I am very excited about participating in this new Blog series from Media-X Systems.
As a high school principal, I am always looking for effective strategies and efficient tools to assist me in my role as school leader. I have found both of those in eWalk from Media-X. I began using eWalk five years ago to visit classrooms and gather data. Over the years, eWalk has evolved into one of my most trusted tools used to monitor and improve professional practice in my school.
Nine years ago I was awarded my first administrative position. Like many new administrators my primary role was to handle discipline and secure subs for teachers. I had a few other responsibilities but none of those were associated with instruction or student achievement. I served as an assistant principal for three years before assuming my first position as principal of my own school. I gained a wealth of knowledge and experience during my years as an assistant principal that benefited me greatly in my transition to principal. However, my assistant principal experience did not prepare me for my new role as instructional leader of a school. I had to learn that on my own.
I decided that to learn what was happening in my school I had to get out from behind my desk and visit classrooms. I started by visiting a few classrooms a day watching what teachers and students did in class. After several visits I began to take note of a few things. The first thing I noted was that I needed some type of format to record what I was observing. I needed something that would allow me to effectively record my observations so that I could recall specific information later in the day.
Secondly, my classroom visits would leave me with questions. Often I would have many more questions than answers. I needed something that would allow me to formulate my questions into a dialogue with others that was both professional and appropriately worded. I also needed something that would afford me the opportunity to engage others in healthy conversation. I needed a platform that would afford me opportunities to visit classrooms, record data, and facilitate the process of providing feedback that would establish a base for conversation. Fortunately for me, soon after realizing that I needed a tool to assist me with my classroom observations I was introduced to eWalk.
Finding Media-X and their eWalk system has honestly been one of the most significant finds of my administrative career.
The eWalk system has allowed us to customize our observation process focusing on what we feel is important. Data is easily gathered through templates we build to suit our own needs. Data reports are easily accessed and provide information relevant to our desired outcomes. Web access to critical information makes using the system very easy despite time of day or location of our work station. Using eWalk is simple and effective.
Five years later, classroom observations and the eWalk system have become embedded into the culture of our school. Almost everything we do is monitored through eWalk. We have built a school culture based upon collaboration and shared responsibility for improvement largely attributable to our walk through process. We have learned a great deal over the years visiting classrooms and collecting data. The walk through process has allowed us to effectively shape our initiatives so that continuous improvement is possible. I am very excited about participating in the new Media-X blog and sharing with you how we use the eWalk process in our school.
I hope that you will continue to visit the Media-X website and participate in the blog so that we all may become more effective in our roles as educational leaders.