Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What Matters? Goal Setting Season

In a sense, goal setting season is beginning at school.

Yesterday I attended a meeting where we considered a number of goals.

Principals will meet soon to think about school goals.

The Department of Education Teachers Advisory Council (TAC) will consider goals at this week's first meeting of the year.

Parents, teachers, and students will consider goals as we meet for parent-teacher-student fall conferences.

At PLC we'll soon review initial assessment data in math and reading and set some short term goals for teaching and learning too as we create targeted RTI groups.

The local Union board will consider the year's goals soon, and the MTA Teaching and Professional Learning committee (TPL) will also consider the year's work and goals at an upcoming meeting.

I'm sure there are many other goal-setting meetings happening throughout the school, system, and multiple other education organizations I belong to and work with.

As I think of all these meetings, my role, and the goals we'll make, I'm thinking deeply about what is important when it comes to goal setting.

First, I think it's important that we use data, deep think, experience, knowledge, creativity, and collaboration to set meaningful goals that will uplift individuals and the community. If we set goals too quickly, it's possible that we'll target work and result that isn't relevant, meaningful, and impactful. To set meaningful goals, we have to think about what's most important.

Then, to think about what's most important, we have to use good process that looks deeply at issues. For example, sometimes issues are perennial meaning that they occur every year because no one has really made the time to think deeply about the issue in ways that matter.

What's important to me related to the many goal setting meetings I'll be involved in is the following:

  • I want children to have a happy experience at school.
  • I want students to be excited about coming to school and enthusiastic about the learning that they're involved in.
  • I want students' social, emotional, physical, and academic learning to be meaningful to them.
  • I want students to make good progress in all areas, and I want that progress to be explicit to them--I want the students to see and reflect on their growth and goals regularly.
How will I meet these goals on my own and with others?

With regard to school-wide goals, I'll listen carefully to my colleagues' experience, research, data, and priorities. I'll work with them on goals that are mutually embraced.

With parents/guardians and students, we'll look at students' reflections, strengths, and challenges, and determine together where the teaching/learning priorities are for holistic, overall success as well as success with our standards-based curriculum.

With the state committee, I'll listen carefully to the goals the state is working on, and see how I might match those goals with work relevant to my school, grade-level, and professional learning. I'll do the same with the MTA TPL committee.

As far as school-wide goals, I'll listen carefully as I'm interested in the process used, and how those goals affect the work I do and the experience students have. And with the local union, my goals are three-fold. First, I want to understand our new agreement well. I also want to keep the website up-to-date and promote teacher-friendly professional learning by listing and sharing worthy learning events that are available. 

At present, in the classroom, the goal now is to continue to help students follow positive routines, routines that promote optimal learning, independence, responsibility, voice/advocacy, and a caring, collaborative community. The second goal is to complete collecting initial school forms from family members and the completion of a host of assessment data, data we'll use to set new learning/teaching goals. I also have a fair amount of curriculum teaching and planning work to do for early-year teaching events. Onward.