Friday, May 23, 2014

Measuring A Successful Year, So Far.

(courtesy of shutterstock.com)

Wouldn't you know it, another year is in the books! Seems like just yesterday we were handing out locker combinations, having back-to-school orientations and welcoming in a new crew of students ready to learn.

And then, BAM! The year is coming to a close. Final exams, locker clean-out, collecting textbooks (fewer and fewer each year) and of course traditional end-of-the-year celebrations.

With that, time to reflect. There are many ways to measure the year.  How you chose to measure yours is up to you, here is what I learned this year:

1. We are DIGITAL. More than ever teachers and students understand what Digital Citizenship is and what it means. We defined it, embraced it and recognize the value of our "footprints". We are blending our instruction. We are taking the technology and enhancing, not replacing, our instruction through being digital.

2. How we are ASSESSING student learning is evolving. By looking at our grading practices we continue to shift toward a Standards-Based Grading model. We are investing time in what matters most, what students are learning and how they show mastery.

3. Being INNOVATIVE is a mindset. Teachers are making connections with kids and looking at their method of instruction. We are embedding Genius Hour, Choice Boards and Back Channeling more then ever before and their implementation across the classrooms is contagious. Teaching looks different, it feels different.

4. We encourage learning through RISK-TAKING. Failure is a path to success. We want teachers to feel supported to try new ideas and experiment in their classrooms. Allowing teachers and administrators to explore is the norm.

5. More then ever we are about PERSONALIZING a child's academic journey. Educators are taking their lessons and tailoring it to the individual needs of each child. We are meeting kids where they are at and growing them from there. We've been doing that, we are just getting  better at it. 

6. We are MODELING best practice as teachers and as administrators. Teachers are letting students drive instruction and own both sides of the teaching and the learning. Administrators are sharing their knowledge and insights through classroom walkthroughs and constructive feedback. The actual classroom is just a part of the learning experience. Quality, purposeful dialogue is essential to powerful instruction.

7. We are CONNECTED. Social media is so much more than a bridge for people to share their happenings. As educators we are tweeting, blogging and sharing more then ever. It connects content, people, creates partnerships with countless resources and information is reaching others at a speed never seen before. The world is at our fingertips.  

8. We are AGENTS OF CHANGE and with that comes the need to be in the forefront of the academic path. Understanding the world of education is vital to our success. As agents, accept change, it can be powerful. We must know what is happening around us so it does not happen to us.

9. We are LISTENING. As educators we understand the value of hearing what others are saying. Those voices come from parents, colleagues, professionals and most significantly, our students. If we continue to listen, we will grow.

10. We are ONE. Having given of ourselves for the better part of 180 days, we recognized the need to work collectively and in the best interest of all. Trying to accomplish greatness alone is an unimaginable task. Accept that as educators, we work best together.

Measuring success is a form of reflection, so is measuring failures. One is more comfortable then the other. This list does not capture everything, however it is a start. How you measure a year is up to you, this is where I am at, so far.