Posted on May 8th, 2015
Collaboration is a powerful thing.
As you know, on Monday, April 20th, students had a day off from school so our teachers and administrative assistants could attend a professional development day. For many parents, the mention of “PD” sparks an internal groan, as children have “another day off.”
As a student, I know I enjoyed PD days. But as a school leader, I can tell you the four division-wide days we set aside each year are incredibly well spent. They are contributing to the culture of Palliser, and they are definitely helping teachers elevate their practice as they learn and work side by side.
That has never been clearer to me than it was on April 20th. On this final division-wide PD day of the school year, teachers worked in more than 40 small learning groups, as they have on the three other days this year. Teachers pick the topics and they open their groups to whoever wants to join. Teachers from schools separated by miles and with seemingly little in common might join a group because they share a grade or a subject. They pick what is most relevant to their work.
The task for each group on this day was to deliver a summary a quick one-minute summary of their work. Not a lot of time, but the presentations were jam-packed with information other teachers could use.
The topics were generally literacy or assessment related. Some groups created units they can share with other teachers. Some shared a list of apps or websites they find useful in their classrooms. One group is organizing a Choral Day to bring students from across the division together. Group after group shared the fruits of their labour this year, and each shared what worked in their classrooms to engage students, to support learning and to give students opportunity to express what they’ve learned. To advance the power of this sharing, one group created a website for sharing resources, whether they’re fully developed, or still works in progress.
Collaboration is leading to more collaboration, and it is strengthening our schools and our teaching/learning communities. I was deeply impressed by our teachers’ efforts and I applaud them.
Kevin Gietz, Superintendent
Palliser Regional Schools