The strongest “take-away” for me was Brad’s discussion of our frequent focus on the innovators in our schools, often at the expense of those who are continuing to do great work. My school has a strong tradition, and is proud of that fact. Some of my teachers are offended by our efforts to innovate, seeing this as a challenge to their experience and expertise.
As a leader, my job is to celebrate our excellence, and then coach our teachers to work for incremental improvement based upon this strong foundation. One strength in our school is the work we do with our students in preparation for the annual Literacy Test.
This fall our literacy team made use of a Google Classroom with our 425 students preparing for the online Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, to be written this past week. Though the test was an “epic fail” (in the words of our students), we now have an environment in which our students can continue to develop their literacy skills, and be even better prepared when they write in March.
(In case you missed it, the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office provided an opportunity to write the annual OSSLT this fall, to test out the new online version ahead of the scheduled test next March. It resulted in 100,000 plus students sitting looking at white screens for more than two hours before the test was cancelled.)
The use of Google Classroom has leveraged the excellent work done by our teachers over the past years with individual students, and provided students and parents with the resources and support to improve their skills and be successful on this graduation requirement.
We need to continue to look for ways to connect excellent teacher practice with the tools to reach beyond their individual classrooms. As I see it, why not start with those already near the top?