A Clearinghouse for Martensdale-St. Marys Community Schools Professional Development

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Whatever It Takes, Chapter 8

As we approach the completion of our study, chapter eight asks us to identify "common threads." A significant portion of the study guide questions focus on the nebulous concept of leadership. It is important to remember that leadership is isn't a quality relegated only to building principals, district administrators, department heads, or other titles commonly associated with "leaders." Your thinking and focus on our study of this book clearly illustrates a strong leadership in our staff as well. You are leaders in your classrooms, and it is the one place where you know you can make small but significant changes to ensure students are learning. Take some time to meditate on the concept of leadership with your cohort using the questions below.

1. This chapter describes principals who used “simultaneous loose-tight leadership” in implementing improvement processes in their schools. What are the things leaders must be “tight” about if they hope to create PLCs?

2. Provide examples of how principals empowered their staffs (were “loose”) by giving them significant authority and autonomy in the improvement process.

3. Consider how you might apply the concept of simultaneous loose-tight leadership in your school.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whatever It Takes, Chapter Seven

We begin the spring semester with a look at chapter seven in Whatever It Takes. In this chapter, the focus is on another elementary school, Los Penasquitos, located in San Diego, California. While there are a great number of differences between Los Pen and MstM (ethnicity, SES, size, etc.), there are a lot of lessons to learn from this school's systemic and systematic approach to engaging all learners.

1. How did Los Penasquitos Elementary School . . .
a. Identify students who needed additional time and support for learning?
b. Provide that additional time and support?

2. Compare and contrast the Boones Mill plan for intervention with the Los Penasquitos plan for intervention.

3. How are the commitments presented in the Los Pen Pledge different from the belief statements included in most strategic planning and visioning processes being used by schools?

4. Contrast the use of the Los Pen Student Success Team with the typical use of Child Study Teams in traditional schools.

5. Los Pen operates under the assumption that student achievement data should be easily accessible to and openly shared among teachers. Is student achievement data easily accessible and openly shared in your school? What steps might be taken to make this happen in your school?