Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013 - (Page C5)

leadership for learning innovation at the Education Development Center, a Waltham, Mass.based nonprofit organization that evaluates and designs education programs and provides self-assessments for university- and district-leadership programs. In the 41,000-student Sarasota County district, educators created a leadership academy and mentorship program for leaders. “In our experience, developing our own leaders has helped our district maintain its focus on longterm goals,” said Lori White, the superintendent of schools. “[Academy graduates] are familiar with our culture and have an understanding of our vision.” Since 2006, 15 of the 25 new principals in the district and 31 of 43 assistant principals have graduated from the leadership academy. The school’s leaders credit that leadership flow with the district’s top-level A ranking from the state. That kind of support also appeals to aspiring leaders. David Jones, the principal at the district’s North Port High School, says he chose to move to Sarasota County after seeing a presentation on the school system’s leadership program. But such programs are often dependent on a district’s budget situation, says the nassp’s Flanary. “In today’s economic times, with budget cuts and scarce and diminishing resources, it’s a commitment on the part of a district to create an academy,” he says. In some districts, he says, those commitments are not possible. Even Sarasota County has had to put its principal academy on hiatus for a year because of budget pressures. And Jones says he’s seen how the lack of the program has had an impact. One of his assistant principals, he says, “who has phenomenal talent and ability, needs the opportunity to participate in something like that so he can move his career forward.” The district agrees: It is planning to bring the leadership academy back this spring. District-Specific Needs In New York’s Hudson Valley, the Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services, based in New Paltz, managed to continue a principal-training initiative that focused on district-specific content and initiatives even after initial grant funding dropped off. “The overall value of the program is significant enough that it’s no longer in question,” says Jane Bullowa, the assistant superintendent for instructional services at the Ulster boces. But the program’s been unable to build a network with neighboring leadership programs or forge a partner- ship with the State University of New York at New Paltz, as the creators of the initiative had intended, Bullowa says. Elsewhere, districts are increasingly collaborating with universities to provide more coaching and longer-term internships and residencies for aspiring principals. A 2010 paper from the New York City-based Wallace Foundation found that districts could improve the quality of principals by acting as “consumers,” encouraging local universities to craft programs that met their needs. (The Wallace Foundation also supports coverage of educational leadership in Education Week.) The edc’s King says such training is helpful “particularly in chronically low-performing schools, where context matters so much. Leaders are given an induction into what the experience is like, and how it differs from different contexts.” The University of Illinois at Chicago’s program, for instance, which is focused on preparing principals to improve low-performing urban schools, puts students in full-time residencies in schools similar to those where they are likely to end up working. “We didn’t believe the best place to train future leaders of Chicago schools was in high-income suburban schools or selective-enrollment schools,” says Steven Tozer, a professor of education policy PAGE 6 > ber. I think the lack of morale comes in the frustration that the average, isolated educator feels because the problems we face are so enormous, and they are being solved by people who are so desperate for a magic bullet that they’ll throw anything at the wall to see what sticks. They throw this policy, that policy, this legislation, that legislation, this reading program, that reading program. And nobody follows through, nobody calibrates the system or returns to these programs to see if any of them are working. No one actually gives us a faithful and honest shot. Everybody’s reform measures are very well-intentioned. Because everybody does want the same thing. It’s just that we teachers hunger for a solution that is crafted out of what we know works, that gives us the best shot at succeeding, and that happens over time and with great and careful stewardship. It is a process that should involve teachers every step of the way. But a lot of teachers aren’t staying in their jobs long enough to figure out what works either—they’re leaving within three years or five years. How do you propose we retain effective teachers? One way is to legitimize the profession by giving teachers a career path. So a teacher could enter as a novice and earn an income that’s sustainable for their lives. And then as they develop skills, as they develop talent, as they deliver results for kids and schools, they could move into another lane, where they could have a different job title—maybe