September in schools always brings a renewed focus on the goals of a school, an evaluation of strategies, and setting a course to get us to June. Our overall goal is always the same: to promote the successful learning of every single child. In January 2016, (see my post dated February 9, 2016) I attended a Simon Breakspear conference inviting us to establish a Lead Learning Team in my school. It is with this team we will be ‘drilling down’ and focusing on very specific learning outcomes as determined by the exact needs of our students.
For example, if you have a small group of students who are struggling with capitalization or punctuation in your class, now is the time to identify the need and do a short ‘sprint’ of time (1 week or 2) with direct focus on this skill. Take data first, activate the ‘sprint’, and take data again to determine the success of your strategies.
This school year has a specific focus on Literacy and in particular ‘writing’! Using the ‘sprint’ method as described by Simon, we are enthusiastically approaching our needed outcomes with a renewed sense of purpose and direction. It is going to help us pay direct attention to ‘the good stuff’ needed by students to become even more successful writers. Way to go Lead Learning Team. Who knows, by June 2018 ALL teachers could be on the Lead Learning Team! Talk about Synergy!!!
Today was a perfect day! It was the first day of the new school year 2017-18. There were smiles, hugs, new clothes, fresh hair cuts and brand new backpacks filled with supplies. Everyone was ready to go at 8:00 a.m. Once again, after 18 years of doing this, our morning was filled with sunshine and no rain! We met outside, welcomed each other, prayed together and asked for a blessing on our year. Then off to new classrooms we went.
At the end of the day I was walking into every classroom, asking teachers how their day went. Did it meet their expectations? Every single teacher said something like: amazing, great, just perfect, etc. I entered one room with two teachers talking to each other, and when I asked the same question, with huge smiles on their faces they both said “We failed BIG!” What? “Yup, we failed big!” They proceeded to tell me how their wonderful plans and ideas just didn’t work out the way they planned. Both are experienced educators and were not in the least bit dejected because of the day. Their learning was a steep incline and they already have a plan for tomorrow. But what they did learn was: Leaders fail big! Why? Because leaders are willing to try things, step out of their comfort zone and try again. It is a real lesson in learning to be a leader. We are all called to not be afraid of failing big! Have a great year leaders! We need you to make this the best school year ever!