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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 ask myself questions based on highlighted items for implementation. I may also intersperse comments in square brackets [my thoughts here]
Chapter 4 – Professional Development
- Too often the “best” professional development ends where it begins…in the conference room. [That’s because often, conference PD focuses on the experience of the event rather than long-term effect…I know that’s what I focus on creating–an awesome learning experience that falls short because it leaves the responsibility of implementation in the participants’ hands without any follow-up].
- Great PD can be divided 3 parts:
- What to teach and that flows from the data (what students need)
- How to teach in a way that is engaging to teachers in the skills they need to meet student needs.
- How to make it stick by holding teachers accountable and changes classroom instruction.
- Interim assessments are the most logical place to find areas for curricular and instructional improvement.
- By using interim assessments, classroom observations and culture walkthroughs to find areas for PD, leaders know that they will have picked a relevant area of practice.
- Begin with the end in mind: What will teachers be able to do at the end of this session? [from an edtech perspective, this is like asking, what will the learner be able to create? to know is to know how to make]
- Three components of this question include the following:
- Is it actionable?
- Is it evaluable?
- Is it feasible?
- We should focus on narrowing our objective…this makes effective training more possible.
- Five key components or Living the Learning Cycle:
- Airtight activities ensure participants will independently reach the key ideas. The focus is to guide participants to the right conclusions with minimal facilitation from the presenter. This can include teacher videos and role play.
- Sharing that enables participants to discuss and formulate the conclusions reached in airtight activites [this process really reminds me of problem-based learning].
- Framing where the leader assigns formal language to the audience’s conclusions. Framing involves putting a structure around participants’ sharing so that everyone shares a common language about what was just discussed…succinctly and precisely.
- Application where time is allowed for participants to begin directly putting activities into practice. Give teachers time to practice in the supportive setting of the workshop itself. [this is such an obvious point and well-worth emphasizing. I do this in my edtech workshops].
- Reflection is time set aside for participants when can take notes and gather their thoughts. This is a time to ensure the main objectives and conclusions of the workshop stick in the participants’ minds.
- Common PD Pitfalls:
- Lecture – Sage on Stage. [what about taking advantage of flipped classroom approach to offset this one?]
- Guided Practice (I do, we do, you do) – This is problematic because participants do not have a chance to identify the core skills on their own [yet again, this reminds me of problem-based learning…more choices for the learner=greater engagement and longer retention].
- Accountability – Make It Stick
- If it doesn’t change teacher practice, [then it’s a failure]
- Interim assessment results let you see if improved practices are contributing to improved student learning.
- Planning meetings allow you to support teachers in integrating the skills they learned during the PD into their weekly lesson plans.
- Suggestions for offering quality PD:
- Offer PD stipends to encourage participation [haha]
- Offer voluntary PD sessions that are so effective that many want to attend [hmm]
- [another suggestion that isn’t mentioned but i want to include is, teach online courses]
- Leverage your time better by:
- Make faculty meetings purely about PD and put announcements in memos [why not a wiki?]
- Pick the very highest leverage areas
- Go through only one Living the Learning cycle and have teachers spend 15 mins applying
- Interim assessments…are back to doing interim assessments in schools today? Doesn’t this put an undue burden on teachers and district staff if these assessments are paper-n-pencil-based?
- A lot of what is shared in PD doesn’t change teacher practice. No mention of how to have crucial confrontations is made, although the model of observation (#6) in Chapter 2 does come close.
- Why aren’t online courses offered as an alternative?
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