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Joe Poletti
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Shoot for an eclectic mix of technical, coaching, spiritual, fiction, leadership, and futurism. I keep my reading list current at
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2008 on Little help here, please. at LeaderTalk
As a school-level admin newbie, I view the teacher observation as the capstone of instructional leadership. The 20-minute drive-by observation is a formality. The full 1.5 hr. observation is where I get the most traction for what is going on in the class. I try to turn this observation into a conversation with the teacher that, at the minimum, lasts several days. As for calibrating, we have a neat process. We have four admins. Over the course of the year, we alternate observations with the same teacher. The admin who does the first observation is responsible for the summative. This gives the teacher different sets of filters, but I'm not sure that we do enough yet to improve inter-rater reliability with the observation process.
I'm not bailing on sense of community and the nurturing/sharing of talents/gifts as cornerstones to effective schools. In a "glass half-full" prism, what an awesome opportunity and medium this is for diverse learning communities to share the creative fruits of their cultural traditions this time of year!
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2007 on Down-home Christmas Time at LeaderTalk
I am a new assistant principal (with the last 10 yrs. at state dept, university, and central office jobs). I have been working with 11 teachers in a new PD model I call modified lesson study. The idea is to sustain the conversation of best practices. In small groups, we visit lead teachers and observe their classes for full class periods. We use a comprehensive note-taking document that covers many aspects of teaching and learning. The true gold is not in the pre-visit meeting when we go over the lesson plan, the note-taking tool, and the general and unique challenges we face. The true gold is not in the 1.5 hours we spend observing and taking notes in the lead teachers class. So far, the true gold has been in the 1.5 hour debrief with the observed lesson as the context for professional discourse. The conversation is rich and rewarding. My commitment to the 11 teachers in the first iteration of this project is to maintain long-term, informal,open and unique professional conversations with each of them about individual teaching practice. My goal is that we build a small professional learning community, a small brushfire, that continues to burn. This is a strategy I have thought about for a long time, and had been unable to get off the ground until I returned to schools. It is predicated upon relationships and trust that we build as we work together on a daily basis.
We did an entire week blitz last year. It included three outreach nights to parents that were fairly under-attended. New Pew study shows parents increasing ambivalence toward Internet. With my own kids, I'm keying in less on the predation aspect, and more on the sedentary lifestyle that "screen sucking" promotes. I urge them often to un-tether themselves and go swimming or something.
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2007 on The modern equivalent of book burning? at LeaderTalk
Well said, Chris. And we generally are bombarded with these cases in the first hour of every day. To me, the most needy (in a variety of definitions) are often the most precious students we have. We are fortunate to try to intercede on their behalf. Doesn't always work out the way we'd like, but it is what makes this job 100% human-centric. It is one of the reasons I returned to a school environment after 9 years of central services and state dept responsibilities. Not much can compare to the day-to-day in a school. One's sense of relevance can go unmatched there. And every day we are blessed with beautiful rays of sunshine. On the flipside of the "Boys Town" cases, we have a lot of kids who have had the accident of being born with silver spoons in their mouths. This often proves to be quite another form of tragedy.
Toggle Commented Oct 2, 2007 on An Accident of Birth at LeaderTalk
Plus, it can help you bang the issues out of your system from a day or a week as a K-12 school-based administrator.
Toggle Commented Sep 22, 2007 on The Power of the Peloton at LeaderTalk
On point, as usual, Miguel. I have been ruminating on something similar to that as I hear folks question authenticity of on-line student work: "I have looked at the course content of my 14-year-old’s on-line class. Generally, I don’t understand that content anymore at a granular level. I don’t have the time to do her work, nor do I have the desire. So, if I started to helicopter her on-line class for her, the teacher would know it. Her grades would drop significantly." The rest of the story is at Haulin' 'Net
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2007 on 1 Reason to Change at LeaderTalk
This is quite the can of worms about to be opened. Your post suggests that filtering is a safety and educational decision. To remain safe, we block out that which poses dangers. To remain informed, we allow content of educational value. To over-simplify, trace back in your organization to the source ultimately responsible for filtering decisions. Is this person or group well-versed and well-schooled in making sound educational decisions? Is there even a conversation among stakeholders of what to leave in and what to leave out? CIPA primarily applies to minors. Good judgment applies to everyone else. How well are we upholding that? And how well are we teaching Internet Safety to kids who generally go home to unfiltered environments?
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2007 on CoSN Conference Musings at LeaderTalk
I have read the embargoed copy...and am shaking my head in absolute wonder. I do believe changes are ahead for NCLB, but not on this the first day of April. Look for much better NCLB news in about 2 years.
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2007 on Sweeping Changes in NCLB and DoE at LeaderTalk
Tim, I just posted a similar entry at Haulin' 'Net. A school was able to sell thousands of candy bars to acquire a laptop cart. Although I applaud their drive, I can't help but think there has got to be a better, healthier way to fund educational resources. I'm neither a fatalist nor an alarmist, but how can I keep from thinking Digital Divide issues here? Joe Poletti
I'm onboard, folks. Superintendent Rochelle has posited the view from 20,000 feet. Perhaps we can work with chunks of it over time. I do believe that our obligation as leaders, however, may not rest in having all the answers but in creating opportunities that allow leaders at all levels---right to the students---to develop those answers. That creates ownership. Ownership gets results. We probably can always do more to broker decision-making to communities of practice. The risk is a "site-based on steroids" model that blows out of control. As leaders, do we create enough opportunities to broaden the power-base without losing control of the corporate mission? Ideally, we can use RSS feeds and aggregators not only to keep our message "out there", but to connect messages within the organization.
Toggle Commented Feb 28, 2007 on Welcome to LeaderTalk at LeaderTalk