Jocelyn Lumley, Academy Director
Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School
Ms. Lumley is the head of the Kindergarten through second grade academy at Orchard Gardens.
Ms. Lumley gave SERP two interviews about aspects of internal coherence from her perspective. The first interview was prior to the administration on the ICAP survey at Orchard Gardens. The second interview is near the close of the school year.
Q: What would a school look like if had a high level of internal coherence? Ms. Lumley suggests there would be a strong sense of shared purpose between students, parents, staff. Also, one would be able to observe common themes and approaches in different classes and throughout the school.Also about the impact of internal coherence, she says that it’s important for teachers to have a focus and be working toward a common goal. In addition, everyone participating in discussions must be able to have their voice heard. She suggests that it takes time to build relationships and allow teachers to feel comfortable enough to take risks and share ideas without fear of judgment.Ms. Lumley speaks about the challenges involved in establishing internal coherence in a school. She suggests that it is often difficult for teachers to have enough time to allow for really meaningful conversations. Teachers need enough time to build instructional coherence, and relationships and climate.Ms. Lumley speaks about what she’s looking forward to learning from the Internal Coherence survey. She feels that in her role as an academy director, the Internal Coherence survey will help her make sure that the teachers are getting the support that they need.Ms. Lumley speaks about the differences between a teacher who’s practice tends to be private and one who considers their practice to be public. A teacher whose practice is public is highly reflective and strongly believes that it is a collective responsibility to educate all the children in the school. It is important for teachers to be public with their practice; to share their strengths and so help other teachers grow and to be able to share their weaknesses so as to be able to get help from their colleagues.Ms. Lumley shares an experience where a teacher being public benefited a student. In this example a teacher was having trouble finding a way to help one of her students who was struggling with issues around literacy. The teacher had spoken to a number of colleagues, with no good result, until she observed a teacher using techniques that subsequently proved to be effective in this case.Q: Did you play a role in an experience where a teacher being public benefited a student? Ms. Lumley speaks of her coaching role with teachers and the things she did to help them get exposure to different schools and different classroom environments.Q: What are the differences between the roles of school administrator and of instructional leader? Ms. Lumley suggests that the role of school administrator focuses on the operational management of resources, whereas an instructional leader - is centered around teacher support, teacher support and coaching. Instructional leaders are more of presence in the educational process, providing professional development and giving feedback to teachers on instruction. She suggests that both skills are very important.In considering what she expects from an effective instructional leader, she mentioned the importance on being approachable and available to hear new ideas. Someone also believes it is critical that the instructional leader remain present, be seen in the classrooms, and provides helpful feedback.Q: How and when in your job do you get to focus on instructional practice? Ms. Lumley says that she spends much of her time visiting classrooms and giving teacher feedback. She also speaks about working with colleagues on instructional practice.Why is it that you can have talented individual teachers in a school, but the students don’t make gains? What’s missing? Ms. Lumley suggests that how you go about building relationships and community is an important element. It is very important to work to build trust between all participants - students, families, teachers.
Q: Please share on how this year worked out for you. Ms. Lumley says that there was a huge learning curve in this first school year. In the beginning of the year the staff worked on understanding the overall school climate and to develop a vision for the school. This understanding help guide the year’s instructional focus and professional development.Ms. Lumley speaks more on developing teacher teams. She suggests that it’s necessary to take time to develop culture and climate within teams. She says that the practices of peer observations and peer feedback are important in developing effective teacher teams, but that these practices develop best within an existing climate of trust.How do you encourage teachers to make their practice public and what are the effects of making practice public? Ms. Lumley says that the teachers were encouraged to help in the planning and participation in professional development. This participation helped teachers see each other as resources of knowledge and assistance. What do think created the psychological safety among the teachers that helped them participate? Ms. Lumley suggests that things like meeting environments where all participants feel allowed to participate equally and fully, can help encourage teachers to feel safe and at ease.Could you walk us through the process you used for creating a structure that allows teachers to be able to take leadership roles? Ms. Lumley’s school has a teacher leader on every grade level and on every content team. The teacher leaders meet for professional development as a group. Teachers and teacher leaders participate directly in the creation of the agenda for, and facilitate, the grade level meetings in the school. Ms. Lumley and other administrator attend all common planning meetings to be a voice and a support for the work that teacher leaders are doing.Ms. Lumley says that her school allows a lot of time for professional development, some of which is built into the school day and some held after school. Teachers have 100 minutes of uninterrupted common planning time per week. In addition, teacher leader teams have regular after school meetings. She says that looking at all this professional development work can seem overwhelming, but this time spent can be extremely helpful.Q: Could you speak about the concept of internal accountability and how it relates to the staff at your school? Ms. Lumley suggests that being part of, and participating in, a team at school encourages teachers to be accountable to themselves and to their colleagues.
The Internal Coherence Assessment and Protocol was developed by a team consisting of Richard Elmore, Michelle Forman, Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, and Candice Bocala.
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