Saturday, January 14, 2017

High Reliability Schools

Good afternoon colleagues!

This past week, a co-worker and I sat in a team meeting. While completing the activity that was given to us, we had a side conversation about what we were doing. Our instructional coach provided us with a flip chart of Bloom's Taxonomy verbs and inquiry starters for each level. We were told to create a question for the top three levels of Bloom's. My partner and I had no problem coming up with these statements, and in fact, I was inspired to use one of the questions that day in my class!

My teammate wondered out loud if we were doing this activity because our school is actively seeking the level two High Reliability endorsement from Marzano. I hadn't even thought of it, but once she said it, it made sense. Our school just passed level one, so it makes sense that we would be working towards level two.

This made me think about three things this week: 1) what does level two entail, 2) how can I ensure that my teaching practices support level two, and 3) what has Marzano's High Reliability levels done for our school.

1. Level Two: Effective Teaching in Every Classroom: Our school has a committee that is working towards this process. The committee hasn't been secretive per se, but I will admit that most of the staff have no idea what exactly is going on. I do believe this is on purpose as the point is to make these practices common place within the school instead of people putting on a "dog and pony show" when the Marzano peeps come to town. I am lucky that a good friend is on the committee, so she's told me a few things about what Marzano is looking for. I still had to, however, do some online digging for more information. I found a decent PDF from 2014 that helped detail what I was looking for.

I feel like our school is doing a fairly decent job with level two, but we definitely have some work cut out for us over the next few months.

2. How do my teaching practices support level two: It is interesting to look at the indicators and see that it does not fall much on me, the classroom teacher. Many of the indicators come from administration or instructional coaches. What falls on me is clearly communicating with my grade level administrator, my evaluator, and the instructional coach on when I feel as though I am not being supported in these ways. I do think my teaching practices will come more into play if we attempt level three as a school. 

3. How things have changed at school: Now that I have a better idea of level two, it has become apparent how things changed from when I started teaching at Skyview eight years ago. In the last couple of years, I have noticed that I could request to attend trainings, or even more recently, I asked to co-teach with my mentee, and was enthusiastically given a "yes" and a "how can I help." For teachers to grow, they have to be given ways to further develop their pedagogy and curriculum. I do believe that our weaknesses, as a school, appear when talking about sharing effective instructional practices and being provided with clear, ongoing evaluations. It will be interesting to see if these practices change over the coming months, knowing that they have to change to achieve level two. 

I am aware that this post has been rather tedious and cumbersome, but it was something that I actually reflected on this week. I am excited for the changes that I've seen recently, and do wonder if this has something to do with it. Thanks for reading. I'll see you next week :) 

- Rachel
My Teacherspayteachers website