I’ll be talking about the book . Personalized Learning in a PLC at Work, Student Agency through the four critical questions.

The authors of the book are Timothy S. Stuart, Mike Mattos, Sascha Hekmann and Austin Buffum. The importance of this book is that it creates the next step in the journey of education. It’s a revolutionary approach to the RTI (Response to Intervention) process. It builds on the foundation of the PLC (Professional Learning Communities at Work) by focusing on collaboration, learning, and creating a multi-tiered system of support to ensure highly effective levels of learning to all students.

The authors introduced the RTI pyramid upside down. Why? Many traditional RTI approaches highlight Tier 3 on top of the pyramid for special Education/Intensive interventions. The reading behind this is that each school will view each tier as a required step before placing students into special education classes. Unfortunately, this traditional approach will oblige schools to screen and document students for this possible outcome.

  The authors used the upside down RTI pyramid to focus on the individual student approach. The importance of this approach is that the school will highlight the fact that every student is capable of learning at high levels. Taking into consideration that not each student learns the same way and at the same speed, or enter schools with the same prior knowledge. In this way, the school builds additional support tiers and they are approached as digging deeper into students’ individual needs. Every student might not finish every school year mastering the standards, but it’s essential they mastered the learning outcomes. And the teaching for Tier 1 must include instruction, on the skills, knowledge and behavior with respect to the core instruction program that the traditional RTI stresses on.

The targeted individualized approach and learning outcome determines Tier 2. And the goal is providing students with the additional time and support to master the skills, knowledge and behavior of Tier 1. Tier 2 interventions must be timely, targeted and flexible. The classroom teacher will be directly involved and aligning the assessments. As for the students who are placed in Tier 3 the approach will be that they need all 3 Tiers. To reach this level of proficiency, a school-wide collaborative approach should be implemented. This is why PLC is the key to effectively implementing RTI without ignoring the importance of essential disciplinary outcomes that should be mastered by all students.

The book introduced areas to focus on to reach the essential disciplinary outcomes:

  • Voice and choice
  • Depth and Complexity
  • Interdisciplinary connections
  • Real world connections

The goal of this approach is that educators can teach students to challenge themselves to be lifelong learners.

The authors elaborate the idea of co-constructed learning for Transdisciplinary learning outcomes. They explained the transdisciplinary skills and dispositions. They also mentioned the role of the teacher in ensuring mastery for each student. The goal is not driving the learning for the whole class level, instead the learning process is tailored for each student.

The book also focused on collaborative teams’ effort in a co constructed learning environment and the importance of the student agency.

It’s a very rich book with a lot of examples of actual practices at schools.

In my opinion, this book can be used as a guide for schools to be transformational. 


Bahera Abbas, SENIA Associate Director