Each new year brings with it an opportunity to reflect, to renew, and to ready ourselves for the challenges ahead. While many of us engage in these activities on our own, the SchoolWorks staff came together in the first week of January to celebrate all of our accomplishments in 2016 and engage in planning and preparation for 2017. We spent one day engaged in professional development, a day serving lunch to women at Rosie’s Place, and had a lot of laughs in between!
- Because our work supporting the adoption of high quality instructional practices in schools and districts across the country is increasing in scope and impact, we spent half a day using the SchoolWorks Classroom Visit Tool to evaluate instruction and ensure we remain aligned to our Classroom Observation Manual. The time we invested in this work is the first step toward re-certifying all SchoolWorks staff and consultants on the tool in preparation for the 2017-18 school year. In addition, members of our team provided success-oriented feedback about how we can continue to improve the training, the tool, and the manual in future iterations. Look for more information on next steps from Jake and Kate!
- We also spent time sharing best practices on prioritization. The prioritization process is often identified by school leaders as the most impactful component of their experience with SchoolWorks Quality Reviews, and through the years many members of our team have come up with ways to make the experience even better for facilitators and participants. Many thanks to Sarah and Robin for leading us in this work, and for those of you who shared your tips, tricks, and common challenges with us. Shout out to Kara Dunn in particular for providing a truly reflective response!
- Georgia gave us an important update on the results of our efforts to increase the racial and skill diversity of our consulting team, and set us up with next steps to keep cultivating new consultants. In November, SchoolWorks far exceeded our goals with regard to the number of hours assigned to consultants of color, the percentage of top ten utilized consultants who are persons of color, and the percentage of total consultant hours that were completed by consultants of color. Overall, in December, SchoolWorks required less support from our consulting team, however we still exceeded goals related to the percentage of total hours that were both assigned to and completed by consultants of color. Thank you to Michea for helping us compile and monitor this data each month!
- For the second year running, we closed out our January meeting by preparing and serving lunch to about 150 women at Rosie’s Place, the first women’s shelter in the US. Rosie’s Place provides a safe and nurturing environment to help poor and homeless women through a wide range of supports, housing, and education services. We love getting to know the guests of Rosie’s Place, and it is particularly rewarding to come together as a team in a completely different setting to have a meaningful impact on the lives of women served at Rosie’s.
We hope your year is off to a fabulous start, and look forward to seeing you in the months to come!