Principals, other school admin, teachers, educators, and other learners…STOP! and READ! Bill Ferriter’s The Tempered Radical blog post “What I’d Hold YOU Accountable For.” From the perspective of this principal teacher, Bill’s tweet and post are right on the money…they certainly do NOT rub me the wrong way. May I strive to live and lead by his recommendations!
Are we creating the conditions necessary for innovation in schools? Are we leading learning innovation?
In an effort to complement Bill’s post, I offer these supports, suggestions, and examples:
- Tear down the walls that exist between teachers and rebuild an infrastructure that provides for a powerful community of learners. The PLC infrastructure is well-researched, well-documented, and well-utilized (in many places). At the Junior High at Westminster, we have adopted and adapted an aggressive model – replace a class in the rotating schedule with an opportunity for regular, job-embedded PLC work. Our teams meet four days per week, for 55-minutes each day…just like our student learners meet for math, English, science, etc. Additionally, we use a co-facilitator, teacher-leader model, and we rely on a PLC structure to support the facilitators of the various teams. As a facilitator PLC, we meet one day per week for face-to-face time.
- An example of teacher teams working together…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTw0DF9urCM
- A link to our PLC-facilitator blog (just emerging…we were using MOODLE for two years)…http://plcfacilitators.wordpress.com/
- Tear down the walls that exist between teachers and leverage social media to provide an “anywhere, anytime” PLC/PLN. For the past month, a growing team of teachers at Westminster has been engaged in the “20 minute experiment” on Twitter. Take a look…
- Tear down the walls that exist between teachers and implement a faculty assessment plan that holds growth and development more dear than evaluation. Let’s conduct “physicals” rather than “autopsies.” We are several years into this process at Westminster.
- Tear down the walls that exist between teachers and promote innovation, creative thinking, and project-based learning. Find ways to highlight the experiments, innovations, prototypes, and trials of an amazing faculty of lifelong learners.
- [Romeo and Juliet collaboration – Dobbs and Woods] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP6c-cOPado
- [A taste of life in the Junior High] http://animoto.com/play/C1w7rRoputPvOXnLPNtm7w
- [Marshmallow Challenge Experiment from Math-Science] http://animoto.com/play/eN27FlA3cM2mRHEdyojPlw
- [Energy Fair] http://animoto.com/play/WRWaCx1OodpUpVnbqDnFJQ
- [A taste of Synergy 8…pilot class] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFPYo_TEAHE
- [SpinPost project in Science 7] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUq_anjB3c4
- [Encouraging project experiments with faculty] https://itsaboutlearning.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/quick-assessment-results-from-build-something-together-project-faculty-meeting/
And, in conlusion for this post, to put the proverbial cherry on top, be sure to watch this Jay McTighe video…
It’s about learning…and learning is all about prototyping, which is just a pretty euphemism for trying, practicing, failing, and trying again.
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I like it, Bo. You know I’m a PLC guy, that’s for sure.
Reminds me of what Seth Godin was talking about this morning:
Essentially, he argues that success depends on letting your key players focus on their most important tasks—-doing everything you can to strip away distractions. Serving as a shield between their efforts and outside intrusions.
Sounds like the description of a good principal to me.
The hitch is this: What are the chances that principals can really “protect the work” of their teachers? Aren’t your hands professionally tied by requirements imposed from beyond the school?
Can we really expect principals to stand up to outside intrusions when those intrusions are pushed on them by their evaluators?
(Can you tell I’m in a doubtful mood this morning?)