Professional Learning Communities: An Infrastructure for Dropout Prevention and School Improvement

Webcast Details

Aired on: November 9th, 2010

3:30 - 4:30pm

Presentation Slides

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Our Guest(s) This Week


Ann Neeley

Ann Neeley, Ed.D., is a Program Associate with SEDL's Improving School Performance program. She has presented on numerous topics, including small learning communities, reducing the high school dropout rate, professional learning communities, and increasing the impact of school leadership on student achievement. Dr. Neeley is experienced in coaching schools and their leaders in school improvement that results in turnarounds for student learning. Before joining SEDL in 2001, Dr. Neeley spent more than 30 years in the public school system.


D'Ette Cowan

D'Ette Cowan, Ed.D., has served as a Project Director with SEDL's Improving School Performance program. Dr. Cowan's experience in PLCs over the past 15 years has included conducting and applying research and presenting findings at conferences and in books and journals. She has assisted a group of co-developers representing state departments of education, higher education, and districts in documenting how to help district and school staff operate as a PLC. Prior to joining SEDL in December 1997, Dr. Cowan served as an elementary school principal and a junior high school teacher.

This Week's Topic

Professional learning communities (PLCs) is a term used with some regularity in describing teacher work groups in schools. In the next webcast, we will learn from experts from SEDL in Austin, Texas, what is and is not a professional learning community. Listeners will also be able to determine how schools that operate as PLCs use research and data to address dropout prevention as part of their school improvement efforts. They will also be able to identify leadership actions that support PLCs in focusing on dropout prevention. Finally, listeners will be able to access and use tools, resources, and interventions to build and sustain a PLC that supports dropout prevention.

  • Deepen understanding of what is and what is not a Professional Learning Community (PLC)
  • Determine how PLCs use research and data to address dropout prevention
  • Identify leadership actions that support PLCs in focusing on dropout prevention


Presentation Slidespdf

Cowan, D. ‘E. (2009).  Creating a Community of Professional Learners pdfSEDL Letter, November 2009, 20-25.

Heppen, J. B., & Therriault, S. B. (2008).  Developing Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School DropoutsIssue Brief. National High School Center.

PLC Resource List pdf(2009).

Professional Learning Communities Assessment – Revised pdf(2010).

Tobia, E. (2007).  Professional Teaching and Learning CycleSEDL Letter, April 2007, 11-15.

Shankland, L. (2010).  Reading Warning Signs pdfSEDL Letter, Fall/Winter 2010, 6-7.

Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL)(2010).

Hord, S. M. (2007).  What Is a PLC? pdfSEDL Letter, April 2007, 3-5.