Leadership Matters

 

Nothing in the assistant principal’s role is more important for ensuring successful student learning than effective instructional leadership. As an assistant principal, who primarily focus include literacy instruction and student achievement, I also nurture the leadership capabilities of our teachers. In addition, while our school is moving in the right direction, our leadership team harness effective leading and learning. Combining these efforts with effective collaboration of statistical research information appropriately, as well as monitoring what takes place in the classroom, will increase the likelihood that the school will achieve its goals for student achievement thus maintaining teacher capacity at all times.

The notion of Building Teacher Capacity is one of the most rewarding aspects of our job as instructional leaders. We have an opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with the teachers we directly supervise, inspire and motivate on a daily basis. How well we do our job here has a major impact on student achievement, school climate, teacher leadership and implications on the public perceptions of our school and community. School leaders must be focused and intentional.  We also need to be able to provide direct/indirect support, as well as, build trust, while maintaining a clear vision for the school. Alongside my principal, I am one of the instructional leaders and a passionate educator in my building, I have numerous professional responsibilities that assist me in being an effective instructional leader. My primary responsibility is to provide evidenced based feedback to teachers on a consistent basis.

 

To build teacher capacity involves being focused and intentional. As a school leader who is constantly improving in her craft, while continuing to build my brand, I know I   must remain focused throughout all that I do. As an educational leader, I will be tested by teachers, parents, students, community members, district personnel alike. When we utilize and build teacher capacity we are able to provide the best evidence based feedback and support possible. Instructional leaders must have a strong understanding of teachers’ strengths and weaknesses.  By meeting with my teachers weekly in collaborative planning, individual data meetings, grade level data meetings, weekly professional development and through classroom observations, I am able to acknowledge areas of growth and help them grow professionally first hand, and being actively involved. This helps to ensure teachers’ are comfortable with me and reinforce my expectations of them. On a professional level, this affords me many opportunities to talk and witness instructional delivery, collaborative planning and student-teacher relationships and determine their areas of need. I, as assistant principal, have the capability to observe major areas of concern and proceed with corrective actions that includes follow-up and lots of feedback. I believe change is a result of influence & inspiration. It is my hope this post has some influence on the reader and inspire you to be awesome.

This blog has a purpose and as I write it, I see grander developments to come from it.  Your comments are welcome and will support my growth and development.

Assistant Principal Giles                                                                                                    @tiawanag

 

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Collaborative Blogging: Process and Design

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5 Pathways to Productive and Purposeful Professional Development

5 Pathways to Productive and Purposeful Professional Development

The following article is the first in a series of collaborative efforts by the K-12 blogging team of Dean J. Fusto (www.teachlearnlead.org), Assistant Principal, Tiawana Giles (@tiawanag), and Anthony Poullard (thepoullard.wordpress.com).

In many K-12 schools, professional development is undergoing a long overdue metamorphosis. The paradigm has shifted in two significant ways. First, we have seen a deviation away from “sage on stage” outside “experts” delivering content and training. Second, teachers have asserted their voice through professional development designs like Edcamps and unconferences. In this post, we share 5 ideas of models that represent productive and purposeful professional development.

  1. Teacher Talks – An informal opportunity for purpose-driven educational chats within the campus. Teachers populate the topics of interests (personal and professional) and 30-minute chats are “facilitated” by teacher leaders on campus. The sessions build on the collective knowledge and experiences in the room. Here are a few examples of Teacher Talks at a Texas high school.
  1. Genius Hour(s) – An opportunity for educators to focus on their own passions to guide and strengthen their professional learning. Time and expectations are strategically designed for educators to learn more and share within the learning community.
  1. Social Media Learning
    • Educators choose a hashtag (#) on Twitter that reflects their passion and interests to support professional learning. For a comprehensive listing of hashtags, visit the Twitter-PLN page at the www.teachlearnlead.org edu-library.
    • In addition, by exploring other social media sites with an educational focus, teachers can bring ideas back to their classroom and/or professional learning community. Some popular online resources used by educators are listed below:
      • Twitter
      • Teachers Pay Teachers
      • Pinterest
      • Linkedin
      • Facebook
      • Blogs
      • Voxer
  • Initiative Focused Professional Development – A pathway focused on strengths and needs of school staff. Differentiation of expertise is an essential component within this model to support novice and experienced teachers appropriately.The goal is to help empower teachers and build teacher capacity while increasing student achievement using a common focus.
  • Books -in- Common – This model, ideally, includes all teachers and administrators in a school. Through a shared reading on any topic in K-12 education, all stakeholders can discuss themes, skills, and standards presented in the book. The chosen text could connect to current school initiatives or to broader themes in education. The goal is to add to a school knowledge base, support professional learning, and encourage ongoing conversations. Depending on the topic, a shared reading project might also open doors of communication with parents and help bridge the gap between home and school.

George Curous highlights in his new book, The Innovator’s Mindset, that “the focus… of today’s professional development does not inspire teachers to be creative, nor does it foster a culture of innovation. Instead, it forces inspired educators to color outside the lines, and even break the rules, to create relevant opportunities for their students. These outliers form pockets of innovation.”

We hope through these purposeful and productive models that “pockets of innovation” become the norm throughout education. Please contact any of us for more information, logistics, and reflection on any of these ideas.

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Collaborative Blogging K-12

I am collaborating with two outstanding educators, Dean J. Fusto (www.teachlearnlead.org), and Anthony Poullard (thepoullard.wordpress.com) to create a partnership through blogging. We are set to launch this innovative  blog series  on Monday, October 26, 2015.  This initiated  from our shared passion for learning 24/7. I hope many of you join and share this with your PLN as we will continue to grow through blogging. Our first post is entitled, 5 Pathways to Productive and Purposeful Professional Development. 

Assistant Principal Giles

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