What does it mean for a school system to cultivate or build instructional leadership at scale? In the June 2017 issue of Learning Forward's journal, The Learning Professional, CEL's Stephen Fink and Anneke Markholt describe a research-based curriculum that is setting a new standard for school leadership professional development.
One of my favorite things to read or watch is a transformation story. You know, seeing the before and after pictures of a renovated home, weight loss, or a yard.
My school, Onalaska Middle School is a transformation story. But our before and after pictures are much different than the ones you are used to seeing.
In 2011, the Washington State Board of Education and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction identified Onalaska School District as part of a Required Action District, or RAD, because it was one of the consistently lowest performing schools in the state.
Obviously, this was not a good place to be in as a school and it was going to take a lot of work to improve.
At Woodlands Elementary in Bremerton, Washington state, Cindy Larson’s kindergartners don’t just answer her questions. They explain their thinking and evaluate their classmates’ reasoning. For example, during a lesson on measurement, one of the boys asked to come to the whiteboard and explain why another student’s answer was incorrect.
"He was basically up there teaching the class," Larson said. "That would never have happened in my classroom before." Discussing content at such intellectual depth early on bodes well for students’ future growth, she added. "If we’re starting this in kindergarten, the discussions in the upper grades are going to look qualitatively different."
The Seattle Times featured CEL's learning walkthroughs as a promising strategy for improving instructional leadership. CEL uses learning walkthroughs to help educators to deepen their ability to observe, analyze and support quality instruction. The article follows a group of school superintendents who are touring classrooms in one another's school districts.