Sunday, February 13, 2011

What do we do next?

Our school just completed our mid year review in the form of a "gallery walk". Each team reflected on their progress with their students both in terms of student achievement but also in use of instructional strategies (a big focus for us is assessment for learning) and then created a display for all of the other teachers to take a look at and give feedback.

We have a professional learning day in a week so this year we decided that we did not want the mid year review to seem like an isolated event but instead wanted to build on this major information sharing on February 21st. At the gallery, we asked for each teacher to do some reflecting and provide some idea of an area or areas we could focus on for our conversations. After reviewing this reflective data over the past few days, it is a hard call. We know in our journey as a school that we need to be more consistent in our language and instructional practice. Should we use the day to build on what we are already working on this year? Should we introduce something new? Should we do a little of both?

I always find analyzing this kind of feedback from every staff member to be a fascinating process. We often share it all right back to the staff so they can see where everyone is coming from. Sometimes though, when receiving all of these ideas and feedback, it is hard to stay focused. I don't want to seem to slow moving as a leader, and ignore the call for faster change, but I also don't want to go to fast, and pretend that everything has changed when it hasn't.

So, what will we do. We probably will try to do some sharing and consistency development around our initiatives for this year, but also try to spend some time honoring where we want to go in the future.

I find myself thinking all of the time about the next step. I find these reflective moments are more challenging yet more fruitful when I ask the entire staff to weigh in on the decision as well.

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