October 9, 2009 Making a Difference
We are a BIG School • Therefore, we have to find better ways of doing excellent work. • We are accountable to each other. • Learning is the Work • Systems Learn • And then we need to get practical with these ideas.
We are accountable to each other. • “School culture is the set of norms, values, and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, symbols and stories that make up the ‘persona’ of the school” • Peterson. (2002). Is your School Culture Toxic or Positive? Education World 6(2)
Healthy School Culture • “Educators have an unwavering belief in the ability of all of their students to achieve success, and they pass that belief on to others in overt and covert ways. Educators create policies and procedures and adopt practices that support their belief in the ability of every student.” • Peterson. (2002) Is your School Culture Toxic or Positive? Education World 6(2)
Toxic School Culture • “Educators believe that student success is based upon students’ level of concern, attentiveness, prior knowledge, and willingness to comply with the demands of the school, and they articulate that belief in overt and covert ways. Educators create policies and procedures and adopt practices that support their belief in the impossibility of universal achievement.” • Peterson. (2002). Is Your School Culture Toxic or Positive? Education World 6(2)
Cultural Differences in a School • The Believers • The Tweeners • The Survivors • The Fundamentalists
The Believers • Their objective is “Success for All Students” • They are: • Intrinsically motivated • Primary characteristic is flexibility with students both academically and behaviorally. • In extreme situations, they are willing to confront negative talk and attitudes toward children. • Have a varied level of pedagogical skill
The Tweeners • Their objective is to find their own comfort zone within the organization • They are: • Loosely-coupled with the school mission • Are enthusiastic about the idealistic nature of school, but have not quite hit the tipping point. • Stay out of school and district politics. • Follow administrative instructions. • One extreme experience can swing them to be a believer or a fundamentalist.
Survivors • Their objective is survival. • They are: • Overwhelmed by the nature of the job or life. • They have no political or organizational aspirations. • They create subcontracts with students to broker a cease-fire agreement • Little to no professional practice is evident. • All members of the organization agree that they do not belong in the profession.
Fundamentalists • Their objective is to maintain the status quo (Leave me alone!) • They: • Believe not all children can learn. • Believe that school reform is a waste of time. • Believe in autonomy and academic freedom. • Believe that gaps in learning are due to outside forces (students, parents, etc.) • Have a very rigid view & sometimes refuse to change even when confronted with evidence. • Have varied levels of pedagogical skills.
A PLC Team must work collaboratively. • What is collaboration? • “A systematic process in which we work together, interdependently, to analyze and impact professional practice in order to improve our individual and collective results.” • DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker (2002)
We are accountable to each other. • We need to be able to talk about controversial topics and deal with each other as professionals. • Resources: • Crucial Conversations by Patterson, et al. • The Power of a Positive No by Ury • Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury • The Influencer by Patterson, et al
PLC Team • Is the perfect place to give the Believer with high pedagogical skills the opportunity to build shared knowledge through research. • Is the perfect place for the Believer with the low pedagogical skills to learn better strategies that he/she remains a believer and doesn’t turn into a Fundamentalist. • Is the perfect place to care and nurture a Tweener so he/she doesn’t become a Fundamentalist.
PLC Team • Is the perfect place for the Tweener to find connections to the school and stay and become a Believer. • Is the perfect place for a heart-to-heart talk with a survivor because living the life of a survivor is a mental illness. • Because a student subjected to a Survivor takes 3 years to recover and if a students gets 2 in a row, it’s almost impossible to recover.
PLC Team • And is the perfect place to help a Fundamentalist: • Level One – Doesn’t change because he has been given no clear reason to change. • Level Two – Doesn’t change because he doesn’t trust the person who tells him to change. • Level Three – Doesn’t change because he views the alternative as frightening. (Border-line survivor) • Level Four – Doesn’t change because change would be admitting failure. He would rather die than admit he was wrong.
We are accountable to each other. • PLC teams can make this happen. • PLC teams can make us better. • PLC teams can make a difference for our students.
We are a BIG School • Therefore, we have to find better ways of doing excellent work. • We are accountable to each other. • Learning is the Work. • Systems Learn.
