‘If teams of teachers are going to accomplish anything of substance, they need regularly scheduled opportunities during the school day to collaborate. In addition, if a school truly want to provide differentiated learning experiences for students – the teachers need regularly scheduled opportunities during the school day to provide targeted interventions.’ Ferriter, Graham, Wight, 2013
Fortunate circumstances or divine intervention led my friend Bill Ferriter, @plugusin, to share his latest collaborative venture with me. I feel honored that he thought enough to share this great book. Bill is an authority on PLCs and building collaborative, goal oriented cultures in our schools. You’ve probably seen a couple of his works on the Solution-Tree catalog.
Making Teamwork Meaningful is a great piece that dives into looking at all the systems and processes in a school that affect how students learn and teachers teach and a big part of that is how we promote and protect collaboration. This includes taking a look at our hiring process, developing intervention efforts and of course increasing our efficacy in collaboration and as the book points out, the school schedule is a critical starting point. This is a piece that all school leaders have to key into if we are going to make student learning a priority.
Related to my series on middle school scheduling, there are some takeaways I thought that really resonate:
- Teachers can’t be effective in ineffective structures
- Outlining priorities and planning methods to protect them
- The master schedule should support collaboration
- School leaders have to create and protect opportunities for teachers to collaborate
- School leaders should consider how reflection and a commitment to flexibility will play a role in the schedule
In addition these great points the book provides four key questions in guiding the building of the school schedule:
- What are our organization priorities, and who should help protect them?
- Who needs opportunities to collaborate to advance priorities, and how will we create time during the school day for that collaboration?
- What role will reflection and a commitment to flexibility to play?
- How can we be creative with positions and time to free teachers for intervention?
I received this book well into our planning efforts for next year’s schedule but this was a timely read. Of course there are more aspects to this book developing a school scheduleIf you’re a school leader that’s involved in the decision making process including school improvement planning, building the schedule or designing interventions this is a must read. There are great points on every level for every level.