Shelter from the Storm By Lonedell R-14
Who We Are • Lonedell is a Pre-K through 8th Grade School • Located about 45 minutes west of St. Louis in Franklin County • We have 325 students • Rural community with strong community traditions and pride, but a sizeable portion of our families are transient • 30 Certified Staff and 19 Support Staff • 2 Administrators • K-4 has two teachers per grade level • 5/6 and 7/8 each has 1 teacher per discipline • 59% free and reduced LONEDELL R-14 BOBCATS
Where We Were 3 Years Ago(Teacher perspective) • No Structure for Success • No Collaboration unless Teacher Initiated • PD was one time workshops • Would try the “New” Fads • Dabbled in vertical teaming • No leadership
Where We Were 3 Years Ago(Principal Perspective) • Committed staff in many areas, but there were some staff members that were not • Staff members that were committed were frustrated with the lack of direction/leadership • Teacher evaluations and classroom visits were scarce • Accountability was low • Unity and communication across elementary and middle school was weak • Many practices had begun in the building that the administration wasn’t aware of because the teachers were taking matters into their own hands
How We Made Changes Within(Teacher Perspective) • 2009 New Superintendent and Principal • New Vision and Morale • Organized Meetings in grades 7th/8th • Looking for a focus/starting point
How We Made Changes Within(Principal Perspective) • Had a vision for PLC in this building from day one, but knew we needed a year to get to know one another • I spent the first year getting to know middle school (new to me) • We created a CARE TEAM in 7th and 8th grade with weekly meetings attended by teachers, counselor and myself- saw a lot of progress , gratitude and commitment • Brought in outside resources (Preferred Health Care) • Spent a LOT of time with kids-communicating expectations
2010 PLC Journey Began • We had a year to get to know one another now the REAL WORK BEGAN!!!! • First Step was to choose the Leadership Team • Team was chosen by the principal according to what she thought would be a good representation of grade levels (K, 2nd Grade, 5/6 ELA, 7/8 ELA and Counselor) • Team needed to be well-respected by peers and committed to leading change • We started the year with an activity to demonstrate that PLC was NOT another thing on your plate, but was the plate that all else would rest on. (Shared with us by our SCRPDC) • Communicated to staff that this was not a program that was going to steal their time, but a process that would enable them to work more effectively and remain focused.
So How Did It Go? • Staff responded well and seemed to be on board and welcomed the change • We learned about the 4 corollary questions and how they would focus our work • The schedule had been reworked so that there was common plan time for teams • We began meeting weekly with our PLC teams –One hour each week • Leadership Team also met weekly after school for an hour (often longer to be honest) • Accountability was increasing • Expectations were rising THEN……..
What Were We Seeing/Feeling? • It was January • We could feel the staff start to pull back • Grumbling among staff about workload • Culture was regressing • We had to do something to keep the focus on kids and help staff to understand the “WHY” behind the PLC Process • This was an important hump and how we handled it set the tone for our building and our own commitment to kids • We met it head on with the activity that we would like to share with you today.
Umbrella Activity • We were looking for an activity that would help transfer knowledge from what we had already learned about the PLC process and said we are committed to, but yet we were struggling with how to do that and what it takes to be successful . Trying to connect the known with the unknown • We decided to present this to the staff using an analogy (analogies help create transfer and clarity of new knowledge when the learner can connect to something they already know) • Decided to use a plate as our analogy again because we kicked off the year with the activity that referred to PLC’s as “The Plate that Everything Else will Rest Upon” Here’s what we did……
Umbrella Activity Actually Starts with a Plate What is on your plate? Write everything you do around school on a separate sticky note and put on your plate. (We gave staff about 10 minutes to really think about this. You want them to think about and write down as much as possible here) 4 Corollary Questions – Divide your placemat into 4 sections representing the 4 corollary questions. Place the sticky notes on the plate according to their corresponding corollary question that they relate to. If doesn’t fit, leave off to the side. Example: Curriculum Writing=What we want kids to know
Continued…. 3. After you have analyzed and organized your job description. Find a partner and combine your sticky notes, throwing out any doubles. 4. Then repeat in a group of 4. 5. Continue to repeat until the whole group has combined sticky notes into one for each of the 4 questions. This will visibly sort out what is important in your building. It will help focus your energy and declutter your mind.
Note: Shortest strand was ….. “What do we do if they already know it”
Afterwards…… • We took the sticky notes, wrote them on a small paper plate and made a chain. We hung them from a square that had the corollary question written on it. • We placed the four plates with the many jobs we do in the building related to the corollary questions under an umbrella and hung it in our PLC room. • We talked about those being the “protected items”. Those things are non-negotiable because it is the essence of what we do. It’s our focus. • Everything else is not critical to our success. • Eliminate from your plate those items that are causing you stormy times.
Questions? Contact Information Lonedell R-14 636-629-0401 Jenny Ulrich, Superintendent firstname.lastname@example.org Sue Emmons, Principal email@example.com