Learning is the Work • Tiger Woods ad: • “relentless consistency, 50 %; • willingness to change, 50% • Jobs vary in their degree of routine vs. nonroutine but the consistency-innovation continuum applies to all jobs.
How is our work “learning”? • To truly make a difference in the complicated world we live in, we have to address our core goals and tasks with relentless consistency while at the same time learning continuously how to get better and better at what we are doing.
Depth of Understanding • Liker and Meier note, “We estimate that Toyota spends five times as much time detailing work methods and developing talent in employees as any other company we have seen” (2007). “If we were to identify the single greatest difference between Toyota and other organizations (this includes service, healthcare, and manufacturing organizations) it would be the depth of understanding among Toyota employees regarding their work.”
The Art & Science of Teaching • Marzano’s work: • Three Components of Effective Classroom Pedagogy • 1. Use of Effective Instructional Strategies. • 2. Use of Effective Management Strategies. • 3. Use of Effective Classroom Curriculum Design Strategies.
Instructional Design Questions • 1. What will I do to establish and communicate learning goals, track student progress, and celebrate success? • What will I do to help students effectively interact with new knowledge? • What will I do to help students practice and deepen their understanding of new knowledge? • What will I do to help students generate and test hypotheses about new knowledge? • What will I do to engage students?
Instructional Design Questions • What will I do to establish or maintain classroom rules and procedures? • What will I do to recognize and acknowledge adherence and lack of adherence to classroom rules and procedures? • What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships with students? • What will I do to communicate high expectations for all students? • What will I do to develop effective lessons organized into a cohesive unit?
Learn in Context or Learn Superficially • “Improvement is more a function of learning to do the right thing in the setting in which you work.” (p. 73) Richard Elmore (2004) • The essence of Toyota’s approach to improved performance in all areas of work consists of 3 components: (1) identify critical knowledge; (2) transfer knowledge using job instruction; and (3) verify learning and success.
Consistency and innovation can and must go together: • Nail down the common practices that work so that you can get consistent results; at the same time, you are freeing up energy for working on innovative practices that get even greater results.
PLC Team • Is the perfect place to learn how to teach a specific skill the most effectively. • Is the perfect place to learn how to teach a specific skill to the students who are not learning like the others. • Is the perfect place to watch another colleague teach a specific skill. • Is the perfect place to have a colleague watch you teach a specific skill.
PLC Team • Is the perfect place to learn how to do the mundane tasks efficiently. • Is the perfect place to learn how to organize the day to get everything done. • Is the perfect place to bounce a crazy idea that just might work. • Is the perfect place to ask for help when the lesson tanked.
Learning is our Work • PLC teams can make this happen. • PLC teams can make us better. • PLC teams can make a difference for our students.
We are a BIG School • Therefore, we have to find better ways of doing excellent work. • We are accountable to each other. • Learning is the Work • Systems Learn
Systems Learn by: • “By focusing on developing many leaders working in concert, instead of relying on key individuals.” • By “building a robust set of interrelated management practices and philosophies that provide advantage above and beyond the ideas or inspirations of single individuals.”
Systems must learn because: • “The world has become so complex that no one individual can grasp or predict what might happen, because the number of interdependent factors at work and their ramifications are impossible to predict it.”
Systems Must Learn • “Risk taking by definition is not about getting results every time but about being successful in more situations than not.” • In an Uncertain World, Robert Rubin states, “Even the best decisions about interventions are probabilistic and run the risk of failure, but failure wouldn’t necessarily make the decision wrong” (p. 37).
PLC Team • Is the perfect place to learn to lead others. • Is the perfect place to make mistakes, forgive, be forgiven, and start again. • Is the perfect place to learn how to motivate others. • Is the perfect place to analyze a complex problem to find possible solutions. • Is the perfect place to risk, fail, risk, succeed.
Systems Must Learn • PLC teams can make this happen. • PLC teams can make us better. • PLC teams can make a difference for our students.
Professional Learning Teams • Holding us accountable to each other to be the best that we can be for our students. • Giving us resources so that every single day we learn more about how to be the best we can be for our students. • Creating a system so that we all support each other and learn from each other so we can be the best we can be for our students.
