Takeaway 7: The three-ring strategy of priorities
Lauer: As a district person, I always think in three concentric rings. The inner ring is my district priorities: the center of the bullseye. For example, we’re coming into a literacy initiative right now. Last year the state legislature revised our READ Act to require a minimum of 35 training hours in evidence-based reading foundations for all K-3 teachers. So we’ll work as a district to provide those hours in addition to our other activities. That’s a priority.
But buildings have focus areas as well. An individual school also might be expanding reading foundations to fifth grade, supporting English language learners, or improving writing. Those are the middle ring.
So now you have a district initiative with early literacy, you have schools adding onto those priorities — and in the outer ring is what the teachers are looking for themselves. Maybe an individual teacher has a passion for parent engagement or working with IEP students. Every person is going to have work that they’re doing to support a district initiative; probably they’re doing some work because of their site goal; and also they’re probably carrying around a personal passion.
KicKUp: And it’s your work, as a district leader, to align the supports as best you can to all those rings.
Lauer: Looking at the data, I probably spend more time and energy measuring the outcome of the district initiative. We provide a whole suite of courses in all kinds of areas beyond next year’s K-3 literacy focus. We do that because we know that we have teachers with a vast array of interests. We want to provide our teachers access to those because we want them to feed their thirst for new ideas.