Lessons Learned from Pickerington Local Schools
By Sharon Caccimelio
Pickerington's Virtual TBTs and BLTs
As schools everywhere adjusted to Ohio's stay-at-home order and extended school closures, Pickerington Local School District (PLSD) teachers and administrators continued to meet in TBTs and BLTs to sustain the work they have engaged in all school year.
When we started, we had no idea how we were going to sustain our work, and like many others, wondered how effective virtual TBTs and BLTs would be.
However, as we have attended virtual TBTs and BLTs, we quickly found teachers collectively engaging in conversation to find answers to the following questions:
- Since the time we have with students looks different, how do we make sure to focus on essential learning for the grade/course?
- What strategies are we using to meet the needs of all students?
- What are the best ways to give effective feedback?
- How can we best assess student learning? And once we assess, how are we using the collected data?
- How will we reach students who are not participating, or who are not learning well at home?
- What tools are we using to reach our EL families?
- How are we meeting the requirements of a students' IEP?
- How are classroom teachers supporting intervention specialists, and vice versa?
- When we return to school, how will we "build back better?"
Eureka! While initially we were concerned about the negative impacts of the pandemic, we've found this experience has created an even bigger shift to teachers reviewing and revising the impact of their practices on student achievement and learning – the best professional learning ever!
As Dr. Brian McNulty states in the OLAC Module, Teacher-Based-Teams (TBTs) – What Districts Need to Know, "When TBT's fulfill their purpose, teachers acquire higher levels of individual and collective efficacy, they use more effective practices, and student learning improves."
At PLSD, we couldn't agree more. As we move into the summer and prepare for an uncertain start to next school year, we encourage districts everywhere to lean in to leveraging the power of virtual TBTs and BLTs as a way to continue the momentum, share ideas and help us all use this time to improve our practices to impact student learning.
Lead the Way Podcast: Capacity Building Through the Development of Professional Capital
My team and I had the opportunity earlier this spring to record an episode for OLAC's Leading the Way podcast on how we build the professional capital of faculty and staff using the OIP. As we work to meet the needs of all students in a virtual or blended learning environment, these efforts have become even more critical.
Cornerstone Connection: Becoming a Learning Organization: Pickerington's Journey to Improve Learning Opportunities for All Children Fostered by a Culture of Collaborative Professionalism
Finally, our district detailed our use of the OIP and OLAC resources in the Cornerstone Connection piece on Becoming a Learning Organization. As the demographics of our district have changed and we serve an increasing number of children identified as English learners and special needs, it has become essential to ensure we are meeting students where they're at and creating a culture of learning.
As stated, this work is becoming even more important as we have shifted to the virtual learning environment. Our virtual TBTs and BLTs are certainly part of this as well.