A Critical Friends Group community is a particular variety of Professional Learning Community (PLC), and Critical Friends Group® is a registered trademark of the NSRF® organization. CFG® communities consist of 5-12 members who commit to improving their practice through collaborative learning and structured interactions (protocols), and meet at least once a month for about two hours.

Many general PLCs focus on standards, with the goal of students performing well on standardized tests. Educators may come home from conferences and workshops excited about creating PLCs, but quickly realize they weren’t given all the tools to accomplish the goals they espouse.

As it turns out, back in the 1990s before many people had heard of PLCs, the National School Reform Faculty created specific protocols and activities to promote best practices when it comes to teaching, as well as to improve student achievement. NSRF Critical Friends Group Coaches’ Training will teach you how to create an environment of trust, how to give and receive feedback most effectively, and how to use our protocols and activities to help students — and teachers — create a culture of excellence.

CFG work can do a lot for your school:

  • honor and prioritize time for deep reflection,
  • develop critical problem-solving,
  • build trust between colleagues,
  • reduce teacher and administrator isolation,
  • reveal solutions to complex dilemmas,
  • foster equity,
  • change school culture,
  • model and build 21st Century Skills
  • … and much more!

Most of all, CFG communities deeply support you and your colleagues working together to improve everyone’s work and that of your students. Read more about CFG Work.