Maine ASCD Journal of Maine Education

Journal 2015

The Journal of Maine Education is published by the Maine chapter of ASCD with acknowledgements of in-kind contributions from the University of Maine at Augusta. Our mission is to shape, energize and customize learning for all Maine educators.

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Volume XXXI - Page 103 - 2015 WORKPLACE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Pencils: e Engine of Staff Development e good news: If you are a principal with students and faculty in your school, you have most of the ingredients for powerful staff development. Every day, students generate a wealth of artifacts from which educators can learn. In my own elementary school (Pre-K-2), students don't use keyboarding as their primary working tool. ey use pencils. Students and their pencils generate a lot of raw, emergent handwriting and math calculations. eir teachers use pencils to capture reading progress with miscue analysis. ough some reinforcement is done on screens, students spend the most time with actual texts and paper. Handwritten stories, math calculations, and miscue analysis are foundational pieces of staff learning and growth. ese pencil-generated artifacts become the tools for staff development when they are the focus of discussion at a staff or a Professional Learning Community (PLC) meeting (Dufour, Dufour, Eaker, & Karhanek, 2004; Hord, 1997). When I began as a principal ten years ago, I attended as many conferences as I could, hoping to glean the tips and tricks for staff development success from experts or other principals I sat with at lunchtime. At one memorable session for us newbies, we circled up in small groups to discuss the assigned topic. e discussion quickly veered to staff meetings, the place in which a first-year principal can feel the most vulnerable. When a confident-looking principal in our group announced that he didn't really do staff meetings, we were surprised. "Nah, they aren't really into that," he said. "ey've got a lot to do and I let 'em do it. Once in a while we do the mandatory kind of TRACY WILLIAMS

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