Monday, July 19, 2010

Vision For Teaching and Learning

As the Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator of Manson Northwest Webster, I’ve struggled with what to write about in my first post. I’ve learned so much from my newly developed (and growing) PLN and from my colleagues at Manson Northwest Webster, and I’m overwhelmed with the exciting possibilities of how we can change the classroom for the benefit of all students. However, I thought, it is a lot easier to reflect on 21st century learning and write about the classroom if you are a principal and have a building full of teachers and kids in your charge. But perhaps that’s just been an excuse. A central office administrator needs to consider the whole system and look at the big picture, so there’s plenty to focus on! Since I’ve recognized that, I’ve had several good ideas come to me and I’ve “written” many posts. Unfortunately, that “writing” has taken place when I’ve been swimming laps, riding my bike, or taking a walk. And now, what seemed really profound at the time, is gone.

So, after additional thought, I’ve decided to write about what I consider one of the most important initiatives I’ve coordinated since beginning my position 7 years ago--MNW’s shared vision for teaching and learning. As I make connections from discussions with district colleagues, friends on Twitter, and from my professional reading, it’s clear to me our overall goal should be to become a 21st Century School, and I believe our vision will take us there.

While the vision itself is important, the process we used to create the vision is equally as important. We have had a strong collaborative structure in the district for several years. In 2008-2009, we began a visioning process led by Prairie Lakes AEA and our District Leadership Team. This process used our collaborative teams, which allowed for all teachers to have input into the vision. Since then we have used our vision has an umbrella for all we do in the classroom. Last year we began early attempts at tracking the progress of our vision as it moves into the classroom. This school year we will do the same with plans for improving our tracking process. I believe this vision, will be our guide as we move forward and strive to do what’s best for all kids in preparing them for life beyond the walls of Manson Northwest Webster.

I look forward to learning and sharing in future posts, because as I’ve come to realize, I’m a learner first and an educator second.


  1. The plan sounds like a winning formula. My only concern would be the collaborative participants. I would be as concerned about their learning as much as for the students they will be deciding for. If the planners are not relevant and life-long learners, how can they develop such an ability in the students they are planning for? If the planners of the vision lack vision, there may be little change. We also need a vision for the visionaries.
    You entered a great first post. Hope my comment promotes more reflection. I will look for more of your posts.

  2. You said "I’m overwhelmed with the exciting possibilities of how we can change the classroom for the benefit of all students."
    I can relate to that.
    It is really important to have a clear vision so that we don't get lost in the non-stop changing environment in which learning is taking place these days.
    Keep on being a collaborative learner....
    Keep connecting...and enjoy what you create.
    Cheers :)

  3. Two points in your first blog caused me to think....
    The first is wanting you to share more about how you are "tracking the progress of the vision as it moves into the classroom." We all know having evidence of implementation ensures progress, but what to collect to show evidence for educators to share the vision in reality is usually difficult.
    The second point that you are a learner first and educator second is very profound. I think if we all thought that way, we could solve lots of the achievement problems in our current system.
    Thanks for your insights.

  4. Laura:
    Starting with the vision for your school was a perfect way to begin your blog. It seems logical that the posts to follow will demonstrate the follow-through, reflection, etc. of this vision. The first line makes it sound like the school is implementing project-based learning? Is this the case? This is the direction that BCLUW is planning to implement, we will see how it goes.
    I am also interested in the assessing and tracking that your school is doing concerning the implementation of this vision? I agree that all staff should be accountable, but how does your district plan to evaluate this and also what happens to staff members that aren't on board, or don't have the same vision? Is there a plan in place?
    Looking forward to your next post!

  5. A Vision is important to the process, but in order to ensure the vision is being implemented there must be buy-in and accountability. Keep making connections.