Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Take Aways from #CISC14 (Curriculum Instruction Steering Committee)

I have been struggling with my transition from 23 years in the classroom to the district office.  It is strange because when I started my career as an educator, I always knew I would make the jump and I had imagined it would be after around 10 years in the classroom.  I stayed in the classroom for 23 years because I loved being with my students and I felt that as an instructional leader my credibility came from being able to say "this is what I did with my students last week..."

Ever since taking my job in August, I have been struggling to find my place as a curriculum coordinator. I have paid close attention to the educational leaders I follow on Twitter (and elsewhere) to notice how they model educational leadership in their various roles.  I see it being done everyday, but I was still missing how the transition would evolve for me.  It has been six months and finally I am beginning to understand how my role has changed and the impact it is having on my growth as an educator.

This past week I attended the CISC Symposium in Monterey CA. (my home town from age 3 to 29).  CISC - is short for Curriculum Instruction Steering Committee and was attended by 1200 education leaders from all over California.  For some reason my attendance at this conference brought clarity to my understanding of my new path as a district leader.

Here are some random quotes:

"People are smart and they WILL figure it out!" - Liz Wiseman
"Ask questions and let others find the answers." - Liz Wiseman
"The person doing the talking is the one doing the learning" Sarah Brown Wessling
"Ask questions rather than saying yes or no..." Sarah Brown Wessling
"If we traded brains, what would I understand about you?" Sarah Brown Wessling reminded us to think about this in regards to our students.
"Getting teachers from a zero to a 1 (on a rubric) is movement and growth that will positively impact student achievement" Dr. Robert Marzano
"Do you have a place (at M.I.T.) or in your classroom for a student from a migrant family, who works in the fields when not at school, helps take care of siblings, speaks English as a second language, and has a 3.7 GPA." Consuela Castillo Kickbush


  • Building capacity in our students requires builing capacity in our teachers which requires building capacity in our leadership team
  • When in doubt, ask a question rather than tell someone what to do, make others the genius by asking them questions.
  • Instructional rounds seem like a powerful tool to use with leadership and teachers.  It can be used to deepen knowledge base of individuals and their understanding of how our district works
    • can be used to change instruction (coaching teachers)
    • can be used to build understanding of the district as an organization
    • must be reflective participants need to ask WHY 
    • used to build "learning organizations"
    • teachers pick 2 areas of growth they would like to work on each year, requires admin to coach rather than evaluate
    • involve the board, parents and community in the process of instructional rounds
Final thoughts:
  • Work to be a multiplier in our district
  • Ask more questions
  • Believe: People are smart and they WILL figure it out!
  • Build the expectation that all adults will be learners in our district.  They need to reflect and ask why.
  • Be a talent finder, liberator, challenger, community builder, and investor in the folks working in our district
  • Be purposeful; ask how; question, question, and question again; be explicit; develop deep conceptual understanding; model how to make a difference
This post is a reminder for me to not forget the information I learned while at #CISC14.  It also somehow helped me understand how to go from creating capacity in my students as a classroom teacher, to building capacity in the various groups of people within our district organization.  I will continue working to make the shift and connection between my classroom experience and my new role as a district leader.

No comments:

Post a Comment