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With a few colleagues, we’ve started reading Leverage Leadership. Here’s a little about the book:

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Managing Director of Uncommon Schools) shows leaders how they can raise their schools to greatness by following a core set of principles. These seven principles, or “levers,” allow for consistent, transformational, and replicable growth. With intentional focus on these areas, leaders will leverage much more learning from the same amount of time investment. Fundamentally, each of these seven levers answers the core questions of school leadership: What should an effective leader do, and how and when should they do it.

I like the fact that it starts out with formulas and recipes for success. You know, “Do this and you’ll get these results.” Who wouldn’t like to be told what to do, and then what results to search for? I hope you’ll join me as I take notes on this book. And, I’m also adding questions that occur to me at the end.

Some questions are embedded in brackets [miguel’s questions].

My Notes

Chapter 2 – Observation and Feedback

  1. You get highly effective teachers by coaching each and every teacher to do excellent work.
  2. By receiving weekly observations and feedback, a teacher develops as much in one year as most teachers do in twenty. [Is there research to support this assertion?]
  3. Observation and feedback are only fully effective when leaders systematically track which teachers have been observed, what feedback they have received, and whether that feedback has improved their practice.
  4. The primary purpose of observation is to find the most effective ways to coach teachers to improve student learning.
  5. Core commitment for observations:
    1. weekly 15-minute observations of each teacher and
    2. weekly 15-minute feedback meetings for every teacher in the building.
  6. Model of observation and feedback:
    1. Scheduled observations – frequent and regular
      1. multiple, shorter observations, 15 mins long, back to back for an hour
      2. locked in feedback meetings scheduled from beginning of year
      3. feedback meeting combined with other meetings 4 times a year for whole meeting data analysis
    2. Key action steps – identify 1-2  most important areas of growth
    3. Effective Feedback – give direct face to face feedback that practices specific action steps for improvement.
    4. Distributed observation load among all leaders
  7. Breakdown of data analysis meeting:
    1. 10 minutes – observation feedback
    2. 20 minutes – planning
  8. Focus on a narrow, specific action step to increase student learning.
  9. Observation Supplies:
    1. Laptop or pen & notepad
    2. Access to the teacher’s lesson plans for the day
  10. With a weekly observation model, the observer and teacher focus on the specific action step rather than a laundry list of improvements.
  11. “We learn best when we can focus on one piece of feedback at a time. Giving less feedback, more often, maximizes teacher development.”
  12. How to ensure shorter visits are effective?
    1. Is the action step directly connected to student learning?
    2. Does the action address a root cause affecting student learning?
    3. Is the action step high-leverage?
  13. “Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. See the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens. And when it happens, it lasts.” –Coach John Wooden
  14. Top 10 Areas for Action Steps
    1. Develop routines and procedures
    2. Narrate the positive
    3. Challenge and build momentum
    4. Increase teacher radar and implement least-invasive immediate intervention
    5. Use a strong voice
      1. Develop pacing
      2. Employ quiet power
      3. Do not talk over
    6. Develop pacing
    7. Rigor
      1. Establish the right objective that is data driven, curriculum plan driven, able to be accomplished in one lesson
      2. Check for understanding
      3. Increase the think ratio
      4. Encourage effective independent practice
  15. “I try to make sure that every change is a ’10-second’ change: that you can walk into a classroom at the right time and know, in 10 seconds, whether it has been put into place.”
  16. Action steps need to be bite-sized…effective feedback makes big shifts in teacher practice by focusing on small changes in quick succession.
  17. Six steps to effective feedback:
    1. Provide precise praise. Most effective praise is linked to teacher’s previous action step.
    2. Probe. People are much more likely to embrace conclusions they’ve reached than directives they’ve received. Focus on questions, transitions, pacing, purpose and essential reasons (why)
    3. Identify problem and concrete action step.
    4. Practice.
    5. Plan ahead.
    6. Set timeline.
  18. Errors to avoid:
    1. More is better vs Less is more.
    2. Lengthy written evaluations vs Face to Face makes the difference.
    3. Just tell them; they’ll get it vs They do the thinking so they can internalize it.
    4. State concrete action step and wait for teacher to act vs Guided practice makes perfect.
    5. Teachers can implement feedback at any time vs Setup a concrete timeline with clear expectations
  19. Great teaching is learned by doing things well…supervised practice is the fastest way to make sure all teachers are doing the right things.
  20. Yellow Flag Strategies – Early Warnings
    1. Provide simpler instructions and techniques.
    2. Give face-to-face feedback more often.
    3. Plan immediate post-feedback observation.
    4. Arrange for peer observation.
    5. Choose interruptions with care.
  21. Red Flag Strategies – Intense Interventions that shouldn’t be used when others have failed
    1. Model entire lessons
    2. Take over
  22. Observation Tracker helps you track:
    1. How often you observe
    2. Patterns of your feedback
    3. Teachers you’re avoiding
    4. Precision of feedback
  23. Two key points about observation:
    1. Explain purpose is about coaching and improvement
    2. Frame progress in a positive way

  1. If we’re systematically tracking teachers, does that mean we’re using curriculum mapping software? Where will we house all this data?
  2. What is our curriculum plan?
  3. How do current coaching professional development efforts align with the “coaching” suggested in this book?
  4. How will our curriculum plan, sequence, map reflect answers to specific end-goal assessments like (Read source):
    1. What is happening in current public education that can prepare a child to contribute to a Disney/Pixar film?
    2. Who is going to have the Communication, Collaborative, Creative, and Critical Thinking skills required to integrateglobal trends into their work in a manner that will offer something fresh and improve the world in some way?
    3. A larger percentage of people are working from handheld devices instead of sitting in cubicles. What kinds of people can handle the responsibility of working without direct oversight? Who can be held responsible for generating knowledge-work from a distance that has the quality to compete on a global market?
    4. Can our students leave high school and become digital technology engineers? Choreograph an award show opening number? Program a new iPad app? Coordinate a wedding and reception?

Feedback from Twitter:

  1. <div class="tweet original-tweet js-stream-tweet js-actionable-tweet js-profile-popup-actionable js-original-tweet " data-expanded-footer="

    ” data-feedback-key=”stream_status_473453073365344257″ data-has-parent-tweet=”true” data-is-reply-to=”true” data-item-id=”473453073365344257″ data-mentions=”mguhlin AngelaSmyers” data-name=”Stephanie Lee” data-screen-name=”astephaniealee” data-tweet-id=”473453073365344257″ data-user-id=”404980280″ data-you-block=”false” data-you-follow=”false” style=”border-bottom-color: rgb(225, 232, 237); border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-width: 1px; cursor: pointer; min-height: 51px; padding: 9px 12px; position: relative;”>

    The importance of feedback on lesson plans is a critical step that we didn’t focus on this year but will next year!
  • <div class="tweet original-tweet js-stream-tweet js-actionable-tweet js-profile-popup-actionable js-original-tweet " data-expanded-footer="

    ” data-feedback-key=”stream_status_473452785761910784″ data-has-parent-tweet=”true” data-is-reply-to=”true” data-item-id=”473452785761910784″ data-mentions=”mguhlin AngelaSmyers” data-name=”Stephanie Lee” data-screen-name=”astephaniealee” data-tweet-id=”473452785761910784″ data-user-id=”404980280″ data-you-block=”false” data-you-follow=”false” style=”border-bottom-color: rgb(225, 232, 237); border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-width: 1px; cursor: pointer; min-height: 51px; padding: 9px 12px; position: relative;”>

    aligning feedback to campus goals or non-negotiables is critical so teachers are receiving the same type of feedback!