Saturday, September 29, 2012

Educator Effectiveness Training

Did you ever attend one of those training sessions where you walked out and thought… “Yes!!!!!!!”?  That happened to a group of our teachers last week when attending the DPI state pilot training for educator effectiveness.  At the beginning of the year we put a professional growth model (see previous post) in place that would get us closer to where we thought the state would be headed starting in the 2014-15 school year.  As we went through the training module (which was very well done) we had this sense that we were truly on the right track in terms of growing the ability of teachers through constant coaching and peer mentoring.  We have over 50 staff members taking part in the goal development and student learning outcomes process in our district as a team of 6 put together a process for growing our staff through individualized professional development that has a student outcome component.  I was extremely proud of our group.  As an administrator, the feeling that you get when your team comes back to the table after sharing with districts…smiling and talking about the different places that want to learn about what we are doing is one of the best feelings I have had in leadership.  The fact that this is a teacher driven initiative in our district and they see the parallel between the work they have done and the direction of the state is amazing.  Our staff has been wonderful in the roll out…they developed goals that are both rigorous and impactful to student learning.  I am very excited to see their growth and feel so good that the teachers who put this framework together feel validated and excited about the future of our district.  Great stuff!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Professional Growth Model

Recently our Professional Growth Model has received a great deal of attention.  The Leader Telegram article last week started the process and the WEAU TV spot was another opportunity to discuss what the model could look like in Fall Creek.  Most frameworks that I have seen over the last year concentrate on the product at the end of the process.  If your students score at a high level you must be a great teacher, if your students score at a lower level you must be a bad teacher.  There are not many frameworks that concentrate on the growth.  We asked 6 teachers to come in and have real discussions about what quality teaching looks like and how we can support and quantify that growth.  Our group wanted to flip the merit process.  What if we concentrated on what we can control?  If the key factor in student success is the impact of the teacher then we should spend more time growing teachers.  The process is voluntary and teacher led. The teachers came up with the criteria for the framework.  They set the standards and made themselves available for goal development and review.   The conversations that we have had about quality teaching and challenging themselves professionally were wonderful as we developed the framework and the expectations.  Facilitating a group who wants to move everyone forward was invigorating…absolutely one of the greatest things I have ever been associated with throughout my years in education. 

 Administrators have committed to a coaching model instead of a catching model.  In the coaching model people can feel safe to take risks and grow professionally.  In the catching model administrators are walking through hallways and classrooms reacting to what they see…and only what they see.  If we coach, we can work with someone; if we catch there is only one perspective.  Our framework will allow teachers to set their own goals, work with colleagues to develop Student Learning Outcomes (which will be very important when the Wisconsin DPI’s Educator Effectiveness Framework is rolled out in 2014) and take risks to better their instruction. 

It is truly exciting time in Fall Creek.  A teacher led growth plan that will allow our staff to take risks and prepare themselves for a new statewide evaluation model is going to be a bumpy process.  The reaction from the staff has been outstanding.  I have heard more meaningful conversations with colleagues regarding practice and professional growth than I can ever remember.  I am extremely proud of my group…they work hard and want to continue to grow…and when we can grow the impact on kids is enormous.