Co-authored by Craig Bennett and Gaynell Lyman
Across the nation educators are asking deep questions about the essential knowledge, skills and dispositions that prepare learners to be life-ready. In Virginia, these discussions are leading #VALIN Innovation Teams to design learner profiles, empowered learning frameworks, and skills progressions that inform learning and teaching practices. As we seek ways to support our network, we reached out to a few colleagues from #VALIN Cohort I to ask if they would be willing to share some reflections from their journey. Armed with the following questions as a guide, each division leader unpacked for us some of their challenges, success points and next steps on the journey to operationalize their innovations.
What small steps did your team take that made a big difference?
How did you move your innovation outside of your team?
What impact has your innovation made in your district?
Hear from Billie Hart, Instructional Technology Supervisor for Newport News Public Schools, as she shares strategies their Innovation Team used to dovetail the design of their LEARNER Profile with their Strategic Planning process.
Chelsea Kulp, Instructional Trainer and Project Director for Poquoson City Public Schools represents a cohort of three districts, including Middlesex, Poquoson and West Point. These divisions partnered with SURN to hear learner voices, and empower teachers to design learner progressions. Hear more details about their story here.
Learn from Sue Rogers, Assistant Superintendent from Franklin County Public Schools, as she shares some of the steps they took to use learner progressions to give teachers permission to explore the “why” and challenge existing practices.
Find out about “No worksheet Wednesday” as Karen Taylor, Director of Secondary Schools/CTE/DDOT for Buchanan Public Schools shares how the question “what does an innovation classroom look like?” lead to one small step that changed a collective mindset.
Although their communities have unique needs and the approach each team took to leverage small steps toward big change was different, there were a number of common threads. You might have noticed sustained communication of the “why”, powerful stakeholder involvement, amplified student voice, and permission to do what it takes to make change happen. What other takeaways do you hear in these stories?