Looking Forward… Collaboratively #sol22

Looking Forward… Collaboratively #sol22

Several years ago, our district gave the literacy leadership, principal, literacy specialists, vice-principals, our ELE director, the opportunity to take a day and consider all the ways we “coach’ our learning communities and plan for the next year.

It was a really beneficial block of time. We had an interim principal at that time, but the vice-principal and I made a great plan for moving forward month by month. We talk about professional learning community work, our consulting work with a professional development specialist, our building based curriculum meetings, our staff meetings, any half-day time. Really, really beneficial.

We used our experience with grade level staff, our assessment patterns, the units of study in literacy and their trajectory, and what we need about the overall student needs in our learning community. As we left that school year and prepared to enter the next, I felt like a plan was in place.

As you might guess, a new principal, a different year, and a pandemic disruption just as we were entering the third quarter, put those plans in jeopardy. While some were implemented, others were not. We didn’t stick to that plan.

Why don’t people stick to a plan? Perhaps when it is not their plan.

Here we are, several years later, but my optimism for planning ahead hasn’t faltered. This time, I’m determined to help my stakeholders have a voice and for us, as a learning community to have an outline for the work we will do together next year. Goodness knows that these teachers might benefit from voice and choice as we say. While I might have a reasonable idea of what would be helpful, their input goes a long way to creating a climate for collaboration.

So last week, I sprang my idea on the principal. He reminded me that in test week, teachers will have a lot on their mind and on their plates. I explained the idea to our new math coach. She was optimistic. So today, we spent an hour in our grade level teams and in a room together considering what we need.

It felt right. I haven’t read their notes… yet, but it felt right. They were talking to each other about what went well, what went not so well, and what might be a big help in the year to come.

Today it felt a little like that Desmond Tutu quote I have above my desk. Let’s not pull people out of the water, but go upstream and find out why they are falling in. Today, I listened. Today, they talked.

Tomorrow we will plan. Perhaps we will be able to spin all of their ideas into plans. Maybe we won’t. But what I will do is carry those ideas around with me using them to consider how and when I work with teachers, what I offer, what I say.

8 thoughts on “Looking Forward… Collaboratively #sol22

  1. What you say about voice and choice and input creating a climate for collaboration is spot on! Teachers need to own the vision from the get go and in order to own that vision they’ve got to have a say in the plan. But it also takes coaches, like you, to keep the plan alive when the year gets heavy. Fabulous slice! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  2. That listening piece is key to making a plan that people stick to moving forward. Everyone has to feel like their voice is heard so that they know their opinion is valued. You’re doing that so well. Thanks for being an exemplar for all of us to learn from!

    • Just the fact that you would tell me that I’m ‘doing so well’ made me tear up. Thank you so much for thoughtfully reading my slice and taking care with your comments. Your support means so much.

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