Six Steps to Starting the School Year

I am on the mailing list sent out by Laura Copeland ( and she recently shared the following:

Anne Davies recently let me know that she has started a new ‘series’ on her blog called “6 Steps to Starting the School Year”.  The first step has been posted on Anne’s Blog on the left. The next five steps will be posted over the next while. This might be something you want to forward to your colleagues when the time is right.

After I read it, I asked her about leaders and what they do to start the new school year. She said, “They do the same kind of things, just for a different audience. When it comes to beginning with the end in mind there are lots of examples. Here are a few:

System leaders have the agreed upon priorities to guide their work and will engage the people with whom they work in co-constructing criteria around what it looks like when successfully implemented.

School principals will co-construct criteria around school goals. For example, one principal co-constructed criteria with the entire faculty around their school goal of assessment for learning. They went on an artifact hunt early in the school year, mid-way through the school year, and again near the end of the school year, to find evidence of working towards and meeting their school goal.

Professional learning communities will often co-construct criteria around their norms of collaboration or around their learning goals.  

The most important thing is that the learning destination for the system, the school, or the learning community is clear – not just in terms of words but also in terms of the evidence of achieving the results.”

There is much reading in Anne’s “Six Steps” and Laura makes the very important point that all of us, regardless of our roles & audience, need to have a clear learning destination and evidence that we are moving towards it.


About J Martens

Educator living in Vancouver and working in SD37 Delta. Supporting Numeracy while learning how formative assessment, literacy, inquiry, and technology serve to improve learning and increase engagement (for teachers & students).
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