When educators get together to accomplish project work and grow expertise, magic happens. I was fortunate recently to spend time with educators who were doing just that in my new role working to support member divisions in the Virginia School Consortium for Learning as its new Executive Director.
Over two days of workshops focused on assessments, (DAY I a small group preparing to join a larger group on Day II), I spent time listening to about 200 teachers designing, building, and assessing performance tasks using Virginia’s Quality Performance Review Tool as a rubric. When teachers engage together in a professional learning network they share resources, ask questions, discuss successes and failures in their work, and solve problems. And, as a result of their work in teams to apply, analyze, and create, they are more likely to go back to their schools and use what they learned especially, when they know they will reunite to work together throughout the year. They hone their own expertise, share what they’ve learned with peers in their schools, and see the results of their efforts in the progress that learners make in their classrooms. Magic does happen- especially when you have wonderful workshop facilitators who know the challenges of teaching and learning. For more info on the assessment work of VaSCL, you can start here.
On the last day of VaSCL workshops this past week, it was a delight to watch Principal Scott Habeeb of Salem High School (@scotthabeeb) work with teams of building level leaders to explore strategies that support principals to be difference makers in their schools. Scott is a storyteller who walks and talks his beliefs about the power of principals to shape school culture and support up all members of the school community. Everyone is always creating a story in life, Scott says. His question to the administrators that caught their attention? Do you want the story you create as a leader to be a great story or a waste of a story? The rest of the workshop day was spent engaging in discussions and strategy work focused on the leader’s role as a champion of the culture that every child deserves in school. Scott will be working this year with principals through a virtual coaching model to help participants reflect on their work in their schools – from “how to” questions to deeper focus on strategic initiative implementation. The work groups also will meet face to face again later this year.
Professional development staff know that transfer into practice is critical – and that doesn’t happen by chance. Attendance at one-shot events seldom result in transfer by participants. That’s why VaSCL is committed to embedding follow up development, coaching options, and an expectation that our face-to-face sessions actively engage participants in applying the work not just in “sit and get” sessions.
PBL coaching is live for member divisions!
If you have committed in your division to implementing Project Based Learning, you may want to utilize our virtual PBL coaching services by trained PBL coaching facilitators Annie Evans Evansa1@charlottesvilleschools.org and Kelley Aitken firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about utilizing our coaches, you can also contact Administrative Coordinator, Liza Scallet email@example.com.
Upcoming VASCL-sponsored Development Opportunities
October 16, 2018 Enhancing Student Learning through Mathematical Modeling Grades 3-8
October 30, 2018 and … Allison Zmuda on Personalized Learning Grades K-12
You can find more info about the full range of offerings through January here:
As our principals shared at the Principal as Difference Maker workshop, building relationships are foundational to leading for the culture we want for the learners we serve. VaSCL staff and members work to support a culture of learning for all – adults and young people alike. That always begins with our beliefs about what communities can be when we grow better together.