the deeper learning people to forget about me…

 

An end note: I have a hunch that there are examples of these 3 schools of thought living together in harmony, and I’d love to see them. Please share! And to my researcher friends, show me where the work is that acknowledges the interwoven nature of the blended and deeper learning spaces. I’m sure it’s out there. 

Plan-Do-Study-Acting

Plan-Do-Study-Acting

This week, the virtual PLC I’m leading will gather for its 6th time since November. We’re in our third round of what one might call “Plan-Do-Study-Acting,” or working our way through improvement cycles animated by the Carnegie Foundation’s improvement science work.

As I prepared for this week’s meeting, I reflected on the challenges my team members have expressed that they’re facing, namely that their change ideas may not (yet) be resulting in the outcomes they predicted. It should go without saying that this can be a frustrating reality and one that might lead one to question the effort in general. So I revisited Anthony Bryk’s, Learning to Improve, which has served as a guide for me in this year-long effort, and pulled a 1-page excerpt for the team to review. Here are some key passages from it:

Especially during the early stages of an improvement effort, it is likely that the predicted outcomes will not occur. The improvement team asks, “Why? What did we not take into account?” Their analytic probing helps them form the next PDSA cycle on the iterative journey toward reliable change.” (p.208)

If the initial hunches turn out to be wrong and the process deficient, the idea will eventually break down, and the predicted outcomes will not repeat. Such failures are valuable grist for improvement efforts. Reflecting on these failures causes improvers to question critically, “What did we miss? Does the change protocol need to be refined further? Do we need to make adaptations to make it work in this new context?” (p.208)

I want this crew to know that their failures (if you want to call them that) are learning opportunities, and in fact, it is this “messy middle” of an improvement process where some of the biggest learning can occur if you open yourself up to it and have the “holding environment,” or as Drago-Severson describes it, “a safe context for growth” to do so.

I am hopeful that the group will leave this meeting, which will involve some personal connections, some reading, a Consultancy protocol, and a broader reflection on our effort, with a newfound sense of possibilities as they look ahead to next steps they can take or pivots they can make to intentionally strive towards their aim for student outcome improvement.

If you’re interested in seeing how I’ve gone about the facilitation of multiple iterations of supporting the progress of PLC members’ improvement efforts, you can see the agenda from last month’s meeting here, and the agenda for this week’s meeting here. Both have been modified for public consumption and to honor the privacy of my wonderful PLC. You should feel free to copy and make them your own, if you find them useful.

The “Messy Middle” of an Improvement Process

It seems simple enough to identify something specific about student learning that you want to improve and then to do the work of improving that thing, right?

It turns out it’s not so simple.

Here’s a scenario: You teach an online course and you’ve got a theory of action: If I can grow the amount of student initiated communication with me, then student outcomes will improve. This seems like a rationale theory you could connect dots between…if only I didn’t have to be the one reaching out and prompting students, and instead they were actively seeking me out for support, then we’d see evidence of students doing better because they are diving in as agents of their own learning. Makes sense to me!

But then you start looking at your data, and students who initiate communication are actually not really doing any better than anyone else in class. What’s going on here, and what the heck do you do next?

It turns out this is the actual story of a colleague I’m working with in a virtual PLC effort this year. In fact, he’s the person who initiated the PLC itself. He deeply desires to grow his knowledge and skill around action research, around improvement. So it makes sense he’s frustrated. This improvement science thing is not a clear path. Identifying a viable improvement aim is tough, and testable change ideas can feel ambiguous or like a crap shoot. But here’s the deal: He identified an aim, and he’s tried out the first of a couple change ideas:

Aim: To increase the frequency of student-initiated communication.

Change Ideas:

  • Increase teacher presence/personality in the course through the announcements and discussion board (Prediction: This will make students more comfortable reaching out to the instructor.)
  • The one he’s implemented: Make the teacher’s contact information more prominently displayed throughout the course. (Prediction: This will remind the students that reaching out to the instructor is a viable & valuable option.)

If he hadn’t done this, he wouldn’t be where he is now, asking himself what he can do next. I think this is a perfect example of the importance of just picking something to work on as a vehicle to deliberately learning how to improve. It’s also a concrete example of the fact that that vehicle is messy.

middle messy magic Brene Brown Irene Latham

So here’s my question for you – a choose your own adventure, if you will: What should my colleague do next?

