My eyes were opened to the PLC concept in 2001 when I first attended a PLC conference and heard Rick DuFour and Bob Eaker speak in Toronto. Since then, I’ve been passionate and committed to the work—so seeing other people who have that same passion and enthusiasm is just AWESOME! It is exciting to be at a conference and watch the participants’ eyes light up with ideas. It is exciting to watch participants taking it all in. It is exciting to watch participants begin thinking about how to take this all back to their schools or districts. The struggle sometimes is with the how. How do we even begin this monumental task of taking all that you learned back to your colleagues and/or supervisors? Read more
Jasmine K. Kullar
Jasmine K. Kullar, EdD, is an assistant superintendent for Cobb County School District, the second-largest school district in Georgia. She has expertise in building professional learning communities as well as school leadership.
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In 2001, the National Association of Secondary School Principals wrote: “It is estimated that in the next decade 40 percent of today’s principals will retire. School leaders who are retiring are not being replaced by enough qualified candidates,” (NASSP, 2001). Since then, several articles have been written and research conducted to show that school leadership is linked to student achievement. Finding qualified school leaders is more important than ever if we are to accomplish the ongoing task of improving schools.
In many school districts, this is the time where application processes begin to open up for potential assistant principal or principal vacancies. Not only school leaders should be qualified, but having an extensive knowledge and experience with PLC’s would help today’s school leader tremendously. Read more
This season, I want to thank all educational leaders who have mentored new principals and helped them in some way – thank you for continuing to grow, mentor and support leaders! Wikipedia defines mentoring as the “personal developmental relationships in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.” As you’re reading this, think of someone who made a big impact in your career, someone who you learned from, someone who made you better, someone who inspired you to make a difference. Make sure you thank them! Now think about someone who you made an impact on. How have you given back by being a mentor to a new principal?
In a recent staff development session, I was asked whether or not principals should require their teachers to submit lesson plans. It turned into such an interesting conversation, that I thought I’d write about it!
Are Lesson Plans Necessary?
Let’s first look at the purpose of lesson plans. The purpose is for a teacher to have a well thought out plan that ties to the standards, has a clear beginning, middle and end, with various instructional strategies embedded throughout. I have had the pleasure of working with several hundred teachers over the last few years and I have never seen a teacher who does not do that. I’ve never seen a teacher who just woke up one morning and on her way to work, decided what she felt like teaching that day and then, when she got into the classroom, just talked off the top of her head with whatever came to mind. The essence of working in professional learning communities is that teachers are collaborating with each other and having discussions about “What do we want our students to know?” “How do we know if our students learned it?” “What do we do when students don’t learn it?” and “What do we do when they do learn it?” The very nature of these four questions is embedded in instructional planning, using research based instructional strategies and varied assessments.
With all the emphasis on making data driven decisions, testing, accountability and continuous student improvement, sometimes we forget the most basic, simple thing – being nice and respectful! Creating a culture of being nice goes a long way and could make the biggest difference in student achievement.