Course Description:

Are we really better together?  This question provides insight into the focus of Collaborative Culture. In this module, we will examine research by Richard DuFour, a leading educational expert on Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and Dr. Marzano. We will examine the big ideas associated with a culture of collaboration that will support the formation of, implementation, and sustainability of valid and helpful PLCs.

It is important to remember that PLCs need not be an overwhelming program in your school, but instead should be simple methods that are meant to support teachers as they develop lessons, assessments, activities, and interventions (both remedial and enrichment).  Collaborative cultures can be, when implemented with fidelity, high quality professional development. PLCs are for teachers, by teachers.

Prerequisites: None

Course Competency:

  • Understand the big ideas associated with collaborative cultures.
  • Evaluate research and resources associated with collaborative cultures
  • Develop a plan to participate in a collaborative culture (in person or online)
  • Review and practice using established protocols to support collaborative culture.
  • Reflect on their practice and how collaboration can support teaching and learning






Review the following documents and protocols that you can use immediately to provide structure for teacher teams. All protocols were developed by teachers, for teachers and are available through the School Reform Initiative.

As you view the resources linked below, think about these questions:

Ask yourself if you could lead this activity with your peers?
How would you begin? Maintain momentum?
What supports would you need from your school leader(s)? How would you request that support?
If you had to choose 3-4 colleagues to begin the process, which ones would you choose and why?
How do these protocols focus on the big ideas put forth by Richard DuFour?



Choice Board

Choose one of the following assignments to complete and submit as evidence that you have mastered the information and applications found in the course.  Refer to the Choice Board Evaluation Rubric and the Guidelines for Submitting Your Assignment to ensure your evidence contains the necessary elements.

Choice 1: PLC Plan

Develop a plan to begin a PLC at your school. Identify a team and develop a rationale for beginning a PLC. Create a letter or email to your school leader outlining your justification for wanting to start a PLC, the resources you will need, and how you plan to maintain the work throughout the next two years.

Choice 2: Reflective Essay

Write a reflective two-page essay on the process. Include what worked and what didn’t.

Choose to work as a PLC using one of the following protocols.

  • Quality Quest
  • Tuning Protocol

Ask 2-3 colleagues to participate in the protocol. If necessary, share the rationale document with your peers. Work through the protocol in your group.


Choose to observe your peers using one of the following protocols

  • Just my kids observation protocol
  • Peer Observation protocol

Choice 3: Video of PLC in Action

After working with your PLC, create a video 5-10 minutes in length. Interview your PLC peers in a video. Focus on the experience, problems experienced, or future hopes for PLCs in your school. Use one of the following protocols in your work with your PLC and as the focus for your video.

  • Quality Quest
  • Tuning Protocol
  • Just my kids observation protocol
  • Peer Observation protoco

You may use any video creation/editing tool of your choice but below are some recommended tools.


  • Thinking of the challenges that you face during the school year, how might working in PLCs be beneficials?
  • Describe the benefits of implementing and maintaining a culture of collaboration?
  • Exit Ticket – Show what you know!