Thursday, January 22, 2015

Change is difficult. Not changing is fatal.

How does your school adapt to change? What structures does it have in place to encourage staff to try out new ideas and approaches?

This year I am happy to say that my school district is taking a proactive approach to the school year. instead of the customary " We have arranged some workshops and institute days for you. You will love them. Attend them and you will learn so much." That was the first 24 years of my teaching. I would go to these workshops, choose from a set list of presentations. I would sit there, sometimes interested and sometimes not. It was a good day if I took 1 idea or thought away to hopefully use in my classroom. Now in my 25th year of teaching I am happy to say that I see changes happening.

Change can be scary, but it can also be very exciting. With a large turnover of staff at our district level came new administrators and some fresh, current ideas. This new administration decided to base its district goals around the book Embedding Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam. the idea of embedding Formative assessment is now the center of many committees around the district and discussion revolves around how can we integrate it more, how can we learn more about it, how can we help students to see how these types of assessment can help them advance their learning and more! I have really loved just focusing on 1 large goal deeply instead of many goals all at the same time with mixed results. In fact, this is the first year in a long time that our upcoming January Institute Day is going to be put on by teachers and students. Many of us are presenting on some of our areas of expertise, and these are circled back to the D. Wiliam book. I am presenting with 3 other teachers who use portfolios as a way for feedback and student self-reflection. Student groups are also presenting- there are clubs showing off their stuff, students talking about their diverse backgrounds and elective classes highlighting some of their semester projects! So many people involved in making this a worthwhile day!

I see new things happening in our district and I am happy about that. I am excited that teachers, staff and students are now part of the planning process and our expertise is being valued and shared with others in the district. The idea of everyone sharing and taking part In a community is being acted upon and not just talked about. 🌟

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