Below are a list of phrases and ideas that season our work at The Freshman Academy. We do much of that work in a conference room we call “The Bridge.” How the adults operate in a professional learning committee is critical and these ideas have proved helpful.
“The way it is!”
What’s said on The Bridge is the way it is. If teachers are doing something differently than other teachers, that information is shared at the meeting. Silence is interpreted as full agreement.
“Honor the Absent”
When a teacher is absent, they are taken care of. In side conversations with other team members, the absent teacher is honored. Concerns about a staff person are addressed directly to that staff person or not at all.
Protect the chair
We kind of like where we sit. We often have students as guests on The Bridge. Teachers are encouraged to direct students and sometimes adult guests to the “correct chair.”
Hey, check your email!
We communicate through email. Teachers are expected to check it often and stay in the loop.
Be a true fan.
Be a true fan of other teachers on your team. In front of students demonstrate that appreciation by supporting and bragging about other team members honestly and boldly.
We treat all assignments as if they were our own.
Learning is learning regardless of the subject. Value the assignments given in other classes.
We all have a piece of the puzzle.
Understanding how to build a place for student success is a puzzle. Team members are encouraged to contribute their pieces to that puzzle.
No grading papers on The Bridge.
The District has provided this time for teachers to collaborate and carry out the tasks associated with The Freshman Academy. We honor that commitment and importance by not grading or planning on The Bridge.
Don’t throw your teammates under the bus.
We trust each other. If we hear something critical or suspect about another team member, we defend the teacher and then verify the facts. The first step is to defend and support. The second step is to verify.
We only assign homework that’s meaningful and that we are willing to chase.
We spend a lot of time and energy creating systems to provide accountability and support for the completion of homework. It is critical that teachers assign meaningful homework that leads to learning.