This summer I read Regie Routman's newest book, Literacy Essentials. The book overflows with poignant stories, quotes, research, and suggestions. I found myself especially drawn to the chapter titled Embedding Professional Learning. Her wisdom helped launch my school into the year with a focus on learning and growing professionally together in a new and refreshing way. Regie has perfect timing.
We began the year with this quote in mind from Regie's book. "Perhaps more than any other dynamic, positive and lasting change in a school accelerates and takes hold only when the principal and staff come together on commonly held beliefs that align with research-based practices." Based on Regie's work, my brilliant instructional coach and I designed three PD opportunities that led our staff to create six to seven common beliefs for reading, writing, and math.
For example, following a DBI on balanced literacy (borrowed from our generous Idaho Coaching Network friends), staff members individually brainstormed their reading beliefs. Vertical teams then created posters of their common ideas. Each person used sticker dots to vote for her top six beliefs. After some revisions, staff members had the opportunity to provide feedback.
The final beliefs for all three areas are now on our wall where we will be able to intentionally interact with them throughout the year. I'm excited to see where these important building blocks lead us.