The beginning of the school year is a great time! There are a million things on the minds of teachers in preparing for the new school year and every one of them is a fun thing to accomplish and check off a list. Having held several positions in different schools and school systems for over 15 years, I can attest that the excitement and anticipation don’t diminish.

From the perspective of school leaders, there is a huge list of items to cover at the beginning of the school year.

They include:

  • Is the building ready? Clean and inviting?
  • Do our teachers have the resources they need to teach our kids?
  • Are our teachers and students schedules done?
  • Planning all the right conversations with different groups.
  • Are our efforts and future work aligned to the vision of our school?
  • Are we planning for necessary support in shifting our teachers’ mindsets to provide instruction that will ready kids for their future?
 All of these are critical to school leaders in their efforts to plan a smooth start to the school year.

Over the summer, one of the on-going conversations I’ve had with my instructional leadership team is about how we will support and grow our teaching staff – specifically in the area of our instructional supervision efforts. This past year, we’ve made great efforts to improve teaching and learning in our school by dedicating substantial time and effort to monitoring instruction, providing feedback to teachers and structuring professional development to match the identified needs.

Continuing and improving our supervision and monitoring efforts are how school leaders make sure we are meeting the needs of students in our schools. Prioritizing these efforts is requires ongoing planning and strategic work.

Our conversations this summer covered a broad range of topics for this upcoming school year:

    • What will monitoring teachers look like?
    • What tool will we use? Will it serve our needs?
    • What will professional development look like?
    • What usable data will we get from our efforts?
    • Has our method of feedback given us the high yield we need to see the most difference in student learning?

Student learning is why schools exist. All of our efforts have to be dedicated to improving instructional design and delivery and our instructional monitoring will play a significant part in that.