On April 19 and 20, I had the opportunity to attend a conference given by the United Federation of Teachers titled Professional Development to Raise Student Achievement. Administrators from District Office and Greece middle and high schools attended, along with teachers from their school improvement teams and GTA representatives. The primary focus of the conference was improving student achievement through collaboration and team building.
In order to understand how effective collaboration works, we spent a lot of time learning about and appreciating different styles of communication. We investigated the qualities of successful teams and discussed why some of our teams have not been as effective as we would like. The consensus across the district was that our staff development is unfocused and too broad. We expressed the frustration of being pulled in multiple directions (PLT, PPS, CCLS, SMART Goals, SLC, RtI, etc.). It was refreshing to have been given a forum to speak honestly and openly about what teachers and administrators see as obstacles in implementing successful programs to increase student achievement. Throughout the process, we adopted the qualities of successful teams and immediately understood how this could lead to better results for students.
Our mantra: None of us is as smart as all of us.
(Posted by Kathy Masters)