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From Commitment to Practice: Realizing the Promise of Learning Communities

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Title: From Commitment to Practice: Realizing the Promise of Learning Communities


1
Doing What it Takes
Washington Educational Research Association March
10, 2006
From Commitment to Practice Realizing the
Promise of Learning Communities
Anne Conzemius
2
Tay Chew!
3
Why did you choose education as a career?
4
When did you become a teacher?
5
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6
Professional vs. Technician
The Professionals expertise is derived from and
thrives upon
  • Commitment to the Work Itself
  • Research
  • Rigorous, Shared Learning
  • Feedback on Performance
  • Professional Development

7
Professional vs. Technician
The Professionals expertise is derived from and
thrives upon
  • Commitment to the Work Itself

8
Why are you here today ?
9
Why are We Here Today?
To Get Better Results!
10
Getting Better Results
3 Ways to Get Better Results
Cheat Distort the Data
11
NYC Probe Levels Test-Cheating Charges
  • 32 of the citys 675 elementary and middle
    schools were found cheating on exams that
    determine student promotions, school rankings,
    and appraisals of principals performance.
  • More than 50 NYC educators face dismissal.
    Education Week, December 1999

12
NYC Probe Levels Test-Cheating Charges
Education Week, December 1999
The methods that were used seem to be widely
known. Wed be lucky indeed if these were the
only ones cheating. New Yorks Commissioner
of Education
13
Getting Better Results
3 Ways to Get Better Results
Cheat Distort the Data
Cheat Bigger Distort the System
14
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15
Getting Better Results
3 Ways to Get Better Results
Cheat Distort the Data
Cheat Bigger Distort the System
Continuously Improve the System
16
Mental Models shape our thinking filter what
we hear lead us to conclusions
NCLB
17
Why are We Doing This?
To Get Better Results!
  • Compliance

Vs.
Commitment
18
Professional vs. Technician
The Professionals expertise is derived from and
thrives upon
  • Commitment to the Work Itself
  • Research

19
Why does WERA exist ?
20
WERA Mission
  • To improve the professional practice of educators
    engaged in instruction, assessment, evaluation,
    and research of
  • assessing student performance,
  • evaluating programs,
  • conducting and applying educational research,
    and
  • using data to inform instructional decisions.

21
Heres what the some of the research says...
Its a mammoth!
Early Microscope
22
Professional Learning Communities
The most promising strategy for sustained,
substantial school improvement is developing the
ability of school personnel to function as
professional learning communities.
-- Richard DuFour Robert Eaker, Professional
Learning Communities at Work (1998)
23
How Successful Schools Achieve High Performance
The quality of education for children depends
more on basic human and social
resources in school, especially on
the commitment and competence (the
will and skill) of educators, and on students
efforts to learn.
-- Center on Organization Restructuring of
Schools 1995 research results based on studies of
1500 schools
24
Sustainable and Substantial School Improvement
  • Will...
  • Desire and Purpose
  • Skill...
  • Knowledge, tools and processes

WILL SKILL IMPROVEMENT
25
BUTIts Not That Easy!
26
Warning! Traditional schooling can be
habit-forming.
27
We are Creatures of Habit
Color
RED or BLUE
Flower
Couch or Chair
Furniture
Tool
28
Professional vs. Technician
The Professionals expertise is derived from and
thrives upon
  • Commitment to the Work Itself
  • Research
  • Rigorous, Shared Learning

29
  • If YOU build it,
  • they will NOT come.
  • Rick DuFour and Bob Eaker
  • Professional Learning Communities at Work

30
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31
  • People must learn themselves through change.
  • - Linda Lambert,
  • Building Leadership Capacity in Schools

32
The Learning Community
  • The path to change in the classroom lies within
    and through the learning
    communities which generate
    knowledge, craft new norms of
    practice and sustain participants in their
    efforts to reflect, examine, experiment, and
    change.
  • Talbert and McLaughlin (1993)

33
  • Reciprocal

A community of learners engaged in a reciprocal
learning process around a common purpose and set
of core values.
Learning
Purpose
Community
Linda Lambert
34
Core Values of Communities
  • Caring
  • Learning
  • Respect
  • Shared Responsibility
  • Democracy

35
Democratic Values
  • Democratic values are either reinforced or not in
    the classrooms, hallways and offices of our
    schools.
  • Authentic engagement in leading and learning
    reinforce the values of our democracy.

