Uinta County School District #1
May 2018-Weekly Newsletter, Vol. 23
We would like to thank every employee at Uinta County School District #1 for their hard work and dedication to our students and schools. You will all be receiving a small token of our appreciation at each of your buildings this week.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!
Take a moment to add a note to the board about a colleague that's done something great in our district!
PLC AT WORK
TIME FOR A NEW DIRECTION
THREE BIG IDEAS THAT DRIVE THE WORK OF A PLC
Focus On Learning:
The fundamental purpose of the schools is to ensure that all students learn at high levels.
Collaborative Culture and Collective Responsibility:
In order to ensure all students learn at high levels, educators must work collaboratively and take collective responsibility for the success of each student.
Educators in a PLC focus on results-evidence of student learning.
THE MESSAGE OF NCLB AND RTTT TO EDUCATORS WAS NOT SUBLTE: IMPROVE OR ELSE.
In the highest-performing countries, there is a recognition that a school can only be as good as the people within it, and therefore, improvement efforts should be based not on threats but on building the capacity of educators. Furthermore, these countries have consistently turned to the professional learning community process as the key strategy for capacity building (Barber and Mourshed 2009). If states are to pursue this new direction, they will be required to abandon the thinking that led to the failed reforms and embrace a new mindset regarding the most promising strategies to improve their schools.
That mindset must include:
- Rethinking the work of educators in order to provide structures that support teacher collaboration and widely dispersed leadership.
- Establishing clarity of purpose regarding the collaboration.
- Providing ongoing feedback loops that help educators identify and address areas of strengths and weaknesses.
- Creating conditions to allow educators to succeed at what they are being asked to do.
- Sustaining this improvement focus and protecting educators from other initiatives as they work to become skilled in the PLC process.
RETHINKING THE WORK OF EDUCATORS in order to provide structures that support teacher collaboration and widely dispersed leadership.
The fact that American educators work in isolation rather than in collaborative teams has consistently been cited as a primary obstacle to improving student achievement since the 1970s. States must create the expectation that the fundamental structure of
schools will be collaborative teams that take collective responsibility for student learning rather than the isolated classroom teacher. Furthermore, for too long the assumption driving the daily work of educators in the United States is that they are only working when they are providing direct instruction to students. We must recognize that the other tasks of teaching—planning, pacing, assessing, examining evidence of student work, providing feedback to students, reflecting, adjusting instruction—are essential to good
teaching and done best in collaborative teams of educators rather than in isolation. States must loosen their regulations and their fixation with minutes of instruction to not only allow but also require time for educators to collaborate on a regular basis within a team of their peers.
Principals play a key role in transforming a traditional school into a high-performing PLC, but no one person has the expertise, energy, and influence to bring about that transformation. The PLC process creates opportunities for widely dispersed leadership. Influential teachers can serve on the guiding coalition that works with the principal to lead the process. Schools can create the position of team leader for their collaborative teams and provide the training and support to help these individuals lead their colleagues in the process. Opportunities for situational leadership arise when evidence of student learning from common assessments reveals that someone on the team has strengths in teaching a skill or concept that can be shared with the members of their team. States can support the training of principals and teacher leaders and provide incentives for educators to take on greater leadership responsibilities.
ESTABLISHING CLARITY OF PURPOSE regarding collaboration.
Simply providing educators with time to collaborate will do nothing to improve student achievement unless their collaboration focuses on the right work. If team members use collaborative time to commiserate, share war stories, debate personal preferences, or question the purpose of why they are meeting at all, neither teachers nor students will benefit.
Fortunately, as I stress in In Praise, there is no mystery regarding what represents the right work.
- Teams must be designed to ensure members work interdependently to achieve common SMART goals for which each member is mutually accountable.
- Teams must establish and implement guaranteed and viable curriculum, unit by unit, that ensures all students have access to the same knowledge and skills, regardless of the teacher to whom they’ve been assigned. They must establish common pacing for each unit and establish the criteria they will use in judging the quality of student work.
- Teams must embrace an assessment process that includes ongoing checks for student understanding almost minute by minute while teaching and at least one or more common formative assessments created by the team for each unit of instruction.
- Teams must use the evidence of student learning from common formative assessments to identify:
- Students who need additional time and support for learning.
- Students who are highly proficient, who would benefit from an extension of their learning.
- Strengths and weaknesses of individual team members that can be shared with or addressed by the entire team.
- Areas of student learning in which the team was unable to bring students to proficiency, and therefore members require assistance and support in developing new strategies for teaching those skills and concepts.
- The school must have time provided during the regular school day in which students who are struggling are provided with additional time and support for learning in a way that is systematic, diagnostic, directive, and does not remove the student from new direct instruction.
States are well positioned to SUPPORT THE WORK OF COLLABORATIVE TEAMS.
- They can adopt state standards that represent what is truly essential for students to know and be able to do at each grade level rather than providing the traditional curriculum catch-all that covers too much content with too little depth.
- They can make available well-designed assessment items, examples of performance assessments, and sample rubrics for each subject and grade level.
- They can support the technology to help teams get ready access to information about the learning of their students and allow them to extend their collaboration with other educators beyond the walls of their school.
- They can establish a network of electronic teams for singleton teachers to connect with others who teach their subject or grade level.
- They can create video libraries of effective instructional strategies for key concepts for different grade levels and courses.
- They can encourage schools at all levels to include the professional learning community process to address the quality indicator of teacher engagement under ESSA.
- They can help identify schools and districts that serve as high-performing models of the PLC process.
- But very importantly, states must provide a steady, consistent, coherent, unrelenting message about the nature of the work required of collaborative teams, because clarity regarding the work precedes competence in doing the work.
-2016 Solution Tree Press, Compiled by, Dr. Rick DuFour
Cheri Dunford, Supt., Board Exec. Assistant Ext. 1021
Dr. Joseph Ingalls, Assistant Superintendent K-5 Ext. 1026
Doug Rigby, Assistant Superintendent 6-12 Ext. 1025
Alicia Johnson, Instructional Services Admin. Asst. Ext. 1024
Kristine Hayduk, Human Resources Ext. 1023
Matt Williams, SPED Director Ext. 1040
Shannon Arellanes, SPED Admin. Asst. Ext. 1041
Bubba O'Neill, Activities Director Ext. 1060
Dauna Bruce, Activities Admin. Asst. Ext. 1061
John Williams, Business Director, Ext. 1030
Jaraun Dennis, Facilities Director, Ext. 1075