Instructional Improvement: An educational leader integrates principles of cultural competency and equitable practice and promotes the success of every student by sustaining a positive school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
In creating Instructional Improvement, I believe...
- Teachers need to have a personal and collective understanding of academic and student-as-learner goals (standards) in order to participant in meaningful discussions about student learning and teaching practice.
- Just like students, each teacher is in a different place in their teaching practice. In order to help move them forward, instructional leaders and coaches need to spend time understanding where they are and where they hope to go.
- Teachers do not enter the profession hoping to be mediocre.
- Improvement comes in small increments and needs to be focused more on what each student learns over how the teacher teaches.
- Teachers deserve to be empowered, not controlled.
- Excellent instruction weaves in experiences that build relationships and develop community, while empowering self-discovery and expecting rigor from the beginning.
- Reflective practice is an essential component of instructional improvement. Reflective teachers actively work to enrich their craft by seeking feedback, collaborating with others, gathering and analyzing data, and being a learner alongside their students.
- A focus on making learning and educational experiences relevant and authentic creates multiple pathways to the same goals and avoids setting ceilings on those goals.
Experience Artifacts: Standards-Based Teaching & Learning for ELA and SS
I directly supported the Language Arts and Social Science department chairs for 9 schools: 4 middle, 4 high, and 1 alternative middle/high school. Support was in the form of monthly meetings, co-facilitation of school department meetings when requested, facilitation support during department specific professional development days, and many one-on-one planning and consulting meetings. The following artifacts represent a small part of this work: a meeting agenda with notes, sample learning targets and learning progressions, sample Planned Course Statement drafts.
Experience Artifacts: Secondary Elective Leaders Workshops
The following are the presentation, agenda, and sample tools for the Secondary Courses: From Standards to Effective Instruction project described in further detail on the Effective Management page.
Experience Artifact: Standards-Based Proficiency Grading
I worked with school leaders and teachers to transition to standards-based proficiency grading. This work involved crafting definitions, revising board policy, developing and facilitating professional development, and working with IT on technology support systems. Most of this work can be seen on the Socio-Political Context page. What is below is a handout from a mini-workshop I designed to help teachers understand the options and implications for Standards Analysis. Standards Analysis is how a teacher collectively evaluates all the individual performance assessments a student has demonstrated for a specific standard to determine the mastery level for that standard.
Experience Artifacts: Video PD Collection
Professional development via video was a long-term goal of a professional development website project I developed. I began the video collection process by filming teachers, editing film, teaching others to video and edit, establishing a channel on School Tube for district videos, developing protocols and instructions for uploading videos to School Tube, setting up a temporary portal for video access via a filter/category system within our internal share site, and training school leaders, curriculum specialists, and instructional coaches to use the video systems in place for immediate PD with teachers. The artifacts below are the three tutorial guides I created to begin publishing and accessing raw video.
Experience Artifacts: Coaching for Gifted
As a district Gifted Education Coordinator, I led professional development with teachers on best practices in gifted instruction. This took place in workshop formats, school teams, and one-on-one. In one elementary school I modeled the Jr. Great Book Shared Inquiry process with small groups of blended 3/4 and 5/6 gifted students. Teacher teams met with me prior to the modeling to plan, and we debriefed what they saw and what they could do in their classrooms after they participated in the model lesson. In another school, teachers volunteered to participate in classroom observations from which I crafted, in collaboration with an elementary curriculum specialist, questions and support materials. Teacher teams then met with us to review goals, support materials, and create instructional goals. In most conversations with teachers, perfectionism comes up and I talk about helping kids experience safe and positive failure. Below is a link to a reflective blog I wrote about Intentional FAILure.
Experience Artifacts: Follow-Up Coaching
In working with teachers to improve their practice, I have found that follow-up coaching in the classroom is essential to creating meaningful and lasting change. The button below links to a blog post I wrote about a specific follow-up coaching technique I have used.