Monday, October 4, 2010


I am sitting in Bellevue trying to absorb all the knowledge, skill and inspiration from the past two days at the Association of Washington School Principals' Conference. A few highlights:

*Teacher Evaluation: Sunday's sessions focused on teacher evaluation. In a three-part series, we learned about legal guidelines of evaluation, new standards and criteria, and my favorite, from a favorite presenter Heather Knight, Coaching to support teaching.

*Professional Learning Communities: Bob Eaker and Janel Keating spent 4 hours Monday morning as our keynote presenters. What a gift! I have attended the Solution Tree Institute on PLCs before, and I completed the SPU Superintendent's program with Janel. I am always so excited after hearing information from them. Key points:

Four Questions to Guide the Work of Professional Learning Communities:

  • What do we expect students to learn?[Focus on essential outcomes, power standards, learning targets, pacing.] Question to consider: What would this standard look like in student work if the standard was met?
  • How will we know if the kids learn it?
  • How do we respond when students experience difficulty in learning?
  • How do we respond when students do learn?

Other Key Highlights:

  • This work needs to be done kid by kid, skill by skill (not just looking at school level data)
  • Find a way to have multi-dimensional feedback loops. How do teams share information with building leadership and district leadership? How does the district leadership facilitate the process?
  • Be specific about defining the role of teacher leader and providing opportunrities for training and skill development
  • Different teams will be at different levels of implementation and success; we need differentiated leadership and instruction for our teams just like we do for our students
  • Make sure teachers understand the larger theoretical framework for PLCs and that we develop common language/understanding around our work; for example, does Formative Assessment mean the same thing to all people?
  • Limit initiatives; celebrate the fact that we're doing the SAME WORK year after year, to a deeper level
  • Use this filter for our actions, behaviors, and decisions: "Would this be good enough for our own children?"

Spent the afternoon learning about the Lincoln Center, a School-within-a-School at Tacoma's Lincoln High School.

And, my day ended with Marilyn McGuire: Gaining Power and Strength: Strategies for Navigating Through and Out of Difficult Terrain


  • Stop "Shoulding" on ourselves and others
  • Allow ourselves to "Recalibrate" and do over when things didn't go the way we would like
  • When things go better than expected, stop and think about what made that possible. Replicate those actions and decisions!
  • Where is your loyalty: to a person or a purpose?
  • Always come back to intention
  • Avoid "Blargeting": Blaming and Targeting
  • Be intentional with language: "I'm unclear" vs. "I'm confused"
  • "We judge ourselves by intent; we judge others by behavior. Turn that around."
  • Produce a "Success Memo" at least annually
  • Find a new "F" word on the job: FUN!

My brain is full and happy!

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