Through this program, I have developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for the organizational complexity of schools. Most educators work in an environment in which there are limited resources to address the myriad challenges of effectively educating students. I naively chose teaching to avoid workplace politics—boy was I misguided! I now know that effective teacher leaders must consistently campaign for worthwhile causes to ensure that a school’s limited resources are distributed appropriately.
Artifact 1: Proposal for Project-Based Learning PLC
As I explain in my proposal, the current IB DP curriculum often feels constraining; many of the assessments are inauthentic, lacking a real audience or purpose beyond getting a grade. As a teacher of Language and Literature, I was trained to have students write for authentic audiences. The current writing assessments, however, simply requires to pretend, to take an imagined role as a journalist, a book character, and so on. In response to a general call for deeper, more authentic learning, my proposal was able to secure release time for teachers to participate in an action-research PLC on implementing project-based learning. Through our work together, participants were able to design learning experiences which were more rigorous, relevant, and engaging to students.
Artifact 2: Proposal for Digital Literacy Tools
At my current school, literacy is a growing concern. Across the board, content teachers are noticing a deficit in student comprehension of what they read. This issue has been compounded by the lack of standards-aligned data on reading and writing, as well as effective tools to scaffold comprehension. In an effort to support literacy, I proposed a pilot of potential tools to help teachers test students, gather mastery data, and differentiate instruction. It took two years to finally get the proposal through, but the school has now purchased a license for NoRedInk. The program is linked to CCSS ELA standards and will help teachers quickly assess student mastery on a variety of writing concepts. I’m in the process of training in English Department colleagues on the tool and am collaborating with the literacy coordinator to develop an innovation implementation plan to support teachers across the innovation curve.