In Revisiting Professional Learning Community’s at Work (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, 2008), the authors submit that there are four “pillars” around which a PLC is built: mission, vision, values and goals. These pillars contain essential questions, addressed when GCE Chicago High School students and faculty use 21st century ingenuity to demonstrate a PLC that works. While GCE pursues global citizenship through the educational experiences it designs for its students, team members, and the world, GCE Voices (GCE’s blog) reveals an ever-expanding mélange of digital imprints that bridge the divide between writing and living the school’s mission. And while GCE peers, teachers, mentors and professionals conjure a global, choral-response to the mission—to the question, ‘Why do we exist?’—a broader context in which to achieve a shared purpose is established.
If GCE’s mission explains why the school exists, then DuFour, DuFour & Eaker (henceforth, DDE) confide that its vision should answer the question, ‘What do we hope to become?’ GCE promises to be a rigorous education platform for aspiring global innovators to explore their sense of purpose and social responsibility in a creative and engaging, college preparatory environment (-GCE website). GCE Voices persists then as a proactive, online experience that motivates a community of learners, establishes direction, and inspires an emerging standard of excellence. GCE Counselor and Coach, Claudia Hinton therefore regards a blog as successful when it promotes “well-organized ideas that encourage connected, affected citizenship, and foster deliberate acts of kindness.”
Ms. Hinton’s perspective is particularly useful because she knows that everyone can contribute something of value to society, and she knows that it is infinitely more important for organizations to show what they do, versus what they believe. GCE Curriculum Chair, Keziah De Fusco agrees. In response to the DDE question, ‘What commitments must we make to create the school that will improve our ability to fulfill our purpose?’ Ms. De Fusco writes, “Consider that the recent flurry of exceptional GCE video blogs supporting national peace movements resulted from a visit to the Venezuelan consulate downtown. When students levied pointed questions to the consulate representatives about the Venezuelan government’s stance on human rights, education, environment, and more, the resultant discourse added depth to students’ learning, and inspired them to use their blogs as vehicles for converting knowing into doing.”
Finally, DDE ask, ‘What goals will we use to monitor our progress?’ Or, how will GCE know if its blogging community has devised what James Champy refers to as an appropriate rhetoric of accountancy? GCE’s Global Connections Coordinator, Carlos Leite responds, “In just our first year, GCE students have already achieved a confident perspective, and their notion of composition—even visual composition is much improved. The blogs are milestones unto themselves, like snapshots in time, but also a part of GCE’s larger art. We have created the subtext, and soon we will dare to stimulate feedback that creates a beautiful web of commenting and group engagement.”