Monday, April 21, 2008
Opening our Doors, Sharing our Practice
Working at The Creek is exhilarating! One of my job roles includes hosting visitor groups who come from all corners of our globe to learn about standards-based education. Chets is a Cohort 2 America's Choice School, meaning only one cohort of schools entered the school reform before we did. We went through some intensive whole school design changes in a three year roll out and became an America's Choice Demonstration Model School. Now, through word of mouth, school leaders call from near and far to schedule observations.
The visitor groups usually spend the day with me, the School Standards Coach, observing workshop lessons, focus walking classrooms, analyzing student work on bulletin boards and in student portfolios, asking countless questions about our culture, our traditions, our professional development, our unprecedented results. They come to see our work in action, to get the big picture in one day. Or, for a few, who have begged their way into my heart, they return multiple times to collect all the minute details that make us tick.
Last week was a busy one. We hosted visitors from China and New Mexico, and visitors from within our district. Our teachers graciously opened their classroom doors, as they always do, to provide the opportunity for other educators to learn about their instruction, their assessment, their student work, their classroom artifacts. I'm sure at times our CCE teachers may duck when they see me coming, it is not uncommon that one of them has 20 educators standing in the perimeter of their rooms hanging on their every word! But, you wouldn't know it because on visitor days, it is always business as usual.
Though these days are difficult to build into an already jam packed schedule, they are also some of my favorite. I get to observe classroom instruction from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade; I get to go in all teacher's classrooms on focus walks; I get to analyze student work from throughout the building; I get to share our vision, mission, and learner expectations. It doesn't get any better than that!