SESSION 4, REFLECTION #4, AND CHAPTER#5-6, LINDSEY
I think that the issue of accountability through test scores can be scary for educators, if you fear losing your job. When leadership approaches accountability from the perspective of, “we’re in this together to grow and get better” then educators can relax and be more accepting of accountability measures.
Which of these questions would guide a growth experience for your school?
How do I conduct individual and group assessments?
Assessment is always a challenge in units where there is a lot of movement. Having a conversation about how we are assessing and what works for us could be really beneficial, but happens too sporadically and informally.
In what ways do we learn and use differentiated teaching strategies?
For the same reason above. We face a lot of challenges with classrooms that often contain all 4 high school grades, varying levels, and need heavy differentiation.
Reflections on Barriers and Breakthroughs:
In what ways might being aware of barrier comments assist you as a learning community member?
Conversations can turn negative fast, but being aware of barrier questions helps to move the conversation along in a more proactive way.
In what ways has including parents and students in the conversation added shared understanding to the learning community?
The shared understanding allows for a truly student-centered approach.
Chapter 5 Reflection and 3 keys:
At the end of the school year now, the teacher burnout is noticeable right away. We have had a rough year for many reasons, and focusing on the stress helps to vent but can really bring down a staff if unchecked. I am eager to try these strategies in our formal and informal meetings, because I love the focus on looking within and also planning action. Instead of dwelling on struggles, we can ban together to try and mitigate them.
- Help the situation by prompting group members to think deeper on motives, increase the proactive energy, rather than avoiding groups that are more negative.
- I liked the focus on educators helping educators. We should not teach in isolation, and I think school could do more to create welcoming, collaborative work environments for educators.
- I will definitely keep the list of “Breakthrough Question” starters. I’ll admit I have been more negative lately, and this list will help me frame my speech and my mind.
Diversity is valued and celebrated on a personal level, but I think more could be done at an academic level. Some educators infuse their curriculum with different cultures, while others take the more traditional route.
Do any of these questions appropriately address the culture of your grade level, department, or school?
Yes, the two that stood out to me were:
1. In what ways do we acknowledge common purpose?
Teachers have long said our 10 year old mission statement is dated and needs to be reworded. From my interactions with fellow teachers across the district, many of us share the same passion and vision about our work with at-risk kids, so I feel the common purpose exists but as Lindsey has said before, a formal vision/purpose/mission statement is extremely important to guide the district operations as a whole.
2. In what ways do I/we insure that curricular choices reflect a value for diversity?
I try to choose a lot of activities where the students need to respond to something from their perspective, bringing in their own experiences and knowledge to make a connection to what we’re doing in History or English. While I do appreciate some classic literature, I incorporate novels that are from diverse backgrounds to either value student culture or expose them to something foreign and new.
Reflections on Vignette #3
Who might be some other stakeholders the learning team might want to engage in this process?
-students, community partners
What might be some guidelines you might use to identify who needs to be at the table?
-set some goals and objective and then identify who influences the process and who would be impacted, and bring them to the table
Reflections on Vignette #4
How might all students benefit from information about various definitions of family?
-Information and talking about it makes it a non-issue and almost normal. Students will learn not only tolerance, but maybe a little understanding and acceptance.
Going Deeper: 3 Keys
- Valuing diversity starts with shared visions.
- But it can’t end there. This reading in combination with reading Epstein ch.4 shows that visions and purpose don’t go far without a plan. Leaders need to establish plans and supports and constant reminders of the vision that drives our work.
- “Schools are a mix of organizational cultures” regarding grade levels. I had never really considered the diversity between generations that exists that could be recognized and explored.