Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Part 2: "Our Best Shot at Creating [a] Common Vision"

Follow up from Monday's post:

"This process should ensure that students reach success," Karen Kidwell explains.

But ensuring success is difficult--almost as difficult as helping teachers throughout the system buy into such a romantic view of education. Ensure? How can we really ensure success? Karen continues: 

"Of course, woven through all of that is, what does effective practice look like on a day-to-day basis? And so, we have been working for some years in our state to develop the set of characteristics that really define highly effective teaching in learning practices. We needed a venue where we could bring people together in larger groups and give them time to work with their peers in their own districts.

“This system of networks is going to be our best shot at creating this common vision,” says Kidwell, “but also sharing the wealth of learning that we have in our state and the wealth of expertise that we have at every level, from the teacher leader to the superintendent. You can see this occurring in the following clip of Seth Hunter presiding over a leadership meeting.”

“So,” Hunter says to his math leadership network, “welcome to the March, OVEC math leader meeting. This is actually our last meeting for year one. Your feedback has told us that you wanted to spend more time looking at the Standards. So, we have blocked out essentially the first two hours of today to spend time looking at some more standards.”

“This video depicts the content leadership network, which met eight times over the course of year one and this was our wrap-up meeting for that year,” he describes. “During the meeting we spent a big chunk in the morning looking at the Standards and asking ourselves, what, within a grade or within a course, would be a reasonable sequence to put into place.”

“Leaders like Seth are the specialists that come in to us and want our expertise as teachers,” says Megan Hearn, an algebra teacher. “They know the Standards, they know what they’re looking for. They’re there and then they come to us and they want to know: “You being a classroom teacher who’s going to be teaching this, tell me what you think. It’s been wonderful.”

“These initial meetings also represent a brainstorming stage,” Hunter says. “At this point, we get it all out. So this is where the districts get to adjust what’s happening and at the state level, through the networks, to meet the needs within their context, and this is where I think that Kentucky is really getting it right in terms of scaling this work up.”
“It’s really beneficial,” says algebra teacher Michelle Hawkins, “in that you get a network of teachers yourself to look at the Standards, to bounce ideas off of one another, to talk about the struggles that your district’s facing. I feel very comfortable with what we’ve done, with the deconstruction. I feel very comfortable with the help that we’ve gotten and the feedback that we’ve gotten.” 

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