Think Tank Sessions

  • Think Tank Session 1 - "Teacher Impact on Student Learning"
    Schools and communities can become inspired by Mike Schmoker’s talk about the “opportunity to create schools better than anything we’ve ever seen or imagined” in Results Now (2006, p. 2). He challenges us to see and create in our minds generating pinnacle schools in our own communities and schools.

    At this Think Tank last year, we explored questions centering on budget cuts, the increasing number of retirements, evolving changes in standards, assessment, and accountability, and how districts are addressing the need to build teacher capacity. According to Joleen Killion, “Both general and content-specific coaching have a positive and significant effect on student achievement” (The Learning Professional, April 2017, 38(2) , p. 20). Dr. Killion asserts that through coaching, teachers are assisted in their ability to convert knowledge and skills into classroom pedagogy, which should be a critical feature of professional development.

    The focus of this Think Tank will be to share with one another ideas, experiences, and positive outcomes and challenges associated with instructional coaching. How has your district utilized instructional coaching, either formally or informally? What components of coaching have made the largest impact? Who can you leverage to coach when you don’t have formal coaches? What training is provided to your coaches? How do you assess or evaluate the effectiveness of coaching on classroom instruction and student learning?

    Think Tank Session 2 - "Leveraging Partnerships to Enhance & Create Learning Opportunities"
    There are many ways in which a school district may partner with business, community organizations, and post-secondary institutions to improve and enhance student learning. These partnerships create the potential for meaningful authentic learning opportunities, provide resources and expertise, and ultimately open doors for students.

    The purpose of this Think Tank is to explore how school districts are currently leveraging partnerships within their school community as well as to brainstorm additional strategic possibilities. Topics may include: Foundations; leveraging local business and professionals to create authentic learning opportunities; dual enrollment; student and family support services; and organizational structures to systematize the relationship between school and community partners.