Saturday, June 12, 2010

Professional Learning Communities for Teachers by Jamie Faith Woods

The DeLeT Alumni Leadership Group presented at the Jewish Day School Leadership Conference, January 17th-19th in Teaneck, New Jersey. Below are their reflections of one participant.  Jamie FaithWoods of Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island (Brandeis, Cohort 1):

“I was asked only a couple of weeks ago to be on a panel at a presentation about Professional Learning Communities, by Naava Frank . I was one of three panelists. I sat alongside Jared Matas JCDS (Brandeis, Cohort 2) and Maureen Mintz, the director of professional development at South Area Solomon Schechter , a DeLeT site school from its inception. When preparing for this presentation, we all shared our stories over the phone. Maureen spoke about how the PLC at her school really began when a DeLeT alum approached her with a new idea. You see, she had just returned from a conference and attended a presentation about the values of PLC and how to get started. I was curious about who this alum was and which conference she was referring to. Unbeknownst to Maureen, as we uncovered minutes later, it was actually my presentation, entitled “Enacting the ‘L’, ” at last spring’s DeLeT alum conference that this teacher had attended. From there she returned to her school inspired, and with a proposal. SASSDS has since institutionalized this work in a very impressive way. While it is certainly significant to inspire change on any level, the ripple effects, particularly at an event such as this conference, are what I’m feeling most hopeful about at this moment in time.

Administrators who attended the session looked to us to help guide them in making a formal PLC work at their schools. They listened as we spoke earnestly about how to listen to their teachers.

DeLeT’s reputation preceded us....Early on a participant chimed in to say how she didn’t find it coincidental at all that the beginnings of this movement (in day schools) came out of a DeLeT alum conference. She spoke highly of DeLeT’s reputation in regards to preparing teachers to be reflective practitioners and to make their work public.

Cross-posted with permission of the author, Jamie Faith Woods from the DeLeT Alumni Network Blog