Westbrook School Rethinks Professional Learning
Someya Inzinger, Teacher, Westbrook School – In order to grasp the true needs of students, Westbrook staff began to collaborate and reflect on data we had previously collected through the Spiral of Inquiry and various surveys from all stakeholders. Throughout the process of analysis and reflection, the following “How Might We” questions emerged:
- How might we balance varying interests with curricular objectives and design purposeful work?
- How might we recognize and support mental wellness, respect of differing opinions, diversity and reconciliation?
- How might we grow our collective understanding of our Learning Support Model and further develop the model to meet our learners needs?
- How might we differentiate to highlight learners' capabilities?
Once these questions came to light, professional learning (PL) became a priority. Staff was encouraged and provided opportunities to attend multiple PL sessions. For example, approximately 90 per cent of teaching staff attended a three-day workshop on Inclusion with Shelly Moore. This rare opportunity allowed staff members to reflect on their instructional practices and classroom needs and come away with new strategies that could be implemented immediately.
To allow “teacher voice” to shine through, teachers were asked to create their own prototypes that reflected their classroom needs and aligned with the “How Might We” questions. Some common themes that arose from this individualized process were: MyBlueprint to make learning visible and highlight learner capabilities; mental wellness to incorporate mindful practices within the classroom; guided math to differentiate instruction; and classroom profiles to support inclusion.
As we move into the new phase of implementation, Westbrook staff will engage in weekly sharing opportunities during our unique ‘Families’ time. Throughout this stage, we will continue to discover new areas of growth, reflect and collaborate to move forward.
Our prototypes are not concrete; rather, they are fluid, reflective and ever changing. This process has allowed Westbrook staff to rethink professional learning, bringing a deeper understanding to develop instructional practice and to fundamentally change our approach. With this change we want our students to connect, achieve and navigate as innovators.