Steven Weber

Superintendent or Asst Super

Fayetteville, AR

Interests: Curriculum design and...

  • Posted 1 Month ago
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It's A Photo Finish

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As classrooms across the United States enter the final homestretch, educators pause to reflect on the school year. Some teachers discovered new instructional strategies in 2017-2018, while others invested in a teacher and served as a mentor.  “If you want to make discoveries, if you want to disrupt the status quo, if you want to make progress and find new ways of thinking and doing, you need to ask questions” (John Maxwell, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, 2014).  Continuous improvement should be about answering questions, rather than checking off goals.   

Leadership author Jim Collins (1995) wrote, the critical question we need to ask is "'How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?' The challenge is to build for the long term while doing well today." The following questions can be used with teacher teams, district leadership, or as individual reflection.

 

10 Questions To Support Reflection

  1. What did the students in our school accomplish this year?

  2. Were there areas that stood out as weaknesses or areas that students did not grow?

  3. If we could create a highlight reel from our classroom, which moments would make the video?

  4. Did we have a return on instruction (ROI)? (Evidence/Artifacts)

  5. What was the ratio of compliance vs. contribution in my classroom/school?

  6. What role did formative assessment play in measuring the written, taught, and understood curricula?  What lessons did we learn this year?

  7. Did our learning space support student understanding of the key skills, concepts, and soft skills that our staff has identified as important?

  8. Is personalized learning part of our planning or does every student receive the same assignment?

  9. How did we include families as partners during teaching and learning?

  10. What questions does our team have as we move into the summer months?

Rudolph Matheny (2018) wrote, “Reflecting on the current year’s success helps fill our buckets for next year and feelings of progress help us avoid burnout. It also reminds us of what we want to continue and build on for next year.”

As schools come to the end of another academic year, teachers and administrators seem to be in a race to the finish line. Principals and assistant principals are focused on completing teacher evaluations; teachers and students are reviewing key concepts and skills; and front office staff are busy collecting room keys, class materials, and items needed for inventory. At the end of the school year, it feels like we are trying to beat Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash rather than focusing on the whole child. How can reflection take place throughout the year and not be relegated to the final faculty meeting where most of the staff sing “Curriculum Kum Ba Yah” and then head to the closest restaurant to celebrate the end of the school year?

Developing habits of continual growth and improvement requires self-reflection. As we as individuals, staffs, and organizations reflect on our actions, we gain important information about the efficacy of our thinking. These experiences let us practice the habit of continual growth through reflection.   

- Art Costa and Bena Kallick, Educational Leadership - April 2000

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