by Drew Perkins, Director of TeachThought PD

The beginning of each new 12 months normally brings an growing variety of requests from college leaders trying to focus on skilled improvement choices for the spring, summer season, and fall.

As we moved from January to February and into March that annual pattern was sometimes rising with every passing week. Then the world stopped. Properly, no less than it feels prefer it in so some ways, proper?

So what’s subsequent and the way may we put together? It’s unattainable to know the way lengthy faculties might want to conduct educating and studying with out having the ability to convene in-person however even then we are able to anticipate some issues will clearly be totally different.

Pondering by way of this problem it’s been useful for me to lean into our PD Refinement and Alignment Cycle course of as a framework. Clarifying your 1. mission/goal, 2. imaginative and prescient, and three. what actions will help them can present a approach to stay centered on what’s vital, which appears more and more tough these occasions of rising distraction.

See additionally The Drawback With Most Faculty Mission Statements

As a result of every little thing we do makes use of inquiry as a lens, I’ll body our goal or aim as a ‘Mission Query’ that features language from our TeachThought PD mission. Your ‘Mission Query’ could also be totally different based mostly in your group’s mission.

Mission Query: How can we be prepared to arrange our college students for the fashionable world in no matter circumstances we’re compelled to function in?

As I generated questions I would wish to know and reply to reply this I got here up with this checklist:

  1. How will we put together our academics?
  2. What do/will our academics want bodily, emotionally, and by way of pedagogy?
  3. What is going to the fashionable world demand?
  4. What infrastructure will we want?
  5. What infrastructure do we’ve got?
  6. How ought to we take into consideration pupil evaluation and accountability?
  7. How will we attain college students with out dependable web entry or gadgets?
  8. What number of academics have relations that require consideration throughout the “college day”?
  9. What software program will assist us educate successfully?
  10. How can we shift from much less ‘content material supply’ to extra inquiry, reflection, and meaning-making?

I’m sure I’ve missed some vital questions that might probably floor as we labored by way of the method. In PBL good ‘must know and be taught’ lists are dynamic, not static, as we traverse the cognitive terrain essential to fulfill the problem.

Imaginative and prescient

I like to consider imaginative and prescient statements extra as a group of proof.

What do we wish issues to look, sound, and really feel like?

How would we all know we’re making progress towards our mission?

What are the issues we’d search for proof of taking place or not taking place?

Right here’s the checklist of descriptive phrases I got here up with:

  1. a tradition of connections
  2. collaborative
  3. conversational
  4. content material and data meaningfully related by inquiry
  5. genuine
  6. vital
  7. related
  8. empowering
  9. dynamic
  10. versatile
  11. responsive

Once more, I’m positive there are extra, or even perhaps higher methods to explain the beliefs we’re in pursuit of. Regardless, we wish to make these issues we’re hoping to see seen as a goal with the tacit understanding that these are probably more difficult to realize in circumstances the place bodily distancing continues to be forcing a lot of our interactions on-line.


Now that we’ve got readability of what we’re aiming for, how are we going to attempt to get there?

What particular actions are we going to take?

  • skilled improvement wants that may assist academics with instruments and pedagogy
  • buying of {hardware} and/or software program
  • clarifying curriculum focus areas and greatest methods to make content material out there
  • techniques and practices to construct and keep cultural cohesiveness
  • evaluation practices and insurance policies for suggestions, grading, and accountability
  • differentiation practices for particular wants (each by way of cognitive capability and bodily entry) college students
  • flexibility for evolving circumstances of absolutely on-line (synchronous and asynchronous), a mix of on-line and in-person, or hopefully ultimately absolutely in-person


The fourth piece of the aforementioned alignment cycle contains fixed re-evaluation. This isn’t meant to occur as soon as or at any specific time however as a part of an ongoing follow of examination.

Are the actions supporting the mission and imaginative and prescient? If not, why not?

Are our mission and/or imaginative and prescient due for an adjustment?

If what we’re doing isn’t contributing to our aim, why are we doing it?

On this critique course of I prefer to have a lens for high quality so I’ve developed a rubric to information the considering. This single-point rubric supplies three easy qualitative statements we are able to use to information our pursuit of proof rooted in a framework we use to consider the parts of college.

Utilizing this as a device, we are able to cite particular proof of issues we observe as proof that what we’ve applied is working nicely or falling quick. Leaning into good formative evaluation follow we will be attentive to shortcomings by altering our actions to higher meet these aim statements.

The reintegration of parts of normalcy are prone to be a gradual and tedious course of. Faculty leaders will probably be compelled to innovate in methods they hadn’t wanted to contemplate earlier than and sure with important budgetary constraints.

Specializing in considering and inquiry abilities that may assist our learners be higher downside solvers looks as if a no brainer however the simpler route will probably be content material supply. 5 years from now we’ll probably have adjusted to some new regular and taking a look at preparation now and it’s invaluable to consider this as an train of flexibility and agility.

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