A lead teacher organizes a group of teachers (can be content-based) to collaborate and accomplish an instructional goal, usually data-driven and student-achievement-based. The group identifies their target for improvement, petitions for resources (often this is time to meet together and possibly some PD that matches their focus area) and agrees on the data to collect in order to monitor progress. The data should be connected to student work. Regular meetings need to be supported by the school, along with leadership support and training for the lead teacher. Being able to facilitate the work of a group of teachers is a skill many educators are expected to have but there is very little training to support it. I have found, however, that true changes to instruction and curriculum implementation that produce desired improvements in student outcomes require focused, regularly scheduled support from a group of like-minded colleagues. I have had several years of experience in this kind of group through Critical Friends and through the kind of PLC model supported by Solution Tree, and the results have been really positive. I just wish this was the norm for schools and that training teachers to become facilitators of PLCs was part of the pre-service process. With the wave of changes coming through Common Core and new science standards (NGSS) we are all going to need to have scheduled time for collaboration, a supportive group, and teacher leaders to help us meet the new challenges.
Idea No. 75