In Part 1 of "Teching it Up K-12 -- Success Stories," originally presented at the Arizona CIO/CTO Forum 2011, we focused on the importance of a learning-centric vision. Our focus for Part 2 was developing a learning culture through peer coaching.
Serving others through Peer Coaching
With all the professional development needed to sustain one-to-one, PBL, 21st century learning, and individualized instruction, we turned to the Microsoft Peer Coaching model developed by the Peer-Ed team.
The beauty of Peer-Ed's training modules was the adaptability to our district's vision. To highlight the "collaboration" role of peer coaches, we called them "collaboration coaches."
Collaboration Coaching, Catalyst for Culture Shift
We tapped into full time teachers as our collaboration coaches. They focused on creating a 21st century learning environment in their own classrooms, while also working with a small group of teachers for increased collaboration.
Doors started opening because teachers understood the expectations of collaborating, sharing ideas, and resources focused on 21st century learning. As a result, the culture shifted to a learning and sharing culture.
Coaching Culture in One to One
The eight coaches at Cactus Canyon Junior High also had the added role of navigating the changes of becoming a one-to-one environment.
Pedagogy & D.I.
Staff development focused on pedagogy and differentiated instruction with technology infused in it.
For example, instead of talking about how to use Google Forms, we discussed formative assessment and checking for understanding. After brainstorming various ways to use Google Forms as formatives, we created our own.
PLC -- the mini PDs
Some people learned web 2.0 tools quickly, while others needed ongoing, mini professional developments. Voluntary 30 minute trainings were offered once a week. This gave teachers a chance to try it out in their classrooms, with the comfort of knowing there'd be continued followup.
The teachers were so responsive to learning shoulder-to-shoulder, they expanded to four days of voluntary PD, completely ran by the coaches. They became a learning community, there to support one another. Awesome!
Collaboration Coaching built capacity. It's a shared leadership model that fostered a supportive learning community.
- How do you grow, develop, and nurture a learning community?
- How do you improve the learning culture and climate at your school, classroom, or PLN?
In Part 3, we will focus on 21st century learning, blogging, and PLN.