Sharing Methods, Sharing Knowledge
The Principals Academy promotes student learning through collaboration.
Since 2002 principals and teachers across Utah have been experiencing the power of collaboration through the Principals Academy. This group of principals from the BYU-Public School Partnership comes together to discuss and implement new teaching techniques and to generally look for ways to improve their students’ learning. Barry Newbold, an adjunct MSE faculty member who was formerly Superintendent of the Jordan School District, serves as co-director of the Principals Academy. “It’s much more challenging to teach kids in an ‘every class for themselves’ type environment,” said Newbold. “When teachers collaborate—when they trust each other, know each other, and have a desire to share ideas—they can learn a lot from each other.”
The Principals Academy is designed to encourage schools in the BYU-Public School Partnership to collaborate and grow through cooperation and combined learning. Six characteristics appropriately represent the Academy:
- Shared mission, vision, values, and goals–all focused on student learning
- A collaborative culture with a focus on student learning
- Collective inquiry into best educational practices and the current reality
- Action orientation: learning by doing
- Commitment to continuous improvement
- Results orientation
The academy meets seven times annually, giving principals the opportunity to collaborate and discuss based on their years of administrative experience. Mike Mattos, a nationally acclaimed motivational speaker, described the Principals Academy as “The best training event in the country, ” concluding, “There is nothing better.”
To effectively implement complete teacher collaboration, many schools will need to change their policies, and the results can be slow growing. “Most schools have to start small,” Newbold explained. “As successes grow, others will want to join in.” Schools participating in the Principals Academy have been scoring higher on regional and national tests, proving that teacher collaboration has immediate, recognizably positive effects on students.
14 November 2011