Path 1: He should consider the various purposes for why a student might initiate communication and examine how the purpose for communication might correlate to impact on overall student outcomes in the course. Parsing purpose out might influence different or clearer strategies for catalyzing the specific types of communication he thinks might be most likely to positively influence a student’s performance.

Path 2: He should go back to the drawing board and look more specifically at what seems to be negatively influencing student outcomes, and he should re-evaluate change ideas that he can test. It’s possible his first crack at an aim is not an aim at all (he’s actually mentioned this himself…).

Path 3: He should give himself more credit and time! Try the other change idea, and see if the combination of the two elicits a measurable impact. Or double down on the first change idea and measure whether changes occur.

Path 4: Something else entirely, and I will comment at the end of this blog to share my wisdom!

A few True PLC posts ago, I expressed that I wasn’t sure whether we should have committed to one improvement aim as a PLC or whether it was just as meaningful to allow each individual PLC member to identify the aim most relevant to them, and for our PLC to serve as a regular holding space to analyze the fruits of each member’s labor. This story above might be an acknowledgement of the inherent challenges that ensue when you can’t give each individual the thought partnership they may need to refine an aim and to enact change ideas that line up with it. If we were to focus on one collective aim, we might have more time to make sense of the complexities my colleague is facing…

Let me know what you think!

 

The Intricacies of Tending to Culture

This morning, I’m struck by the profound nuance inherent in culture – in the building of it, the maintenance of it, the tenuousness of it, and how easy it is for moves to have good cultural intent yet be entirely misaligned from the desired end state.

In my 11 year career, I’ve taught in a public school and a charter school, worked for a national non-profit and for a state-level non-profit. I’ve worked with school teams across the country from their inception through multi-year formation, implementation, improvement, and renewal processes. No two teams are alike. Every team is a unique recipe of personalities, histories, and beliefs, working within a unique set of structures, policies, norms, and rituals – unspoken or explicit.

Some teams have thriving and vibrant cultures, others are wrought with malfunction but desire to be better, while others are so deeply poisonous that the labyrinth of interwoven causes and effects seem a mountainous endeavor to untangle and reweave.

I’ve had the privilege of working on a team with an enviable culture, and here are some animating characteristics of that experience organized by cultural element and its impact on me:

Cultural Element Impact on Me
Team norms that we created together in an intentionally planned way and kept present in our collaboration:

  • Assume good intentions
  • Trust the process and the people
  • Ask for needs, clarity, expansion and welcome responses
  • Be mindful of communication
  • Allow learning to drive our work
  • Engage in healthy conflict and tough conversations
Creating norms and holding ourselves to them as a team was an uncomfortable process that sparked a wide range of emotions for the team members involved. But because we engaged in that difficult work together, I felt more connected to my team members, better understood where they were coming from and what they needed from me, and was able to transfer my experience into how I facilitated the same type of work with school teams.

I also witnessed the risk and courage it takes for someone to leverage a norm to speak up when they might not have otherwise, and this empowered me to be more of a risk-taker myself. Observing how norms influenced team members’ ability to engage, and being considerate of them personally, helped me become a better version of myself and a more aware leader.

Supervisor relationship that was focused on support and reflection over accountability. We met bi-weekly or monthly, and the time was largely a holding space for my own sense-making in relation to my goals, successes, and challenges in alignment with a team-developed set of competencies. My supervisors (I had 3 over the course of working on this team) shaped how I engage as an adult and as a professional. They empowered me to take initiative and ownership, and they encouraged me to develop my own ideas and beliefs. The support provided by my leaders developed and grew me as a person, not just an employee. Their own vulnerability, honesty, and openness – and at the same time, their selflessness – inspired my way of understanding what leadership really is.
When we met in our small teams or as an organization, you could expect the collaborative experience to involve:

