Response to Jayme Linton’s 11 Questions That Need Answers

Jayme Linton is good friend and contributor to my PLN. Even though I received a similar Blog Challenge days ago, when I received this one from her, I was compelled to respond. These are all questions we have [or should be asking] to help grow our schools.

I’ve posted her questions and my responses here:

  1. How can we cultivate a risk-taking, innovative learning environment in a high-stakes testing culture?
    • This means we begin communicating with our stakeholders, teachers and supervisors the viable alternatives. Once we have a good understanding of what that looks like ourselves, we can then begin painting a picture of where we are or need to go. Communicating involves emailing good research, sharing good video examples. Developing a good adoption plan, including outlining benchmarks, desired outcomes is critical to success. Then we can find early adopters in our school then showcase their growth. 
  2. How can we recruit promising prospective teachers and keep effective educators in the classroom?
    • Recruitment has been a concern of mine for awhile. I work in a high needs school and we are often overlooked or deprioritized by recent graduates. I think school districts need to form new relationships with colleges and universities, real partnerships based on new standards and work agreements. Let’s rework classtime and school visit/student teaching times. This will give new teachers a good understanding of what is required and what principals need
  3. How can we increase the amount of connected educators who actually do what they blog and tweet about?
    • This is the fun part! Model, share, present, share! I think its a duty of digital leaders to share the best practices and best parts of what we do and the new ways to learn and grow. When we get the opportunity, we need to share about PLNs and new networks of learning.
  4. If we know that collaborative planning is powerful, why don’t we create time and space for teachers to do that regularly?
    • This is  a priority at my school. We have redone our school schedule to maximize planning/collaboration time.
  5. How are schools empowering teacher leaders?
    • Finding teachers to model and share with other teachers, empowering teachers with teacher/’administrator-lite’ responsibilities
  6. How should we really be measuring educator effectiveness?
    • While I absolutely feel that the value-added measurement system in place should be adjusted, there is some merit to it. We should measure if kids are growing the impact teachers are having BUT we should also use other indications – formative assessments, surveys, composite looks at PD – we aren’t doing enough critical evaluation in this area.
  7. What kinds of support do K-12 schools need from teacher educators and educational researchers?
    • I’m going to refer back to different relationships we should be forming in my answer from Q2. I recently had a conversation with a college professor about some studies and work he can do in my school. Our talk was tailored for my school – research and student teachers. This slight change will go a long way.
  8. How can we empower educators to use classroom assessments to inform instruction rather than externally controlling the assessment environment in our classrooms?
    • I try to make sure those discussions and lesson planning sessions start of as guided discussions. We have planning documents with guided questions that show the direction we need to go in and what we need to plan for. Once we put the framework and rationale in place, we pull ourselves out of the equation.
  9. Why do we insist on teaching kids to hate reading by pushing programs that use extrinsic rewards?
    • Because we are programmed to do it
  10. What do the best school administrators do? How can we spread that to less effective administrators?
    • Get connected [both answers]
  11. How can we expand collaboration across schools so that we continually help each other better meet the needs of our students?
    • We continue to build our PLNs and offer insight and support to new divers. As educators, schools and systems start their journey into social networks, we can be there share success stories, invite them to participate and increase their learnings. We should all be using the numerous free tools that are out there to connect with others and we have to continuously talk about the value of  getting connected.

This is Jayme’s original post, 11 Questions That Need Answers. Please check it out and let’s keep this conversation going.

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