Over the past seven weeks I have had the opportunity to speak to campus and district leaders about their work to actualize the Vision in their role. The highlights of those conversations are posted here.
I continue to be reassured of the great work happening in our state as a result of the common vision shared amongst the school leadership. One theme apparent in all of these campuses/districts as well as many others is the support for educators in professional learning communities (PLCs). Collectively, these PLCs work to ensure high levels of learning for all students.
This work of professional learning communities connects naturally to the Vision:
We envision schools where all children succeed, feel safe and their curiosity is cultivated. We see schools that foster a sense of belonging and community and that inspire collaboration. We see learning standards that challenge, and intentionally designed experiences that delight students, develop their confidence and competence, and cause every child to value tasks that result in learning. Ultimately, we see schools and related venues that prepare all children for many choices and that give them the tools and attitudes to contribute to our democratic way of life and live successfully in a rapidly changing world.
This Vision is profound and attainable only through the collaborative work of all teachers and administrators. John Hattie has identified the greatest impact on student achievement is Collective Teacher Efficacy. This means, in short, the teachers believe that by working together they can do the right work to positively impact student learning. This act of working together is systematized within professional learning communities.
Before a team of educators can begin to make a great impact on learning, they must establish collective commitments, or agreements about how they must behave in order to achieve the purpose of the team and the shared vision for the district or school. Using some type of brainstorming and process to achieve consensus, the establishment of the team collective commitments is a valuable investment of time for the teachers.
Then, in order to focus on results, teams must set goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented, and time bound (SMART). There are slight variations on the SMART acronym in literature, but the purpose is more important here: the goal is intentional and focused on learning.
In the coming weeks, I will share more tools to support the work of teachers as members of professional learning communities and the potential outcome: high levels of learning for all students.
More information about supporting professional learning communities can be found here:
- Learning by Doing: A handbook for professional learning communities at work by DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, Mattos
- What is a Professional Learning Community? by DuFour