A new LYS Principal asks the following:

SC,

What template do you suggest for a team planning agenda / method?

SC Response Entire books and training seminars have been devoted to your deceivingly simple question.  Though well meaning, the advice given in most of those are woefully out of touch with the reality of running a successful campus in a rigorous accountability environment. So forget what you have read, heard or been told, here is the LYS protocol.

Most teachers don’t mind team planning as long as it is productive. But since most team planning isn’t productive, teachers rightfully view it as an infringement on their already busy day. 

Productive team planning does not occur by accident.  It takes preparation, leadership, monitoring and follow-thru.  In other words, work. Thus, the rampant lack of productivity.

So hear is a good five-step process that does not squander teacher collaboration and time.

1. Have a set cycle for planning meeting topics. For example:

  A. Curriculum Preview   B. Assessment Development   C. Lesson Development   D. Intervention Identification   E. Data Analysis

2. Have a set time and day for team planning.  It should occur at least once a week.  For example, every Monday.  I can tell yo that that once a week is probably not often enough.  In an informal poll of the best LYS Principals, their teachers almost always meet twice a week. 3. Have an agenda and use a 30-minute meeting format and planning tool. Every time! 4. Leadership must participate in the planning sessions.  That doesn’t mean that the Principal sits in every meeting.  But that does mean that there is either a Principal, Assistant Principal, Dean, Instructional Coach or Counselor at every meeting. And for those who claim that this is unrealistic, I ask the following questions, “Name one thing on your campus more important than teaching and learning. Do you think great instruction, at scale, occurs by accident?” 5. Monitor and measure what is supposed to occur, based on the planning meeting. Report this at the beginning of the meeting the next time the topic is addressed in the Planning Meeting cycle. Run with this and send me a status report towards the end of the Fall semester.    Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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