When You Know, You Know: When To Move On and When To Dig In
It’s 9 or so weeks into the year and you’ve finally got our feet underneath you. The ship is steadying before the next wave of storms - testing, winter holidays, compliance documents. Over the first two months of the year, you’ve communicated your priorities to your team, helped them see the connections to how those priorities are going to positively impact students, and differentiated the supports you are going to provide for their implementation of those priorities. Now that it’s all done, it’s time to move on, right? Not so fast.
Before you move on, it’s important to consider two things: 1) is it the right time to layer on more priorities and 2) are the current ones being implemented effectively across the building.
Let’s explore the latter of these and how you to determine the quality of execution.
What Evidence Do you Have? In order to assess implementation quality you have to have meaningful, current, first-hand information. While things are less hectic, get out and about and get those observations and walk-throughs done. Keep in mind, they need to be focused on the established priorities.
What Feedback Has Been Provided? Priorities without layered supports aren’t going to be very effective. Have you been providing specific, technical feedback related to the priority to help support individual growth?
How Will Upcoming PD Opportunities Support Your Priorities? If the trends are suggesting the building as a whole needs more support, then you aren’t ready to move on and the PD plan should reflect that. If there is some variation, consider using differentiated professional development structures or structures that allow teachers to learn from one another. It’s not time to move on yet, but distributing leadership and growing teacher voice could help segway into the next focus when it’s time.
If you’ve moved through these questions and feel confident in the direction your building is heading, it still might not be time to move on. Before you make that final decision, think about whether or not you can spiral back over any topics within the priority that need to be covered once more or if reiterating any of them would help set the stage for what comes next. Once you’ve cleared those, it’s time to move on. Don’t be worried though, if that isn’t anytime soon. Meaningfully and effectively implementing priorities takes time and you are better off doing that with quality than rushing through them and overwhelming your people and your systems.