Since arriving home from Edcamp New Jersey, I have been contemplating the ways in which its structure could be used as part of the professional development model at Willow Lane Elementary School. Soon after the Edcamp, I met with my building principal and Instructional Support Teacher (IST) in order to discuss the possibilities.
We decided to rebrand our regularly scheduled “faculty meetings” as “Edcamp Willow Lane,” in an effort to move away from a term that normally possesses negative connotations. We know that the Edcamp format cannot be utilized for all faculty meetings, but it is our goal to call upon it as often as possible. For example, all teachers are receiving the same training when it comes to such topics as the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS), the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice, and Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII). Therefore, the Edcamp model does not apply, but there is nothing wrong with having this balance. In effective districts, educators in individual schools enjoy some latitude within specified parameters, and the unique context of an individual school is recognized. But the district leadership establishes the “common work of schools within the district” that serves as the “glue holding the district together” (Marzano & Waters, 2009, p. 90).
During our initial meeting, the principal, IST, and I created the following norms (click link) for Edcamp Willow Lane. The information was presented to the faculty shortly thereafter:
So far, our school has yet to have an “all out” Edcamp, as during the first potential session a great deal of our staff was occupied with PVAAS training. Nevertheless, the staff who participated in the Edcamp did appear to greatly appreciate having a choice in how they spent their professional development time. I look forward to seeing Edcamp Willow Lane constantly evolve in order to best meet the individual needs of the educators at the school.
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