Don't Ever Stop | Feeding the Fire Part 4
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Feeding the Fire Part 4

  |   PersonalIzed Mastery

This blog continues the focus on the early adopters at a SW Colorado elementary school in the fall of 2015.  New staff were added to the Y1 cohort and learned about the implementation of proficiency ladders with the Y2 cohort teachers during work-week.  All staff in the Y1 cohort are now learning how to personalize their classrooms and share ownership of the classroom processes with their learners. DES conducted a half-day professional development that included tools and processes that will establish a personalized classroom culture, giving students more voice and choice.

The tools and processes were cIMG_1369ollected in an on-line and paper copy and teachers were encouraged to write Plan-Do-Check-Adjust plans for the tools’ implementation. Classroom environment tools were created with students to ensure student active engagement and independence.  DES has already been in classrooms this fall providing feedback and next steps for teachers.  In the principal’s weekly update, she noticed an over 70% implementation in the tools already this fall, with a 100% goal. (See picture from a 1st grade classroom)

The success of this effort is due to the risk-taking and trust of the staff in one another.  Teachers are not afraid of trying something new, and “checking and adjusting” the strategy if it isn’t the way they want it the first time.  They are willing to reach out to each other and DES for support and consultation.  The staff is now beginning to see the bigger picture that proficiency ladders and bar charts were only two tools in an overall larger reform towards Personalized Mastery.

This principal is courageous and is implementing these strategies because she knows this is in the best interest of her students.  She took over a failing school two years ago and changed the culture to focus on the needs of children.  She realized soon that that faculty was not standards-based and needed a conscious discipline system to re-train student behaviors.  This included making learning more relevant for students.  These tools and processes are just some of the solutions on which the staff is working.

Her efforts were the reason many schools in the district are now undertaking these strategies at their school.  One way collective efficacy is developed is through the use of a vicarious experience.  By sharing the practices at this one school, teachers and leaders at other schools are now seeing this as a viable strategy at their schools as well (see Bursting Into Flame- Blog 9/22/15).

AUTHOR - Gene Giddings