Final Thoughts

Professional learning communities are a balance between organizational structure and productive, substantive use of that organization and time. The principal’s role is a critical one, orchestrating a delicate balance between support and pressure, encouraging teachers to take on new roles while they themselves let go of old paradigms regarding the role of school administrator.

As educators are continually striving to provide appropriate learning environments for children, so too must we be cognizant of providing similar environments for our teachers. In this paper, we have shared SEDL’s learning regarding the need for communities of continuous inquiry and improvement, as well as the structures and conditions that are required to nurture the development of professional learning communities in schools. It is hoped that these findings will be pushed forward in the field, identifying more strategies for school staffs to use in advancing toward development of communities of continuous inquiry and improvement, and improving student learning in their schools.


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Written by Melanie S. Morrissey, Program Associate and Coordinator with SEDL's Small Learning Communities (SLC). The SLC program's primary objective is to support large high schools that have been granted federal funds for the development of smaller learning communities on their campuses. Ms. Morrissey is responsible for managing the planning and implementation of program activities provided for and with the SLC grantees in the southwestern region.

This publication was produced in whole or in part with funds from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, under contract #RJ96006801. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. Government or any other source.

Published in Professional Learning Communities: An Ongoing Exploration