Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Beginnings...

Today is the day it all starts in Western New York. For most teachers, it was their day to go back, and for a select few, it was the day that kids started back. By next Tuesday and Wednesday, everybody in the state will be back in.

The beginning of school has always been exciting for me--it's new, it's full of possibilities, and it begins a new year of experiences that will guide my future path. I'm already beginning my reflective process now and thinking about the things that I want to guide me in my practice this coming school year.

Because I'm working with teachers on many different projects and with many different resources, challenges, and abilities, I like to try to maintain strong pedagogical frames around the work I do. That said, these are my goals for the coming year with all of the staff development and curricular activities I'll be supporting:

  1. Based on recent conversations with colleagues, with teachers, with administrators, and with my Virtual Learning Community, I'm seeing the value in being "data-informed" rather than "data-driven."  I think it's important to appreciate all of the pieces of the puzzle to develop direction and make the biggest differences in what people know and are able to do.
  2. I want to continue to facilitate conversation and collegiality with those I work with.  Conversation is the most important part of REALLY and TRULY making a difference.
  3. I want to help teachers understand that evidence is a good thing.  Evidence for the Skills and Content that are taught are another important piece of "data informed" learning.  
  4. I want to continue to develop quality versus quantity, meaning that I want to continue to build sustainability and continue to help teachers build their own capacity.
  5. I want to continue to develop a framework around supporting intern teachers, particularly with 21st century skills and the development of truly helpful learning communities.
I'm writing this primarily for myself, as I give myself a "Direction for Reflection."  I like being able to look back at the road map, and seeing if I'm still on the journey I intended to take, and if not, use these goals as a guide to get back on track.

Here's to good beginnings!  I hope you all have a great 2009-2010!



  1. commenting on #2: is it the conversation that makes the difference, or the action that comes after the conversation that is more important? Just talking the talk in a curriculum meeting doesn't produce results in the classroom.

  2. Conversation is just the beginning step. Action is based on continued conversation and vested interest in a collegial approach (which develops as a result of conversation.) Talking the talk in a curriculum meeting is great, but it's a developmental process, versus a one time event. Conversation breeds ideas, those ideas slowly turn to practice, and that practice (with continued conversation) turns into making the difference...

  3. Would love a post that elaborated on the difference between being data-driven and data-informed, Mike. What does each look like in practice? I think people may have different perceptions around what this means. I'm eager to learn more about what this means to you.