36
Reflection
  • Think about a time when you had to take a
    courageous step or action consistent with
    the core values of a Learning Community.

37
How do you know you are a teacher?
38
You know you are a teacher when you know the
children have learned.
39
Professional vs. Technician
The Professionals expertise is derived from and
thrives upon
  • Commitment to the Work Itself
  • Research
  • Rigorous, Shared Learning
  • Feedback on Performance

40
The Learning Community
  • A culture in which collaborative reflection on
    the meaning of data creates energy and commitment
    for improving the system of learning that
    produces the data.

41
Data help us totell the truth
And they motivate us to do something
differentlyif we want different results.
42
GOLF
From 70 to 100 consecutive Authentic
Performance Assessments within a three to four
hour time period.
43
A Tale of Three Schools
44
Frequency Distribution School A
Number of Students
45
Frequency Distribution School B
Number of Students
46
Frequency Distribution School C
Number of Students
47
And now for...
the rest of the story.
48
Who are the 4 kids in each classroom that are
struggling most?
BRAINSTORM What are your theories about
who these children are? Describe them.
49
The Results
  • Boys vs. Girls?
  • Young by comparison?
  • Minority?
  • Free and Reduced Lunch?
  • Parents not involved in conferences?
  • From a particular neighborhood?
  • Highly mobile?
  • No remedial help?
  • Attendance issues?

50
The Results
  • Boys vs. Girls?
  • Young by comparison?
  • Minority?
  • Free and Reduced Lunch?
  • Parents not involved in conferences?
  • From a particular neighborhood?
  • Highly mobile?
  • No remedial help?
  • Attendance issues?

51
Out of Our Hands
NOT
  • Community-based visits and tutoring.
  • Worked with apartment complexes to get to
    families quickly.
  • Transportation for families to come to evening
    events and conferences.
  • Restructured the school from traditional
    grade-levels to three year continuous looping of
    3-5 grade teams.

52
Reflection
  • Think about a time when you used data as a means
    to achieve a different result?
  • How did data guide your actions?

53
Professional vs. Technician
The Professionals expertise is derived from and
thrives upon
  • Commitment to the Work Itself
  • Research
  • Rigorous, Shared Learning
  • Feedback on Performance
  • Professional Development

54
S M A R T
Goals
55
SMART Goals
Specific Strategic Measurable Attainable Results
-oriented Timebound
56
SMART Goals
  • Characterized by high expectations
  • Collaboratively created
  • Monitored frequently as a tool for continuous
    learning improvement

57
Professional Development
  • In a Learning Community, professional development
    occurs through dialogue about student learning in
    which assumptions and mental models are
    challenged and practices are voluntarily changed.

58
Two Important Questions
  • Whats good enough?
  • 80 90 99
  • What do we truly believe
  • is possible?

59
  • Whats Good Enough?

If done right 99 of the time, there would only
be...
  • Two unsafe landings at OHare Airport each
    day,
  • 16,000 pieces of lost mail per hour,
  • 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions each year,
  • 22,000 checks deducted from the wrong
  • account every hour.

60
The Story of Cash
61
Either you live up to your expectations or you
live down to your expectations.
62
Reflection
  • Potential Mystery
  • Wheres the Cash in Your School?

63
A True Story
  • Common vision and values
  • Deep and skillful collaboration
  • Using data (learning) to inform
  • and enlighten the community
  • Understanding systems
  • Taking action one step at a time

64
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65
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66
I sheep!
67
So heres our plan for those pesky wolves...
68
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69
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70
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71
Be Courageous!
  • Be relentless in pursuit of high
  • expectations for each and every child.
  • Use data to inform and continuously
  • improve your professional practice.
  • Live your values and vision on a
  • daily basis.
  • Build capacity - Everyone a learner,
  • everyone a leader.

72
  • Dont forget to say Tay Chew often!

73
Leading with Courage and Soul
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