Article by Amy Ashton
Are your staff members working hard? How do you know? You might answer that by saying they are coming in early, staying late, they have strong lesson plans, they stay up to date on grading using meaningful assessments, and the list goes on.
Here’s an important question to reflect on: Is the hard work done in isolation, or in collaboration? Dr. John Hattie’s work shows ‘off the charts’ gains in student achievement (1.57 effect size) when staff believe that working together, planning together, and using data to drive student instruction together- teacher collective efficacy- are put in motion in a school. If this is true, how do we become more effective systematically to improve teacher efficacy?
One consideration for improvement is the Educator Effectiveness requirements. If our students are going to be successful, we have to help our educators be successful first. This means that we prioritize the Professional Practice Goal (PPG) and ensure that the PPG is based on high leverage strategies that help educators grow in their practice. So much emphasis has been placed on Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). Without teachers learning together first, and understanding the collective work they need to do to grow in their practice, we will not shift our hope that all students will grow. So, as a leader, start here:
- Lay the groundwork for collective efficacy - What is it? Why is it important? Get your leadership team and teacher leaders talking about it.
- Give teachers choices on how to work collectively - With who? How often? Is this already part of your building or district culture, or do you need more opportunities for discussion and to prioritize this work?
- Encourage teachers to write PPGs first (before writing your SLO) - selecting specific strategies for high impact on student achievement (Hattie’s work is an excellent resource to use). Outline specific steps to collectively grow - for example, video modeling and reflection with a coach or colleague or observing a colleague’s teaching after planning a lesson together.
- Make sure time is dedicated to working collectively - as a part of the school day and collaboration schedule.
Your commitment as a leader to improving student learning is critical in this process. Join in planning meetings, plan for sharing sessions to share and reflect on the collective progress that is being made throughout the building. Celebrate along the way and continue to nudge your staff forward.
Article Submission: Written by Amy Ashton
Amy Ashton is the principal at Lakeside Elementary School in the Oshkosh Area School District. Her passion is improving instruction for students by focusing first on educators. She sets an example as a leader, reader, and learner for life. Follow her on Twitter at @AAshton22.
Corresponding EE Resources
WI Educator Effectiveness User Guide for Teachers, Teacher Supervisors, & Coaches
Data-Driven, Educator Developed Goals
Continuous Improvement Supported by Professional Conversations
WI Framework for Principal Leadership (principal EE rubric) components: 1.1.4, 1.2.2, 1.2.3, 2.2.3