On Tuesday of this week, we held our last personalized learning teacher training of the year. To date, we have had an opportunity to spend a full school day sharing ideas with (and learning from) nearly 200 educators across our district. These training sessions, groups of no more than 22 teachers at a time, have afforded our district the space to hold conversations about the personalization of learning in a way that is both clear and consistent.
That clarity and consistency are byproducts of two key components…
- Our vision to identify personalized elements as both entry points for teachers and also as look-fors for observers.
- Our experience with personalization has produced enough solid examples of personalized practices that we now have the ability to share our own stories, our lessons learned (successes and failures), in a way that has supported our new-to-personalization educators with incites that have lead to positive experiences with their own individual launch.
Our trainings provided more than just time to hold these conversations. They were an investment for us as collaborators towards building positive, working relationships with our educators, and those relationships then carried over into our follow-up support during our individual teacher collaborations.
Throughout the year, our goal for these days was expressed through this quote…
…and we as collaborators held to this goal of shifting thinking around the aforementioned elements, which in turn led to educators creating their own vision and goals for professional development. This created a form of personalized, teacher-driven PD that was inspiring to be around and support as we tried to be a sounding board (and at times a bit of a tech Swiss Army Knife lol) to help bring their goals to fruition – with a personalized aspect to each.
Looking back, it’s remarkable to think about the number of positive interactions, ideas shared, and initiatives launched as a result of these training days. Every day this year it has been a joy to serve our educators in support of this common vision, and in the past month in particular, it has been powerful to watch these practices take off in classrooms across the district. We are making significant progress towards improving student learning!
In closing, I am certainly grateful to be a part of a district that values innovation and hires educators who are willing to do whatever is necessary to support each and every learner with the quality educational experience that they need. We have standards and expectations, but we also have the flexibility to be professional practitioners who can implement practices that are best for the unique learners that we serve. How special is that! We’ve grown so much in a year, and I am ecstatic about the potential our collective work has moving forward as we continue to build up our teachers over the summer, into the next school year, and beyond.
Note: To hear some of those amazing stories and to pick up some of practical, application examples of personalization in the classroom, check out the Westside Personalized podcast on iTunes.