And what is best? • Sir Ernest Shackleton, “Life to me is the greatest of all games. The danger lies in treating it as a trivial game, a game to be taken lightly, and a game in which the rules don’t matter much. The rules matter a great deal. The game has to be played fairly or it is no game at all. And even to win the game is not the chief end. The chief end is to win it honorably and splendidly.”
Let’s get practical: • With accountability: • When you have meetings, be on time. • When you have meetings, be prepared and be present. • Read the Tiger Weekly. • Don’t complain – do what it takes to be a contributing and valuable member of your PLC team and the BHS staff.
Let’s get practical: • Learning is the Work: • What can you do to improve efficiency? • Don’t email the entire staff on questions/comments. • Seek out your SLC principal for questions/problems. • Have a fool-proof system to take attendance each and every period, each and every day. • Have a system to make parent calls. • Have a system to know what needs to be copied, when it has been sent, and where it is when returned. • Have a paper grading system.
Let’s get practical: • Learning is the Work • Your PLC Smart Goal should tie directly to the School Smart Goals. Here are some excellent ones: • Increasing the passing scores of AP Lit & Comp to a passing rate of 73% for the 2010 exam. • English III honors students will have an average score of 24 on the English subtest of the ACT. • 90% continuation rate from English II Pre-AP to AP Language and Comp.
PLC Goals • Increase the % of Hispanic students to 65% who score P/A on the 11th Literacy Exam. • All seniors in regular English IV will achieve 19+ on ACT English subtest. • Reduce F’s to 2% or fewer in Civics. • Increase the number of students scoring 3+ on the AP World History Exam from 36% to 46% for the 2010 exam. • Reduce the number of F’s on all Unit tests by 5% in Economics classes.
PLC Goals • Increase students in AP Psy from 123 to 150. • Increase 3+ in APUSH to 65% • Reduce students leaving our Algebraic Connections class for GED/HS/attendance to 3% or less from 10%. • Reduce the student failure rate to 10% in Algebra I. • Raise students scores on math ACT to 22 av in Alg III. • Increase AP Calculus scores of 3+ to 48%
PLC Goals • Increase 2010 Geometry EOC open response avg from 22/40 to 25/40. • Reduce F’s in chemistry by 2%. • Increase from 95% p/a on Biology EOC to 100% p/a in Pre-AP Bio. • Reduce Physical Science failure rate by 10% from last year’s rate of 12%. • Reduce F’s by 10% in Sped Environmental Sci • Increase 3+ in AP Chem from 42% to 47%. • Increase students involved in Skills USA by 10%.
PLC Goals • Increase Choir Boosters from 35 to 72 members. • Increase parental involvement by creating a Drama Booster Club of at least 25 parents. • Reduce F’s by 10% in Oral Com. • Increase student membership in HOSA, FBLA, DECA by 10%. • 90% of Spanish I students will go into Spanish 2. • Increase the % of Spanish 2 students by 10% who take Spanish 3. • Increase SC & SSP students extracurricular act by at least 10%
Let’s get even more practical: • If Learning is the Work: • Your PGP should tie to your PLC or SLC Smart Goals. i.e. • Smart Team Goal: Reduce F’s by 10% in our classes • Good PGP: What is your Professional Growth goal? • My goal is to reduce F’s by 10% in our classes. • And then strategies will follow – Guided Study, parent calls for all failing students, after school tutoring, etc. • Great PGP: What is your Professional Growth Goal? • My goal is to reduce F’s from 16% to 10% in my classes. • My goal is to read Classroom Instruction that Works and incorporate 5 high yield strategies into my lessons each month and share them with my PLC team.
PGP • How can you help your team meet that goal? • What are you going to do this year? • This is due Monday so today is a great time to get it finished and turned in to your evaluation principal. • You can do this all electronically. The PGP form is on our BHS website/Staff tab/ Principal’s Blog.
To make a difference… • For a our students and their future educational experiences, we have to MODEL where we want them to go. • Collaboration that includes accountability • Learning about how to do the best work. • Creating systems and more leaders to help. • http://www.cbs.umn.edu/bioprog/courses/interactiveclass/