Friday, April 8, 2016

From Chaos Comes Clarity

Seeking the "just right" fit
Yesterday the Washington West Leadership Team for Excellence in Education (LTEE) members worked through our action plan to prioritize professional learning needs for all staff in WWSU schools. This was an exciting process, because it is the first time that teachers and administrators have worked together across all seven schools to collaborate with this goal in mind. Creating cohesion between our action plan goals and desired outcomes to plan for professional learning is a challenging task that requires strong communication between staff and the leadership team to get the "just right" fit. 

The first step in the process was to assign sections of the action plan to groups containing representatives from elementary, middle, and high school. The groups then considered what the action plan directly stated or implied in terms of professional development, and to consider what the appropriate audience and setting would be for each item. When groups later reported out over 60 different ideas were presented! We clustered sticky notes together, and did our best to connect the ideas before running out of time for the day. I left with 60 sticky notes representing everyone's best thinking and the charge of pulling it all together into a draft plan for group feedback. 

Sleep can be a powerful creativity-booster, as the mind in an unconscious resting state can make surprising new connections that it perhaps wouldn’t have made in a waking state.
I have learned to rely on the power of the brain, which does some of it's best work while sleeping (check out this blog post)!  I woke up early ready and excited to get back to work, and began tackling the task of going through each sticky note to consolidate our work into a plan of action for next year. Taking the best of what we have recently learned as process for sorting through feedback from our WWSU Community Engagement efforts- I entered all the data into a spreadsheet and began to assign codes. Soon the themes became more evident and the pieces began to fall into place. What we communicated through our work yesterday underscored the significance of teachers' needs in terms of  time, support, and strategies to meet the individual learning needs of each student (Personalized Learning) in a proficiency-based model. Universal Design for Learning is our frame for doing so. Most everything else connects to this theme in some way. 

This note from one groups shows a cycle for how these ideas fit together which I have framed into essential questions below. 

I: What is personalization?
II. How do you design for personalization?
III. How can technology be leveraged as a tool for personalization?
IV. How do you document evidence of learning and provide opportunities for reflection?
V. How do you use data to inform your instructional design and meet the needs of all learners. (back to step II)

I'm excited to bring these ideas back to the team for feedback, and consider how best to share our professional learning design with teachers. 

1 comment:

  1. This was rewarding work. Not surprisingly, the themes all centered around teacher impact; that is professional learning that increases teachers' capacity to design for personalization.