POLL: How Does Your District Approach Evaluations?
Every administrator — and every teacher — wants the best possible learning environment for students. There’s been a lot of talk about teacher evaluations as a tool for educator growth, and much written about how far we have yet to go.
Survey Results: Professional Learning & Evaluations
School buses are parked, classrooms are quiet, hallways are empty (unless your school is hosting theater camp) and many of us are recharging with some time at the beach. It’s also the time of year when educators take time to reflect on the past school year, look at the data they’ve collected, set goals and make plans for the coming year. We surveyed school districts around the country to learn what they’re thinking about evaluations and professional learning. Keep reading to learn what’s working for school districts and what they want to aim for in 2016-2017.Continue Reading
5 Essential Questions to Ask Today to Shape Professional Learning for Next Year
We know that Reflection & Generation plays a vital role in ensuring sticky adult learning. We infuse our professional learning experiences with opportunities to think-pair-share, surface assumptions, SWOT and so on. We generate insights, plans and actions as individuals, pairs and teams and across our campuses. Now is a good time to apply these same principles to reflect as central office professional learning leaders and in teams with our coaches, specialists, principals and teacher leaders. Building on the collective wisdom to engage in some informed planning will give us a leg up in the fall. Here are 5 essential questions to get the R&G rolling.
What Does Actionable Feedback Look Like?
Imagine a world without feedback. No, seriously — try to picture an entire workday when no one receives any information about how things are going. Chefs wouldn’t be able to taste their dishes as they cooked. Pilots wouldn’t receive course corrections from air traffic controllers. You wouldn’t want to get a haircut that day. Feedback is important in all spheres of life, including — and perhaps especially — in education. But not all feedback is created equal. What does it look like to provide meaningful, actionable feedback that supports educator growth? It would be nearly impossible to make an exhaustive list of qualities feedback should have, but this is a start. Effective, actionable feedback should:Continue Reading
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Why You Should Revisit Your Teacher Evaluations
Many evaluation processes provide opportunities for evaluators and teachers to meet about observation results. But few go so far as to co-construct evaluations. What are co-constructed evaluations, what do they look like and why are they important?Continue Reading
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5 Ways Video Can Transform Classroom Instruction
Educators often look at a new technology and wonder how it will support ongoing improvement in teaching practice. Will it be cost effective and easy to use? Early attempts to harness video weren’t always successful because videos were hard to share in a useful context.Continue Reading
The Tyranny of Hours: Time-Based Learning Is a Disservice to Students
Back when I was a student, I never understood why our clocks had a second hand. Did anything that happened in school have to be timed precisely down to the second? Maybe my 50-yard dash in Physical Education? Sure, but my teacher had a stop-watch for that. Otherwise, the second hand seemed to exist for only one reason that I could think of… to torture me. The times I became MOST aware of this constant ticking? When I SO did not know what a test question was asking, and it was staring up at me blankly, taunting me — reminding me that I was not ON TIME with what I was supposed to learn. Why is time what we use to measure learning?Continue Reading
Are teachers really apathetic when it comes to professional learning?
The widespread perception — that because workers don’t leap at every chance to engage in professional learning, they must be disengaged — is damaging. It leads to tension between supervisors and employees, it undermines employee trust. And the worst thing about it? It’s simply untrue. This perception persists because we operate with faulty expectations.Continue Reading
Supporting Your Support Staff
In education, much of the focus is on teachers, as it should be — but it’s important to give credit to the classified staff that keep all of our schools running. Custodians keep the school buildings clean and healthy. HVAC employees ensure that children are comfortable and breathing clean air. Cafeteria staff keep students well-fed, so that learning isn’t interrupted by a rumbly tummy. Secretaries serve on the front lines, helping parents and administrators alike.Continue Reading
Holyoke Public Schools: Teacher Engagement in Professional Learning
Sitting along the Connecticut River about two hours west of Boston, Holyoke is one of Massachusetts’s Gateway Cities — one-time centers of industry in the 19th and 20th centuries. Despite beautiful natural surroundings, Holyoke’s education system continues to face challenges common in many once-vibrant cities in the northeast: poverty, high drop-out rates and student mobility, and low test scoresContinue Reading
Professional Learning Isn’t Having an Impact. Or Is It?
Since the release of TNTP’s “Mirage” study a few weeks ago, it’s been interesting to observe the myriad of reactions from the K-12 world and mainstream press. From well-known EdWeek blogger, David B. Cohen, to Learning Forward, the international thought leader in educator professional learning, to U.S. News & World Report, almost everyone who touches educator learning, and many who don’t, seems to have a strong reaction to the findings:Continue Reading