Blog

Walking the Walk (Even When You Stumble)

thumb

“I swear we just said goodbye to our students in June just last week!” “It’s probably because the polar vortex added extra days to the end of last year, but this summer . . . Read more

There is an 'I' in TEAM

thumb

Like many educational terms, we throw them around and often use them loosely. I find we often use the term “team” in this manner. “We are a great team.” “I . . . Read more

PLC Collaboration: District and School Leaders

thumb

Our district went through an organizational reorg during the 2018-2019 school year. As we morphed into the school year, we wanted to work on improving PLCs. Each level in Jefferson County Schools has a team of district resource teachers to provide support for schools. We have been working with the schools on becoming highly effective PLCs. Our ELA resource teacher created a learning walk tool, PLC Check In, we could use when visiting collaborative teams. My administrative assistant and I looked at the weekly reports to monitor what was taking place during the week. Read more

On What Kind of PLC Journey Are You: Learning...or Doing?

thumb

Becoming a PLC is a journey of transformation. It requires that we nurture and cultivate a collaborative culture anchored around a shared commitment of one thing: learning. However, it is amazing how many times I see folks engaged in what they believe to be the work of a collaborative team in a professional learning community. Yet, through their conversations about their work, they demonstrate the only thing that has really changed is what they call their meeting time. Read more

PLC: The Catalyst for Change at Eastside Elementary

thumb

Change and education go hand in hand. As Principal of Eastside Elementary, I can attest to the positive change from the two years as a PLC pilot school partnering with Solution Tree and Arkansas Department of Education. President Obama stated, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” This quote rings true for my staff, because they have truly embraced the process. If you were to ask an Eastside team member, they would say change has taken place by our work becoming more clear and focused. Read more

Keeping the Ball Rolling: Maintaining Momentum and Urgency in a PLC

thumb

The generation of innovative ideas and practices are often propelled through attendance at professional learning sessions where engaging practitioners and experts share their knowledge. Participants leave energized and excited; ready to get back to their schools to implement the new learning. All too often, without a systematic and consistent approach present within the culture of their schools, much of this enthusiasm diminishes when day-to-day obstacles arise. Read more

What is Your Why?

thumb

Many efforts at school improvement have been stymied despite the best intentions of those involved. Once schools are in the thick of things, and the change efforts schools are engaged in begin to inevitably face challenges and the initial excitement begins to wane, schools will be faced with a decision. Do we continue to push forward, despite the difficulties we are facing, or do we go back to what we have always done and what is, in many ways, easier? Read more

The Evolution of a Virtual Coach

thumb

I was given a Framework for PLC Principals which included seven main topics which I approached as my curriculum therefore I had to be “tight” in that they must be the foundation of my sessions. How I planned each session gave me the autonomy or “looseness” to make it my own. Read more

What Have You Resolved to STOP Doing?

thumb

Every year, we make resolutions for the new year about things we plan to do, and many of us have failed at these resolutions only a few weeks or months into the new year. This year, I’m planning on resolving to STOP DOING things that have become bad habits. If we think about this, most of us know that there are at least a few things we should eliminate from our professional list of ineffective behaviors. Read more

School Is a Home for the Mind

thumb

Ask most teachers and they will tell you they wish they had more strategies/training/resources to challenge their students to think for themselves; to acquire and use a repertoire of strategies that will help them attack a problem or situation for which there is no immediate or obvious answer. The importance of this aspect of student learning has become glaringly obvious with the increased rigor of Common Core standards and the assessments used to measure proficiency in those standards. Read more

"Are we doing anything important today?" My Instructional Shift From Doing to Learning

In my college education classes—roughly a thousand years ago—I was taught to identify and note behavioral goals in my lesson planning, such as "students will read and discuss Ch. 10 of To Kill a Mockingbird," or "students will write a paragraph discussing characterization in The Great Gatsby." And I would write these activity goals on the board to answer students' perennial question: "What are we doing today?" or more annoyingly, "Are we doing anything important today?" Read more

The Moment Everything Changes

thumb

The first of the four critical questions of a Professional Learning Community process is, what is it we want our students to learn? This question underscores the need for teacher teams to identify . . . Read more