What are you most proud of in the first few weeks of school?

This was a question I was asked on Saturday night. We were a bunch of educators – classroom teachers and tech coaches gathered around the dinner table as we worked to plan an upcoming conference.

What an awesome reflective question.  One of my struggles that I alluded to in my last post was feeling overwhelmed with the busy-ness of the start of school.  What has been missing has been the time to reflect.

Last summer when I met with a dear friend and principal, Penny Gros, she told me about a reflective process at the end of each week and I really wanted to try it, but when the time got short, I dropped the idea. We know how important reflection is, but how often do we cut it out when time is crunched?  I know I do this often!  Take a look at  your calendar for the past week, what did you do that impacted students the most?  What are you most proud of and what do you want to do better next week?  Setting this intention is critical for remaining focused on the main thing!

So here it is… what I’m most proud of.

Last Friday, my team of pyramid tech coaches (9 of us) in cooperation with our pyramid principals, held a day of professional learning for over 800 teachers from 9 schools.  We gathered for a keynote with an amazing professor from George Mason University, a welcome from our region leadership and then broke into department or grade level teams.  Facilitators in that group (educators from our pyramid), led their colleagues in some team building, resource sharing and exploration and edcamp style conversations.

I think there are three main reasons this professional learning worked as well as it did.

  • We listened to feedback from the teachers and planned for what they requested.  Over and over our teachers have provided two specific requests:  We want time with our colleagues to talk about what we’re doing AND we want a way to share resources so we don’t have to start from scratch.
  • We planned a structure with LOTS of time to talk.  Schedules, resources, locations, maps, keynote presentation, contact information was (and continues to be) available to all staff on a Google Site.
  • This was collaboratively planned by principals and tech coaches in our 9 schools, getting feedback to meet the needs of each school’s staff.

As we supported everyone in their groups and in the feedback we’ve collected, both anecdotally and on our follow up survey, it appears to have been more than just my perceived success. We’re hearing great feedback and even being asked when we will do this again!!  I can’t ask for much more success than that!

I’m already taking the feedback and suggestions and my brain is spinning with how to improve our professional learning opportunities in the future!

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