So, it’s the beginning of another school year and the second year of our school’s Professional Learning Team (PLT) and we are faced with an important question…..
How do we broaden the work of our professional learning community in order to impact a greater part of our faculty?
Why, we plant marigolds, that’s how! 🙂
Maybe I should explain….
Over the summer, I read an inspiring piece written by Jennifer Gonzalez from The Cult of Pedagogy entitled Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers. It’s an awesome article about surrounding yourself with people that encourage you to bloom as a first-year teacher (but it’s actually applicable to anyone, not just newbies). I mentally filed this away as an awesome piece that I wanted to use with my faculty in some way. Then, about a week into school, my new principal mentioned the same article to me and said he thought it would be a fantastic read for us this year in PLT. (Cool, huh? 🙂 Actually, my principal and I are on the same wavelength much of the time and it’s a fabulous thing!)
Now, the floodgates of ideas for our 2nd year of PLT are opened! My Principal suggested that our previous PLT members appoint a new member to fill their spot for the upcoming year. They will then serve as their mentor and (this is the best part) the previous PLT members will team up and lead the sessions for the new PLT (dubbed PLT 2.0) for this year. I just love this framework! Not only do we expand the vision of the original PLT design, but the leadership of it is distributed to teacher leaders that have been developed over the past year.
So what does this look like?
So far, we have had 2 meetings… One with the original PLT and one with the PLT 2.0 (new folks). We will continue to have one meeting per month (half day in the afternoon this time). The original PLT will meet together for the January session and we all might try to meet together for the last session, we haven’t decided.
Session #1 (The Originals)
The main goal for this session was to decide just what was important to pass along to the new PLT over the coming year. It was quite difficult to prioritize all of the things we did because we had such a productive year. I did go back through all of the sessions’ powerpoints and pull out the important things into a “highlight reel”.
Such as our overarching goals last year….
The importance we placed upon building relationships with our students as well as with our colleagues.
Our study of The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn, the underlying text of almost everything we did last year.
Our trek towards a One Page Target……
As we consolidated our vision of teaching and learning at our school, we found that we needed more support in the development of learning targets…..
….as well as more support in questioning and assessment…..
While all of this helped us along the road to our One Page Target, it also helped move us towards a common vision of being a successful school…
Even though we aren’t there yet, we are on the right path to our vision of becoming a truly successful school. We also focused on improving teaching practices within our school with our study of “Do You Know Enough About Me To Teach Me?” by Stephen G. Peters.
We visited classrooms of our peers to “STEAL” ideas (Students, Teachers, Educating and Learning)
But, by far, the most important highlight that came from our work last year was a noticeable shift in the school culture. On the first meeting, we all took a culture survey to assess where we thought we were. We repeated this on the last meeting (with absolutely no prompting or instructions whatsoever~ Actually most of them didn’t remember taking it on the first day anyway).
Here are the results
I didn’t uncover the original one on the left until after they had charted their results on the last day. We had quite an interesting conversation about what they thought really contributed to the shift.
We spent a good deal of time on the piece written by Jennifer Gonzalez from The Cult of Pedagogy entitled Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers.
From this piece, we determined that we want the PLT members (both old and new) to be marigolds.
Our exit ticket was making connections