  • Connecting personally and socially
  • Reconnecting with our purpose
  • Learning something new
  • Applying our learning to a critical analysis of our work
  • Open moments to be vulnerable with one another, whether to acknowledge colleagues or to explicitly grapple with tensions or “elephants”
I would leave these experiences overwhelmed with gratitude and pride for being a part of such a team, and empowered by the fact that I continued to be pushed cognitively. Judging by my colleagues’ social media presence after moments like this, I was not alone in this sentiment. I felt like I was at the forefront of the conversation in my field. These experiences carried the assumption in the way they were structured and facilitated that I would show up and dig in, and it influenced my drive to be a significant contributor to the team I held dear and respected as thought leaders.
We used and lived language like “model the model” and engage in work with schools with genuine care. This language permeated how I framed my thinking about engaging with those I was positioned to support. When I developed an agenda for work with a school team or my own team, I considered the ways in which we train and support school teams to engage in their work, and I crafted the agenda to model it. When I pulled into the parking lot of a school I found challenging or knew was struggling, I put myself in the mindset of genuine care and genuine curiosity, so that I came from that place throughout the day. These, to me, are powerful examples of the influence of language on culture.
Continual organizational restructuring and alignment to honor growth, create leadership pathways, and capitalize on internal strengths. Over the course of 6 years, I had 3 positions, starting as a coach, moving to a Manager of coaching, and eventually onto a Director position. In 6 years, I had the opportunity to be a part of significant conversations about how to restructure and reorganize our team to accommodate our growth, and we were invited to express interest in and apply for the new leadership positions that emerged as a result of that reorganization. I was regularly asked what I was enjoying most about the work and what aspirations I had, so that as new opportunities, work, or positions emerged, our team knew who would likely be most interested in and fulfilled by it.

It should go without saying that these regular opportunities for professional growth and to engage in significant conversations about the direction of our organization were empowering. My knowledge and skills were expanded and diversified, and I am a more marketable and deeper contributor to my field as a result. The gratitude I feel for this runs deep.

I write this today for a few reasons…

Personally, the further away I get from the team described above, the more fleeting the cultural experience I had feels. This is somewhat heart-wrenching, and I want to continue to find ways to hold onto the experience and to carry it with me.

Because I’ve had this privileged cultural experience, I also believe it is incumbent upon me to carry it into my role on new teams, to exude and model the cultural elements that have had such a profound influence on me. As opportunities emerge to lead teams in the future or to support leaders, I aspire to live up to the leadership I’ve experienced and continually expand my capacity to create the same opportunities for others.

I also write this because I’ve read plenty of articles and books about the attributes of a positive culture, but concrete examples of what causes those attributes are often absent. My hope is that the explicit examples above prove practical for you and are able to help more teams achieve what they genuinely desire.

I’ll leave you with a question:

Is the (cultural) move you’re thinking of making truly aligned to its intent and likely to help you achieve the outcome you desire?

I think if leaders carved the time to critically analyze their efforts through the lens of this question, and acted courageously in response, we’d see more thriving organizations today.

Leading an Annual PD Revolution

Part 1 of this 3-part blog series can currently be found as part of CraftED’s February 2017 PD Revolution campaign, as well as below.

Check it out here: https://craftedcurriculum.com/leading-an-annual-pd-revolution/ 

In my home state of Michigan, educators in public districts can pretty much count on their in-district professional development satisfying the vast majority of what’s required of them for state re-certification. Although this potentially simplifies a teacher’s life, it doesn’t mean districts and schools are building professional development systems that are relevant or meaningful to those they are positioned to grow, nor does it mean those systems are producing better outcomes in teaching and learning. In fact, stories of district provided professional development (DPPD) producing measurably improved outcomes, or getting rave reviews from staff, are still far too rare.

If you are a school leader or an instructional leadership team, here are 5 steps to change that narrative – to become intentional architects of adult learning in your building, honoring what so many educators are calling for: deeper professional learning.

Get collectively (re)clear about what you care about most.

Simon Sinek says it well in his TedTalk “How great leaders inspire action”: People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

What gets you and your staff up every morning and excited to come to work? What is your ideal graduate? Do you have a graduate profile (New Tech Network’s sample)? What is it, truly, that you are striving for as a team? What do you believe? This is something you don’t just talk about once in a mission and visioning session. This is something that should easily roll off the tongue of anyone on your team whenever asked, because it flows through them and inspires every single one of you. Start here, and keep coming back to it. And don’t assume a new staff member will pick it up. Create moments where the team regularly re-owns it, so your “north star” is always informing your efforts.

Collaboratively and courageously make sense of how you’re doing in service of what you care about most.

Collective capacity building in response to where your students need you to grow takes intention, vulnerability, and care. Grounding yourselves in your purpose, take steps to…

Decide WHAT information about teaching and learning (data) is most relevant to your purpose. What’s going to help paint the clearest and most aligned picture of how you’re doing in relation to your ideal? This might be student work samples. It might be standardized test data. It might be student or parent surveys. It might be a combination of these things or maybe it’s data you commit to creating.

