I have recently had the pleasure of presenting the story of our district’s learning plan with two other wonderful colleagues from Evergreen Catholic. We drove southwest to the majestic Banff National Park to share our journey at ULead, an International Educational Conference for leaders. My co-presenters, a school principal and a high school instructional coach, were captivating as they shared what their schools were doing to move teacher practice. The audience seemed captivated by them as they eloquently and humbly told our story. I am proud of the work these ladies do.
My role in this presentation was simply to tell how the district valued teachers so highly, absolutely certain that they could be the difference makers for our children, that we put supports as close to the instruction as we could. Rather than centralize our strength in district consultants sitting in central offices, we wanted to ensure that professional learning communities were embedded in each school. We ensured teachers had shoulder side support in the form of school base instruction coaches to help facilitate those learning communities. We educated our Administration to ensure that they were lead learners in their schools. Finally we mandated that teachers new to our district receive 4 extra learning opportunities in the form of a Community of Practice to make them understand that career long learning is a must in Evergreen. Nothing particularly ground breaking, simply a way that we could support the schools so they could do the heavy lifting of improving teacher practice.
After I was done, the much more eloquent presenters told real life stories and shared real strategies for moving their staff. I am always impressed with the powerful work they are doing as they recognize that moving teacher practice has immense implications to student success.
Once our presentation was completed, some out of country principals came to chat with us. Our talk had resonated with them, particularly the idea of putting supports closest to where they count, the teacher. It felt good to hear that we were on the right track and i would hope that all schools consider that. Honor the great work teachers do by supporting them in their important work!
Keep on learning!