The critical step in becoming an effective instructional leader and an expert in pedagogy is observing a LOT of instruction. I constantly point this out in presentations, trainings, writings and conversations. The bottom line is that the instruction leaders that consistently visit classrooms separate themselves from instructional leaders that do not. There is no short cut to this process, and it can’t be faked.
The million dollar question is, “How much is a lot?”
The standard answer is, “Five short classroom observations a day, every day you are on campus.”
Most people hear that and blow off the whole idea. That’s the good news and the bad news. Bad news for those who ignore the advice, because without even realizing it, they are fast tracking to mediocrity. Good news for those who heed the advice because they are now playing a game that their competition doesn’t even know exists.
We just completed the March for A Cure PowerWalks Challenge and because of that I was looking at the numbers a little closer than usual. Here is what proactive instructional leadership looks like in the field.
There were 32 traditional campuses that earned the PowerWalks Hero designation during the month of March. A campus earns the PowerWalks Hero designation by conducting an exceptionally large volume of formative classroom observations.
The 32 Hero campuses had an average of 8.69 instructional leaders that conducted a formative classroom observation during the month. Instructional leaders are generally principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, counselors, lead teachers, and interested teachers.
The 32 Hero campuses conducted an average of 463.03 formative classroom observations during the month.
The individual observers on the 32 Hero campuses conducted an average of 53.28 observation during the month.
Breaking it down further, here are the high school, middle school and elementary school numbers.
Average number of observers – 13.5
Average number of PowerWalks observations – 613.36
Average number of PowerWalks per observer – 45.43
Average number of observers – 8.86
Average number of PowerWalks observations – 418.29
Average number of PowerWalks per observer – 47.21
Average number of observers – 6.35
Average number of PowerWalks observations – 410.71
Average number of PowerWalks per observer – 64.68
Oh, and by the way… In March, most of the Hero campuses lost a week of school operations due to Spring Break. As I alluded earlier, these instructional leaders and campuses play the game at a level that most educators can’t begin to fathom.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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