Decide WHO will do the collaborative sense-making with that information about teaching and learning. If you’re a large staff (30+), consider smaller team analyses of data first and then synthesize as a collective. If you’re a smaller staff, do that sense-making together.

Decide HOW you will go about making sense of the most relevant data. This step is not to be taken lightly. This is a key place to model the deeper learning principles and practices you’re asking your staff to embody in their classrooms. This is where you can honor John Heron’s assertion that, “The dynamic of the group is grounded in the life of emotion and feeling.” What is the current state of the culture of your staff? What kinds of constraints (this doesn’t have to be perceived as negative) are most likely to help you and your team be the best versions of yourselves, so that you can critically critique the current state of your outcomes? National School Reform Faculty (NSRF) is stacked with protocols to support this. Protocol facilitation takes deliberate practice – don’t give up.

Read Part 2 for a trip from the big picture over to zeroing in on a laser-like, purpose-driven focus for improvement.

Analyzing Improvement Efforts

plan-do-study-act

My online PLC crew is in the thick of testing change ideas in honor of their respective improvement aims. We’ve come a long way! We got grounded together. Each individual got clear about what it is they want to change about student learning in their online course. And they’ve all zeroed in on the change ideas they believe are most likely to get them the outcomes they desire.  This time when we convened, we paused to make sense of our progress towards improvement.

Here’s how it went down…

Meeting Objectives

  • Get reaquainted with your improvement effort
  • Practice data analysis
  • Analyze one another’s first sets of data resulting from initial changes implemented
  • Reflect on insights gleaned from this first cycle of inquiry to decide what you’re going to do next to strive towards your improvement aim

Meeting Flow (the intended flow, anyways!)

  • 10min: Get Connected (All Together)
  • 5min: Telling Your Story – Free write to get reconnected with and to prepare to tell the story of your improvement efforts to-date (On Your Own)
  • 15min: Practicing Analysis – ATLAS Looking at Data Protocol using one PLC member’s first set of data resulting from change idea (All Together)
  • 25min: Small-Group Analysis & Dilemma Grappling – Replicate data analysis protocol in smaller groups (Small Group Break-Outs)
  • 5min: Next Steps & Reflection – In next month, take the next steps you’ve identified to continue striving towards your improvement aim (All Together)

Check out the modified (for public consumption) and more granular version of this agenda here, and you should feel free to make a copy of the document and make it your own.

What Actually Happened

This meeting happened a week after the 1st to 2nd semester transition. Data from improvement efforts since our last meeting was…limited. I was prepared for this possibility, and we simply pivoted. Instead of break-outs to try to analyze everyone’s first sets of data, we dug more deeply into one PLC member’s data. This resulted in a few wins:

  • We were able to more deliberately practice a new protocol together – NSRF’s ATLAS Looking at Data – that will likely animate how we go about making sense of data in meetings to come.
  • The PLC member who had some data to share came out of the analysis experience with what I see as a pretty valuable insight: his improvement aim was actually not yet an aim! It is a likely means to an end, but not an end in and of itself. (His aim was to increase the level of student-initiated communication.) He realized he needs to do 1 of 2 things: Either get clear about what he predicts will happen if student-initiated communication increases OR reconnect with what he really wants to improve about student learning and evaluate whether his current effort is what is most likely to get him there.
  • I believe this approach provided others in the PLC a valuable model of what to expect moving forward. It gave them permission, this time around, to focus on being a good critical friend to their PLC teammate while also helping them to have a mental model of how to prepare to share next time.

Next Steps

Some of the PLC members expressed in their post-meeting reflections that they need to make sure to prepare in advance to put their data together in a shareable way. We also discussed the idea of zeroing in on 1 or 2 people to bring their data for us to analyze as a group, rather than trying to get everyone “the floor” in our precious monthly hour.

In response, I will be reaching out to the group a week before our next meeting to see who’s feeling like it’s a relevant and opportune moment to unpack their data. For those who say they’re ready to share, I’ll offer my support if they’d like help packaging their data for group analysis.

This all has me reflecting on the concept of “rapid testing.” Are we granular enough in our improvement aims to truly consider it improvement science? Should everyone realistically be showing up with data at each meeting? I go back and forth on this. For now, I think there is great potential for this effort to influence the improvement mindsets of the individuals in this group and to potentially influence learning structures for our organization moving forward.

“Deliberately learning our way to better outcomes is, in fact, how organizations improve quality and how interventions scale effectively.”Bryk