A Worthwhile Investment

“Instead of micromanaging teachers, principal should lead efforts to collectively monitor student achievement through professional learning communities.”

How Do Principals Really Improve Schools? Rick Dufour and Mike Mattos

The article from which this quote was taken discusses the paradoxical position principals are in between the emphasis placed on teacher evaluation and what really works to improve schools.  The authors write that while the approach to improved teaching and learning based on more frequent and intensive evaluation is the cornerstone of many school improvement efforts, it alone is an ineffective strategy to raising student achievement.

When our state first switched to our Professional Growth and Effectiveness system, I felt optimistic about using rubrics to help clarify and identify specific observable behaviors that help teachers become effective.  I appreciate how the Danielson framework takes teaching and learning and places them on a continuum.   I love the emphasis on instruction and in coaching teachers to become more effective.  I do, however; agree with the authors on their assertions that evaluation is an ineffective strategy to rely on to raise student achievement.

While I had come to this conclusion on my own, this article does serve to remind me of the power of the PLC process in increasing student achievement.  It is affirmation that I am on the right track in the emphasis I am placing on team planning, analysis of classroom data, and building structures this year that will lead to a true focus on what Dufour and Mattos describe as the “collective analysis of evidence of student learning.”

As my time from 7:30 to 3:30 is many times is dictated by situations that come up unexpectedly, I have to be very intentional about how I allocate my time.  I have to give priority to those experiences or initiatives that have research behind them proving their impact on student achievement—PLCs are a worthwhile investment

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