It’s hard to believe that we have only been back to school for about 4-weeks with staff and students. I feel as if we have accomplished a lot as a school community with our collective efforts toward our morning collaboration time. We have a long way to go before we are behaving like a true Professional Learning Community. However, we have several successes that have started to build the foundation of teamwork.
The teachers and PLC teams have continued to use our morning time effectively toward an outcome. This past week we have worked on a team student achievement goal and an individual professional practice goal. Teachers have been very engaging in their teams and have created some great goals. What has impressed me is the teachers’ willingness to solicit feedback on their goals before submitting them. I have exchanged emails and had brief conversations about learning driven goals. The process has forced and allowed me to become more confident in my leadership and direction that I hope to provide. The ultimate product should be improved learning opportunities for ALL of our students.
We were lucky to have our Superintendent come by and visit a PLC team meeting on Tuesday. I had the opportunity to follow up with him after and he was excited about the conversations and enthusiasm that he witnessed. He was very complementary towards the hard work that the teachers have been doing. I followed up with one of the members of the team later in the day and asked if the message (comments) that were relayed from our Superintendent during their meeting matched some of the comments that I had been trying to convey since the start of the year. Fortunately, the response was yes. This is a positive thing to witness because we have struggled in the past at relaying a consistent message on why we do things. This is only one small instance but it is a starting point.
With our new focus to the professional development of PLCs and our morning collaborative time it is essential to be able to plan effectively and keep the big picture in focus. This is a challenge for us as a leadership team. We will need to work harder and smarter to not just meet about our collaborative practice but also to behave using our ground rules (norms) to share practice and lead effectively.
A couple of random things I read recently made me think and ultimately want to reflect.
I read a post on twitter via @johnwink90 and Connected Principals http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/6335 that referenced Grant Wiggins comments on feedback. He stated that helpful feedback is goal-referenced; tangible and transparent; actionable; user-friendly (specific & personalized); timely; ongoing; and consistent. What is powerful about the culture that we hope to create with our collaborative practice is that the cycle of continuous improvement, walkthroughs, and our school and district improvement plans are beginning to connect for all of us in our school community. We just need to continue to make the effort to clarify things and provide ongoing support to each other. With successful SMART goals the feedback that we as leaders can provide has the opportunity to fit most of these categories above. We will need to work together to deliver consistency.
I read another post via @leadershipfreak Dan Rockwell http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/16-things-successful-leaders-never-do/ that referenced the 16 Things Successful Leaders Never Do. #10 resonated with me. Never let others fail before doing everything appropriate to help them succeed. This is an area that I know I can improve in. It is the appropriate part of the statement that makes me think. It is hard work to go that extra mile to put people in position to succeed when you believe that if you do nothing that they will not improve.
I need to continue to communicate.