Change is not only occurring in our classrooms.
We have significantly changed the format and content of the monthly Administrative Council meetings. I was disappointed in my organization of the meetings last year. The feedback that I received from participants was that the meetings were not consistently useful. I would argue that they were rarely, if ever, useful.
The new Administrative Council format rotates the monthly meeting across schools and includes several teachers. There are essentially two agenda items – Learning Walks and a Book Chapter. We just finished our second meeting with this new format.
This month’s Administrative Council meeting was hosted by Karen Rickershauser and the Memorial School. We had two teachers join us from Francis Wyman. Karen had us organized into teams. Each team went on a Learning Walk at each grade. Learning Walks are not evaluative. The Walks focus on students, not teachers.
After visiting classrooms, we return and share what we learned from students. As an example, we look at whether students are engaged or compliant in their work. We know from research that there are strategies, like personal choice, that are more effective at producing engagement. In other words, if students can choose a topic, then they tend to be more engaged in that lesson as opposed to just doing what the teacher asks.
The second half of the meeting involves a book that we are reading as a group. Last year’s book was A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. This year we are reading Leading Change, by John Kotter.
The privilege of my job is seeing teaching and learning in all of our schools. It is wonderful to be able to share this privilege with the entire Administrative Council and several teachers. The feedback on the new meeting format has been largely positive. Most folks have shared that the time is more useful than it was last year.