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Using PLCs to Ensure Success for All Students

Dr. Mary Ann Ranells, superintendent of Lakeland Joint School District, is not just a talented administrator, but also burgeoning educational blogger. Recently Ranells has been blogging for AllThingsPLC, a website focused on providing resources and data for educators using the professional learning community model. As a contributor to the site, Ranells is on the front lines of PLC use, sharing her experiences with PLCs in Lakeland and offering tips and support on a national scale.  

Ranells’s involvement with the PLC community began long before blogs even existed. She said, “It began years ago when I first met Dr. Robert Eaker and Dr. Rick DuFour–even before they coined the phrase ‘Professional Learning Community.’”  Ranells became involved in the early stages of PLC development in the 1990s, meeting with Dr. Eaker and Dr. DuFour when they came to Idaho several times to share their model for improving schools. She said, “Through them, I have had the unbelievable opportunity to provide PLC training in several states.” 

Ranells not only trains educators across the country on how to effectively use PLCs in their schools, but has also implemented the model in her own district. “We have used the PLC framework in Lakeland and continue to see success,” Ranells said. “The three big ideas include: Focus on Learning, Culture of Collaboration, and Focus on Results. Its simplicity is its key strength to improving learning for all children.”

The PLC model seem to have an impact on student learning; in fact, Ranells has seen the framework result in significant success in multiple districts. Ranells explained, “I have been in four school districts where we used this model and closed the achievement gap.  In one school we went from 30% of the students being proficient or advanced in Math to 86%. In Lakeland, 94% of our students are proficient or advanced in Reading and 88% in Math.  There is little difference between general ed and subpopulation scores. We love it!”

For more information on the PLC model, visit the AllThingsPLC site, and be sure to check out Dr. Ranells’s posts. 

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