Google+ Badge

Friday, February 10, 2017

Professional Differentiation and Expertise

The shared teaching model we employ at our grade level is one good step towards thoughtful professional differentiation and expertise.

For example, today we'll have our reading data meeting. We have a number of reading experts on our grade level team. Today they will share the data and their thoughts for continuing to develop our students' reading success. I've mentioned this many times before, but I'll say it again--it's been remarkable to see how our in-house reading experts have strategically elevated students reading over the past many years. When I first taught there were many at fourth and fifth who still struggled to read, and today we see almost no fourth and fifth graders who struggle with any aspect of reading. This is amazing! The dedication of our in-house reading specialists and experts have led to this success and for this I have tremendous gratitude and appreciation.

One reason we were able to develop in this way is that differentiation and expertise were honored and encouraged. The experts were given time and voice. They also persisted even when it wasn't easy, standing up for what is right and good for students.

We have the potential to move in a similar direction with regard to all subject areas. We have the staffing, time, will, and expertise, however, there remains some snags to using the reading model as a beacon of how to move other areas of study ahead for all students. The first snag is the lack of a distributive leadership model that empowers and differentiates educator expertise. I've provided a sketch of a potential model for this kind of growth--one I think would forward the work we can do with and for all students. We have an experienced and dedicated staff, and I believe greater differentiation and the ability to become experts would develop our collective genius and efforts more.

Today as I listen carefully to the data meeting notes and information, I know I will marvel at the expertise of the many reading experts that will be at the meeting. I'll also be thinking about how we can utilize similar processes and expertise to develop our math program too.

How does your school system use professional differentiation and expertise to empower and develop programs and student success? What teacher-powered models are in place to elevate what we can do with and for students? In the days ahead, I'll think more about this.