October 28, 2022
Whew! September is over!
SEPTEMBER – the first month of school across much of North America – is such a busy time! So much to learn about students, their families, our colleagues and our community. It’s a time when educators are thankful they spent time reviewing the curriculum because now is the time to pull together Assessment Plans.
TEACHERS – In the ‘old days’ teachers would create Curriculum Overviews in draft and meet with school leadership to discuss plans for the students, and any support that might be needed. As ‘beginning with the end in mind” became better understood, those curriculum plans became Assessment Plans with the curriculum learning expectations placed at the centre.
Assessment Plans include detailed learning goals/expectations as well as plans to engage students in work that will result in evidence of learning that is reliable and valid. Assessment is the way to support every student to achieve success. You can download a simple, yet powerful assessment planning document here.
PRINCIPALS AND VICE-PRINCIPALS: In the first month school leadership teams – principals and vice-principals – collect lots of information about the students, teachers and all learning needs for the upcoming year. District / Board leadership also set goals for the district which guide the planning at the school level. School leadership teams link the District goals to the goals set out by the school and every staff and faculty member. Staff and faculty members also set aside time to reflect on and plan what their professional learning will look like in the coming months as well. The alignment is powerful! To learn more about this process, you might find this article about specific ways to move forward in identifying goals and evidence of learning of adults – helpful.
District leadership – those reporting to trustees, supervising principals and supporting schools, as well as those supporting the professional learning needs across the district – have also been reviewing all the available data – about the district, the schools, and different groups of learning needs – and finalizing plans. This is when experienced leaders have an opportunity to bring alignment to the system. As leaders go about their work, they also model collecting baseline evidence, beginning with the end in mind, and triangulating evidence of learning. This kind of alignment supports everyone’s learning.
OCTOBER – now that you’ve got your baseline data – is a month to ‘begin with the end in mind.’ It is a time when you can confidently set your plans in motion. This is also true for us at Connect2Learning.
Taking leadership in professional learning requires nuanced decision making. In a recent conversation with two people taking the lead on professional learning across a district, we learned that the list of teachers assigned to teach in classrooms had not yet been finalized. September start-up had been challenging. It wasn’t time to gather teachers for PD or to provide ‘wrap around’ support to new teachers.
As part of the conversation, I suggested that they use their existing resources to invite teachers into professional learning. One thing they could do right away is to prepare emails to go out to different groups of educators beginning with Elementary and Secondary teachers. The idea is to provide support and a learning opportunity to teachers in a calm, invitational way.
Below you will find a sample email template. The secret is to select one short reading, photo, or video clip that highlights one specific idea of learning aligned with the learning priorities.
In the email, explain why you found the idea or resource interesting. Add a subject line that invites people to take a few minutes to enjoy some helpful professional learning. Then send it out!
Those teachers who are interested and have time, will go and have a look.
Those teachers who don’t yet have time, may save the email until later.
The worst that can happen – your email will be deleted. As the saying goes, ‘You’ve already got no, why not try for YES!’
All our best,
Anne and the Connect2Learning team
PS At Connect2Learning, we thoughtfully support the learning needs of individuals and groups of teachers, schools and districts. Some initiatives are already underway; others are about to be launched. And, like you, our initiatives are based on serving the needs of our clients – YOU. Educators are selecting from the following choices to match their learning needs:
Foundation Series: Classroom Assessment (Elementary and Secondary Teachers)
Masterclass: Classroom Assessment and Beyond (Elementary and Secondary Teachers)
New Principal’s Foundation Series: Beginning the New Year
Leaders Roundtable Series 2022 – More info about 2023 coming soon!
Subject Line: High School Student Engagement
Thanks for all your hard work as this school year! As you reflect on how you’ve been engaging learners, you might want to view this 11 minute video clip about engagement and ownership in Mathematics. The first half will give you an overview of Engagement and Ownership while the second part (starting at 5:48) will feature Rob Hadath as he invites students in secondary Math class to engage and reflect on their learning.
As you watch this video clip consider the following questions:
- How are students involved in assessment?
- What is similar to what you do?
- What is different from what you do?
- What is one idea you might consider trying
This video clip is part of a library of resources that we have available for you. If you want to see more, get in touch!
Thank you for all that you do.