Weekly Newsletter, January 2018-Volume 9

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Sometimes the best way to learn about a topic is to address the misconceptions. That is exactly what we are going to do over the next three weekly updates. Greg Kushnir, principal and national PLC presenter, addressed the three main misconceptions of collaboration in a blog posted to AllThingsPLC. We will post one misconception each week. When the final misconception is posted, we will also provide the link to the full blog post for you to reference. I’m sure you can identify in some way or another with examples he provides in each of the misconceptions.

The 3 Misconceptions of Collaboration by Greg Kushnir

Every year Solution Tree hosts PLC Institutes attended by thousands of educators from all over the world and these events are often transformational experiences for the educators who attend. I speak from experience as I had my educational epiphany the first time I saw Dr. Rick DuFour speak about the PLC process 16 years ago.

The enthusiasm in the room is contagious as educators learn about how to build a collaborative culture focused on ensuring high levels of learning for all students. At the end of the events, educators return home, armed with new knowledge to pass on to their colleagues and a renewed sense of hope in the art of the possible. A guiding coalition is formed, teachers are placed in collaborative teams, and the work begins.

What could go wrong? Unfortunately, what often plays out is that the renewed enthusiasm is quickly eroded because educators charged with implementing the PLC process succumb to the misconceptions of collaboration.

Misconception #1: All Teachers Want To Collaborate

We assume this to be true because it makes logical sense. After all, a team of well-meaning intelligent people will naturally make better decisions and will produce better results than any one individual isolated teacher. Therefore, all teachers will want to be a part of a collaborative team. Unfortunately, human beings aren't quite so logical. What we often find is that teachers don't want to collaborate, they want to be right. As a result, meetings often dissolve into the loudest voice or most dominant personality wins.

Years ago, I experienced this very thing when attempting to build a PLC culture in the second school I would principal. I was asked by one of my teams to chair a collaborative team meeting. They had expressed to me that they were having some difficulty making progress. I quickly agreed and set out to chair the best meeting ever. How hard could it be? I thought to myself. No sooner had the meeting started and I realized how naive I had been and how greatly I'd underestimated the scale of dysfunction.

The team was comprised of two experienced teachers with dominant personalities and three teachers who were relatively new to the profession. Shortly after the meeting began I discovered why I was asked to chair. Unfolding in front of me, the two dominant personalities were disagreeing with each other while the other three watched the clock waiting for this nightmare to end.

Chairing this meeting was like playing whack-a-mole at the fair as I spent the whole time trying to regulate the disagreement between my two experienced teachers while the newbies sat in silence and observed the chaos. The entire experience was unbelievably frustrating and I left the meeting a little deflated wondering what I was going to do to rectify this situation.

I knew that I must have missed something when I organized the teams, so I went back and reread the chapter in Learning By Doing called “Building a Collaborative Culture of a Professional Learning Community.”

There I discovered my answer: I had failed to have my teams create team norms. Norms are the commitments teachers make to each other regarding how they will conduct their meetings. This was a step I had skipped because my previous school was quite small, with only eight teachers, and they all got along. Somehow, we managed to build a successful learning community without making collective behavioral commitments.

However, it was clear that I was not going to be so lucky in a school with 13 different teams. Interestingly enough, after this team created and adhered to their team norms they became the highest achieving team in the school. The two teachers still didn’t like each other, but the norms helped them focus on the work of the team instead of their own agendas.

Looking for a quick, tasty meal to warm you up on a school night?

January 12, 2018 Professional Development

We are grateful for the time and effort that was put forth to ensure another great professional learning opportunity was provided for the K-5 teachers. We had a number of teachers that stepped forward and provided meaningful learning opportunities for their colleagues. A special thanks goes out to Jaraun Dennis and Alicia Johnson for their contribution to the coordination and organization of the day. Our gratitude goes out to the staff at North Elementary for allowing us to use their classrooms to accommodate the professional learning. Our appreciation goes out to the following for their presentations:

Identifying Signs of Dyslexia Brett Eggett, Dustan Blair, Dr. Denise DeBarre

Razzing Up RAZ Kids Marrie Mack

Gizmofy Me! Wendy Daniels

Get On Track! Celeste Hatch

WY-TOPP FRom Testing to

Instructional Decision Making Dr. John Springer

ELL in The Regular Classroom David Day, Nate Hartsock, Tyler Willis

Interventions Tami Bebee-Schwartz

Why Small Groups? Tara Wright

Google Again??? Jaraun Dennis

Classroom Management/Use of

Learning Time Jaye Synan

Attendance Wendy Tucker

Literacy Core Knowledge Training Becky Symes, Karen Price

Marzano’s Engagement Strategies Becky Symes, Karen Price, Wendy Daniels

A Google form was provided to receive feedback from the teachers that attended. The immediate feedback from 87% of those that attended was positive. 92% indicated that they liked the structure of the PD and 89% responded that they liked having a number of relevant professional learning sessions from which to choose. Thanks again for those that attended and presented on Friday.

-Dr. Joseph Ingalls


January 16th-Michael Crichton

January 17th-Janice Davis & Nicole Simmons

January 18th-Sheila Pedroza, Janice Brown & Rebecca VanDreew

January 20th-Tyler Ruby & Michelle Rex

January 22nd-Teresa Hoffman, Roberta Shaw & Nicole Ungerman


UCSD#1 Administration

Ryan Thomas, Superintendent Ext.1020

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