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

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010
3:30 - 4:30 pm Eastern Time


    Presentation Slides


Our Guest This Week

Photo of

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.

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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.

This Week's Topic

  • 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

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.

Any questions about this webcast, contact us at

Solutions is produced by Clemson University Broadcast Productions in partnership with NDPC/N, with support from Catapult Learning and Penn Foster.

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