Our first New Leaders strand of professional development is in the books! But before we celebrate too much, here’s a recap of the meaningful discussions we had today in Room 204:


We kicked the day of with a session focused on the role of cross-curricular planning in 21st century schools. In “Today was Good, Today was Fun, Tomorrow is Another One,” New Leaders Caitlin Harris (Russellville High School—that’s me!) and Jacob West (Morrilton High School) began by asking educators to consider their own experiences with cross-curricular instruction. Many of them agreed that integrated projects are difficult to move from theory to practice. The main challenge mentioned was finding time to plan collaboratively. Jacob and I presented one way to apply the cross-curricular philosophy on a small scale, perhaps to build the relationships and frameworks necessary to later implement larger projects. Based on the Common Core Literacy Standards, Jacob provided evidence for practicing literacy strategies in the mathematics classroom, then I showed a method for scaffolding formative writing assessments based on Jay McTighe’s close reading strategies.

Next, in “Someone Like You Must Care Quite A Lot,” principal Margaret Robinson outlined the expectations she has for teachers entering the Atkins High School. So what should New Leaders know about what their principals want? Here’s how she broke it down:

  • She wants to build a solid working relationship with you.
  • She has high expectations for you to be a teacher leader.
    • Effective planning (Work on the front end!)
    • Risk-taking (Think outside the box!)
    • Collaboration (Open those closed doors!)
    • Student Engagement (Keep them thinking and doing!)
    • Coachability (Assume she’s here to help!)
    • Reflective Practice (Think and change for the better!)

Mrs. Robinson then turned the conversation over to the groups to discuss what teachers should expect from their building leaders. Among the responses from administrators were clear communication, genuine interest in every teacher’s content, and support. The New Leaders in the room mentioned communication about the “little things” that new teachers don’t know and reflection by the administrators on their own practice.

Our final New Leaders session was titled “Finding Resources for Your Classroom – Think and Wonder, Wonder and Think.” We were thrilled to have Dr. Kim Fowler with us from the OUR Co-op (Ozarks Unlimited Resource Educational Service Cooperative). Here’s a summary of the resources she shared:

I took so many notes today that I can’t wait to think about more. I think the quote of the day came from Amanda W. of Nevada, as quoted by Michelle Shearer, 61st National Teacher of the Year:

“[Teachers are] selflessly dedicated to someone else’s success.”

Let’s not forget that focus as we try to implement all that we’re learning!


Arkansas ASCD  - Influence and Advocacy Award 2014 - Affiliate Excellence Award 2011