Differentiated Professional Development in a Professional Learning Community was the most highly anticipated book on my summer reading list.  As a curriculum director for a district embracing the professional learning community concept, this book seemed right up my alley.

Author's spin
Linda Bowgren and Kathryn Sever are both retired educators.  They quote a wide range of authors without a clear bias towards any single source.

Worth quoting
On explicit changes to the way staff development is structured,
"Districts must gradually and systematically move from one-shot, one-day, out-of-the-district workshop to job-embedded, teacher-led collaboration in which everyone's learning style can be consciously considered" (4)
Later in the book, this idea is re-visited,
"When planning professional development, districts and schools should evaluate their in-house capacity to address their own needs" (31)
"...the best way to motivate adults is to enhance their reasons for participating in professional development and to make learning as relevant and convenient as we can" (38)
I read this book before attending the PLC Institute.  At the institute, one of the breakout session facilitators challenged the audience to "be the learner today you want your students to be" rather than sitting in the back row passively participating.  This idea of ongoing and continuous improvement came out in the book,
"If the universal focus of mission statements is to support lifelong learning, then all educators must be committed to putting that mission into action in their own lives" (100)
A zinger from p. 109 may spark some serious conversation in the teachers' lounge,
"Sending one or two teachers to attend a conference based strictly on teacher interest will not move a PLC forward"
The authors ended by hammering home the point that staff development time should not mirror a large college lecture hall.
"We recommend that the majority of conference days be devoted to work that furthers the targeted goals of vertical, departmental and grade-level teams...teams facilitated by teacher leaders provide the structure for working on curriculum alignment, analyzing data, and refining common local assessments" (104)
The bottom line
This book was a pretty easy read.  While I believe its intended audience is those in charge of formally leading a building or district's staff development, I can also see the potential for a team of teacher leaders to read it.  In the spirit of the book, teachers should be provided the ownership of their professional learning in the PLC conceptual framework, it only makes sense that they would eventually read this book, too.  I made a note for principals to read chapter 9, "Ten Principles of Principals" because it succinctly summarizes an administrators' role in supporting his/her staff as a part of the professional learning community concept.  

Differentiated PD in a PLC lived up to the expectations I had for it.  I recommend it for any educator who "gets" the PLC concept, but wants to know more about "making it happen" at the local level.