Launching Your APPR
Because so much is different this year and because there is so much more to do this year it is important to get things off on the right foot. Based on Evaluator Training and other good practices, here are some suggestions to ensure that your year has a good launch.
To say that it's going to be a heavy lift is an understatement. A deliberate strategy, laid out in advance, is a must. Principals and supervisors should talk about the plans for Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) implementation. In turn, principals have to talk to their teachers about the APPR plan. In fact, teachers have to be "trained." Here are some things to review (along with their link to the ISLLC Standards):
⇒Are there plans for making sure that teachers understand the new system and their responsibilities in it (ISLLC 1)?
⇒Is the relationship between SLOs, common interim assessments, and unit plans clear (ISLLC 2)?
⇒Are time and other resources going to be provided to teachers in order to work differently (ISLLC 3)?
⇒Do families understand the changes they will see in the classroom and the school (ISLLC 4)?
⇒Are teachers aware of Lead Evaluator Training and all the work that lead evaluators are doing to make the system fair, transparent, and focused on student learning (ISLLC 5)?
⇒Is the frame of the new initiatives positive and all about the learning of all students (ISLLC 6)?
Beginning of the Year Meetings
Lead evaluators will meet with each of their teachers during the first two months of the year. Watch the Beginning of the Year Meeting video as a leadership team. Take note of the different things that are accomplished during that meeting. Debrief after viewing. Then, make a plan for a Beginning of the Year Meeting. Without a plan, the meeting will take much longer and is less likely to accomplish all the objectives for the meeting. Practice it! Principal evaluators should sit in on some of these meetings and discuss them afterward. It is important to plan these meetings carefully, you'll want them to be both comprehensive and efficient. You might want the teacher to have considered some questions before the meeting. Or, you might want to have some good, thought-provoking questions ready. In some cases, teachers and principals are watching the video together so that a vision for the meetings is clear.
"Exceptional school leaders succeed because of how they use their time." -Paul Bambrick-Santoyo
Sit down away from it all and take a look at your calendar. It will be important to make sure that time for instructional leadership has been deliberately scheduled. It is also important that time for meeting and talking (growth-producing feedback) are also blocked in your calendar each and every week. Some look fors:
⇒Has time been blocked in for mini-observations?
⇒Has time been blocked in for feedback conversations that follow the mini-observations?
⇒Have team and individual meetings been set up for data meetings?
What is Your Plan for Your Year?
You can't anticipate everything that happens in the building, but you can make a plan for the
big rocks" you want to accomplish. The "Professional Learning Map" is a tool that can help you be deliberate about things, not unlike a consensus map in curriculum mapping. Here's an example of a Professional Learning Map and here's a template of a Professional Learning Map to get you started.
Every moment we have with our staff is precious -- and faculty meeting time is far too precious to waste time on announcements and management items. Just like a good lesson requires good planning, so, too, does a faculty meeting require good planning. Principals and supervisors should review the plan for meetings before the school year begins and monitor it as the year progresses. Look at the "map" for the year and talk about the topics that have been identified for the faculty meetings for the year. Look fors include:
⇒What are the faculty meeting plans for the year?
⇒Are the topics and the order in which they are scheduled make sense?
⇒How will the principal ensure that the meetings are about instruction and not management and information?