My path to to become a certified Adaptive Schools™ Seminar Trainer has NOT been easy, and it hasn’t always been fun, but it has been deeply fulfilling and is changing the way I teach, learn, and conduct meetings as CEO of my organization.
I was intrigued with the content from the very beginning. As someone who’s “been in the business” of learning for close to 20 years, I have both been a learner and advocate for the work of Rick & Becky DuFour on Professional Learning Communities. In fact, my doctoral dissertation was based on this very topic.
Adaptive Schools + PLCs/PCLs
Within my first experience as a participant of an Adaptive Schools Seminar, I began to see a clear correlation between the work of Thinking Collaborative™ and my knowledge on professional learning communities. I view PLCs as the “Why” and Adaptive Schools as the “How”....to move groups toward shared learning and collaborative growth . Adaptive Schools is a capacity building system for teams….to increase their capacity to collaborate, to share varying ideas of groups, and to support one another - even in the face of conflict.
One strategy I’ve really empowered my team to use is designating whether a meeting’s purpose is to Dialogue or Discuss. To Dialogue with one another is to gain a shared understanding of a topic. If the purpose is to Discuss an agenda item, then we work collaboratively to make a decision. Defining the outcome/purpose of an agenda item has truly transformed how meetings are conducted at Southwest Plains.
Let’s discuss how powerful (and at times - difficult) working as teams can be! As I continue to grow & learn - I want to know: How might teams you work with (PLCs, administrative groups, local councils and chambers, etc.) benefit from a more collaborative agenda? What are your struggles and strategies for working in groups? Comment below & let’s ALL benefit from our shared experience!
Summer break is a time for relaxing, recharging your batteries, and preparing for a successful new school year. Whether you prefer to stay cool indoors, lounge by the pool, or hangout at the ball field, you might find yourself with a little time to read. These books are my recommendations for your summer reading list!
My first recommendation is Lead Like a Pirate, by keynote & author Dave Burgess. On several occasions, Southwest Plains has had the opportunity to host conferences with the enthusiastic Dave Burgess as keynote. His passion for education, teaching, and leadership make him an engaging keynote. Dave is also an accomplished author. He is a fantastic example of continued engagement with his audience, as he is extremely active on Twitter where I’ve come to enjoy his frequent and informational posts.
I read this book a few months ago, after seeing it make the rounds on Twitter, and can personally attest to it’s value. The book provides readers with practiced strategies that are easy to understand, implement, and will have a direct effect in your professional life,. I recommend this to anyone - I firmly believe that leadership is not a position or job title, it’s a mindset!
Summer break is a perfect time to reflect on the year behind us in an effort to put our best foot forward for the coming school year. My favorite strategy showcased in this book and found on Dave’s blog is called Dropping ANCHORS. ANCHOR is an acronym for Appreciation, Notice the Impact, Collaborative Conversation, Honor Voice & Choice, Offer Support, and Reflect.
My second recommendation has to be Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning by Jenni Anne Marie Donohoo. Over the course of the last year or so, a large portion of my professional development workshops and consulting days have centered around the concept of Collective Efficacy. Leading educator & researcher John Hattie details in his book, Visible Learning, how collective efficacy of educators in a school has the largest effect size on student learning of any other variable.
All educators should be working toward the shared goal of increasing collective efficacy within their schools. This book will give you structures & protocols to put in place in the coming year to build this vision. Consider starting a book club or PLC with your fellow educators and begin with this excellent resource!
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own book, #eWalkThrough: Digital System for Instructional Leadership. It’s timely for current eWalkThrough® users, as you can revisit the foundational tenets surrounding your system, reflect on goals and changes needed for the new school year, and recalibrate your thinking.
For readers without a digital classroom observation system in place, it’s never been a better time to learn about our process and how it can change your district, buildings, classrooms, and culture. The format of the book makes a great reference, and you’ll be armed with information to share with colleagues about the power of classroom observation.
Now I want to know...What is on YOUR reading list this summer? I’m always looking to learn, and would love a new book recommendations! Comment below with your suggestions & let’s get this conversation started!
Kelly's insights on classroom observation, education, leadership, teaching, and mentoring.