a mentor teacher—and make a new salary that’s reflective of their new responsibilities, such as to train new teachers and to enact ideas at a school site. And then after a few more years of building skills and getting even more results, they could move into a master-teacher role or a veteran-teacher role and make more money that would be commensurate with more responsibility, such as acting more administratively, enabling large-scale Singapore Press/AP National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki speaks widely on the issues facing schools. She believes teachers need more opportunities for career growth. programs at a school or district to happen, writing curriculum, teaching other teachers, and leading professional-development opportunities. This lattice or ladder or tiered system would ensure that a teacher actually has somewhere to go if they’re ambitious, if they’re a results-getter, if they’re admired by their peers. Right now, the way virtually 90 percent of school systems are run, it’s just a step-and-column model. You get to the end just by entering and you get to the top of the pay scale by living longest. That has to go away. That is such a dinosaur. It doesn’t honor ambition, it doesn’t attract talent. It just attracts longevity. Also, if I’m a really good teacher, I don’t want to have PAGE 7 > Vanessa Solis PERSPECTIVE Creating a School Culture That Is Collaborative By Justin Minkel Kids pay more attention to what we do as educators than what we say. That simple truth has profound implications for teaching 21st-century skills: If we want students to collaborate, innovate, and solve problems, we need to model these skills ourselves. During the best week of professional development I have experienced, my colleagues and I taught one another. On Monday, our school’s math coach stopped by my classroom to look at student work together and plan next steps. The following day, she observed me teaching and gave me the constructive criticism I had invited. Later that week, I went down the hall to watch an outstanding new teacher in the grade above mine integrate technology with productive group work. On Friday, the teacher next door came over to observe how I use the Writers’ Workshop method to teach expository-text structures. My colleagues and I did what teachers in Singapore reportedly do so well—we took part in an “ecosystem” of education, an open system that enables best practices to escape the confines of each teacher’s classroom. We also did what Ronald Thorpe, the head of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, talked about at last year’s International Summit on the Teaching Profession. Observing good teaching is not enough, he emphasized. Teacher leaders need to make explicit not just what they’re doing, but what they’re thinking. We made time to share the thought process behind the instruction we observed in each other’s classrooms. This intellectual aspect of collaboration has reportedly made Finland a leader in teacher recruitment and retention as well as student achievement. In that country, teaching is a knowledge profession where teacher leaders engage in inquiry together. At my school, the benefit of this collaboration to our students was twofold. First, we became better teachers that week. Second, we practiced what we preached. We set goals to hone our strengths and address our weaknesses, then worked together to meet those goals, just as we expect our students to do. In high-achieving countries, action research isn’t just something preservice teachers do to get their teaching credential. Instead, designing questions about the craft of teaching is an integral part of teacher leaders’ ongoing professional development. At a policy level, the best systems bring teacher leaders and policymakers together as partners rather than adversaries. We have all seen politicians who cite the United States’ rankings on international assessments to highlight the need for improvement and then go on to suggest reforms like privatizing education or punishing “failing” schools that are the exact opposite of the best practices implemented by high-performing nations. As teacher leaders, we need to make this simple case: If we want to transform the systems that shape 21st-century students, we need to transform the systems that shape 21st-century teachers, too. n Justin Minkel, the 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, teaches 2nd and 3rd grades at a high-poverty elementary school. This piece originally appeared in Education Week Teacher’s online forum Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable. education Week 2013 CALENDAR OF EVE NTS & P RO F ES SI O NAL DEV EL O P ME NT DI RE CT O RY 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013

Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013
Principal Development Goes Back to School
National Teacher of the Year: Educators Need Career Paths
Creating a School Culture That Is Collaborative
Teacher Satisfaction: A Matter of Principal
Lessons From Reality TV on Supporting Teachers
2013 Calendar of Events
Sponsors of Events
Subject Index
Directory Table of Contents
Directory Index
Directory Listings

Education Week - Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory - Spring 2013