Friday, July 1, 2011

Differentiating Supervision - Thoughts From Pete Hall's Session At ASCD Summer Conference

Pete Hall - Principal and ASCD Presenter on Differentiating Supervision
Washington Principal Pete Hall's session at the ASCD Summer Conference in Boston today was a great reminder of something that we all need to be cognizant of as discussions of technology integration and cool new tools being added to classrooms grows daily. The number one factor in creating meaningful learning opportunities is and will continue to be the teacher in the classroom.  Or as Mike Schmoker would say, "It's about the teacher stupid."

So with this in mind, Hall, who was the recipient of ASCD's Young Educator Award in 2004, led a packed room through a lively session on concrete ways to ensure that leaders support the continuous growth of the most valuable resource we have in our schools - the teachers.

As I reflect on my takeaways, it is clear that quality interactions between evaluators and teachers model quality interactions between teachers and students in most (if not all) cases.

The Elevator Test - Building Relationships

Pete described a scenario where the Principal or evaluator is trapped in an elevator with a staff member for a lengthy period of time. The question here is surrounds whether or not we have a built enough of a relationship with that person to have a personal conversation. Have we cared enough to find a bit out about that person that would allow a meaningful conversation?   We certainly can't build the type of learning environments our students need without first building relationships.


Administrators insist on differentiation in the classroom by teachers during instruction because of the fact that no two students are alike and that students learn differently, yet we fail to consider this enough in dealing with teachers during the supervision process.  Why do we seek a process that is uniform/standardized?

Giving Feedback 

Again similar to what we would expect with teachers in their feedback to students, we as administrators need to give our staff feedback using the TARP method. meaning feedback which is Timely, Accurate, Relevant, and Private.  In addition, our feedback needs to be based on indicators that the staff has been made aware of in advance.  Hall noted that we need to "commit to inspect what you expect."

Five Entry Points To Gather Data

  1. Team Meetings
  2. Scheduled Coaching Sessions
  3. Formal Observations
  4. Rounds - Hall described his process of making rounds where he would each of his classrooms twice daily for 30-45 seconds.
  5. Walk-Throughs - Hall also described the walkthrough process he uses which has him spending 5-15 minutes in each classroom looking for specific evidence.

Some Great Resources For Supervisors Who Wish To Differentiate

A Quote From Hall's Book Which Is Going On My Summer Reading List
"Not only does every unique and special carbon-based life form in your school appreciate unique and special treatment, each one needs individualized handling."

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