In a previous post – I’m a New Principal, Here’s My Entry Plan… – I outlined my entry plan for when I became the Elementary Principal of T. Baldwin Demarest Elementary School (TBD) in the Old Tappan School District, about five months ago on January 15.
For easy reference, here’s a very brief rundown of the entry plan’s components:
- One-On-One Voluntary Interviews with Teachers and Staff
- Meetings to Learn About Core Subject Areas
- Student Meeting(s)
- Parent Meetings
- Questions for Superintendent
- Digital Communication
Now, here’s a look at how I formally followed up on my entry plan at a Faculty Meeting on May 21.
Prior to the meeting, teachers were sent a Google doc, divided into three sections: Entry Plan Overview, Entry Plan Results Summary, Entry Plan Activity.
Entry Plan Overview
To remind teachers what the entry plan involved, this section outlined the plan in very much the same way as the previously mentioned blog post. Everyone was encouraged to look at this on their own time.
Entry Plan Results Summary
Here I included the results from the student meeting and parent meetings. More or less, the teachers received a cleaned up version of my notes. To preserve confidentiality, I didn’t include what I learned from the teacher and staff interviews (more on this in the next section). Once again, everyone was encouraged to look at this on their own time.
Entry Plan Activity
This activity encompassed the entire Faculty Meeting. Here are the activity’s directions, verbatim:
Based on the results of all the entry interviews, here are five Celebrations and five Essential Questions.
- WE ARE proud of what our students accomplish!
- WE ARE a family!
- WE ARE always moving forward!
- WE ARE proud of the work of the Character Education Team!
- WE ARE proud of how far we’ve come with the workshop model!
- How might we infuse more energy and fun into the school?
- How might we be more uniform with parent communication?
- How might we align curriculum, vertically and horizontally?
- How might we clean up our schedule (regular ed and special ed)?
- How might we tackle the NGSS/STEAM/Makerspaces?
The first three Celebrations and the first three Essential Questions have each been taped to a table.
1. On sticky notes, respond to the Celebrations and Essential Questions. Write one response per sticky note. Each response should be placed on the table to which the response applies. (15 minutes)
2. In groups (see below), claim a table/question. Organize your sticky notes into categories, and then label each group/category with masking tape and a Sharpie. (7 minutes)
- WE ARE proud of what our students accomplish! – birthdays in January & February
- WE ARE a family! – birthdays in March & April
- WE ARE always moving forward! – birthdays in May & June
- How might we infuse more energy and fun into the school? – birthdays in July & August
- How might we be more uniform with parent communication? – birthdays in September & October
- How might we align curriculum, vertically and horizontally? – birthdays in November & December
3. Perform a gallery walk in which you look at the responses to all of the Celebrations and Essential Questions. On your own, for each Celebration and Essential Question, record your main takeaways on a sheet of paper. This is your exit ticket. (For Celebrations, think about of what you’re most proud. For Essential Questions, think about possible next steps for you and/or the group.) (15 minutes)
4. Everyone shares out one takeaway!
5. Final Thoughts
In the End
Five quick thoughts to wrap things up:
- The five Celebrations and five Essential Questions encompassed the results of all the entry plan interviews and meetings, and this fact was communicated to teachers.
- Using both Celebrations and five Essential Questions prompted us to celebrate previous accomplishments while also looking forward. (A few years ago, if I were to have done this activity, I may have omitted the Celebrations. That would have been a mistake.)
- The exit tickets provide us with valuable information for future planning (in very much the same way teachers formatively assess students). And, much like the original entry plan, these results mean next to nothing if they’re not used to help guide where we go from here.
- As I’ve said before – Every time we facilitate professional development, we have an opportunity to model the types of practices we want to see taking place in classrooms. I believe this Faculty Meeting was no exception.
- Below are photographs of the activity in action.
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