Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Collaborating to transform . . .

Mike, Didem (School Board President), Scott (TEA President)
It was a very good day for me at the Collaborating to Transform the Teaching Profession conference.  Being close to retirement I have seen and experienced many times how policy and initiatives from the state and federal government can drain energy from our system so I tend to be a little cynical, but today was different.  I was energized by what I heard and about the potential for true collaboration to significantly influence our profession.

Other than being asked by WEA to consider sending a team, I questioned why we were one of about one hundred systems in attendance.  After a very short amount of time in the opening session I realized that we have earned the right to be here.  Our deep belief in the need for collaboration within a culture of learning and support is at the heart of this work.  Representatives from eight diverse organizations this morning signed a paper commiting their organizations to work collaboratively to transform the teaching profession. The seven core elements of the plan can be found here and speak to the following needs that should sound familiar to those in our system.  Policy makers are finally seeing the need to focus on the system and culture within which learning and teaching take place.
  • A culture of shared responsibility and leadership.
  • Top talent, prepared for success.
  • Continuous growth and professional development.
  • Effective teachers and principals.
  • A professional career continuum with competitive compensation.
  • Conditions for successful teaching and learning.
  • Engaged communities.
The signees represent organizations often in opposing camps so this is truly a potentially transforming moment.
  • Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education
  • Anne Bryant, National School Boards Association
  • Michael Casserly, Council of the Great City Schools
  • George H. Cohen, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
  • Daniel A. Domenech, American Association of School Administrators
  • Dennis Van Roekel, National Education Association
  • Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers
  • Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chief State School Officers
We are aligned with the beliefs driving this initiative and have the foundation in place to take advantage of the supports that should emerge from the work.  We are and can be a model for this collaborative work.  We are capacity builders commited to supporting growth in our teachers and principals and increased student achievement.  I am encouraged and excited about the opportunity to partner in this work and to support improved instruction through practice, the focus of our Classroom 10 initiative.


John said...

Making Tahoma proud! Thank you for representing us Mike, Didem, Scott, and Mark! I look forward to hearing more details. Travel safe tomorrow.

Unknown said...

Mr. Maryanski,
I am a teacher in your buildings who believes you need to take a better look at the so called "collaboration" that happens here in Tahoma. From what I have seen from the collaboration in your department is a joke. They gather people together under the facade of collaboration. To hear opinions, when decisions have already been made and then when you do question or give your opinion your are told you are not a team player! How is that fair? The collaboration you speak of is a House of Cards. It makes me sad to see how badly you all want to be leaders, but in fact need to take a good look at how your colleagues are behaving when they are asking for opinions. I stay because I know somewhere... you all are trying... somewhere. If people next to you really believed all the things you say they do, SPACE, suspending ladders, and assuming positive intent, then some of the people you work very closely with should take a good look at themselves in the mirror because to be honest Mike, it is not really happening the way you see it.