The Best of Us S2/E11: Supporting Teachers Through Building-Level Leadership, with Jen Martin and Jamie Jordan

In this episode of The Best of Us, principals Jennifer Martin and Jamie Jordan share how they’ve supported teacher professional learning through their roles as building leaders. They discuss practical strategies for empowering teachers through alignment and autonomy, the importance of differentiating professional learning for teacher needs, and providing voice and choice throughout the PL process.

Jen and Jamie also talk through the nitty-gritty of strategically aligning professional learning with school improvement plans, creating space for brainstorming, and the four standard questions for any PLC.

Listen now:


Jennifer and Jamie’s Why (00:02:16): What drives the excitement for providing opportunities for students and the importance of supporting teachers.

Differentiating Learning (00:04:18) The significance of differentiation for teachers and strategies for individualized professional learning.

Alignment and Autonomy (00:05:38) The importance of alignment and autonomy in professional learning for teachers, leading to empowerment.

Empowerment and Energy (00:06:59) The connection between empowerment, energy, and teacher effectiveness in the classroom.

Teacher Spark and Creativity (00:07:47) The impact of professional learning on teacher creativity and innovation in the classroom.

Creating Space for Learning (00:09:40) The role of professional learning as a catalyst and the necessity of creating space for teacher development.

Supporting Teachers' Time (00:10:30) Strategies for listening to teachers' needs and creating systemic processes to provide time and support.

Prioritizing Curriculum (00:14:28) Discussion on prioritizing essential skills and managing overlapping priority units in math and literacy.

Creating a Purposeful Schedule (00:15:54) Structuring a schedule to focus on priority units, reducing unnecessary meetings, and developing protocols for curriculum unpacking.

Streamlining Professional Development (00:16:55) Implementing a universal protocol for curriculum unpacking, empowering teachers to make decisions, and utilizing professional learning communities.

Focusing on Priority Initiatives (00:18:58) Paring down initiatives, setting school improvement goals, and providing individualized professional development for different departments.

Predicting Teacher Energy (00:22:01) Anticipating collective teacher energy at different times of the year and managing the number of initiatives to create confidence and competence.

Leveraging Teacher Expertise (00:22:54) Creating a supportive climate, celebrating teacher autonomy, and providing opportunities for teachers to share expertise and knowledge.

Transforming Staff Meetings (00:26:48) Changing staff meetings to professional learning sessions, bringing in consultants based on needs assessments, and incorporating teacher voice in leadership teams.

Leveraging Teacher Expertise (00:28:49) Leveraging teachers' expertise to influence professional learning and improve practice.

Measuring Impact of Professional Learning (00:30:00) Strategies for measuring the impact of professional learning on student outcomes and teacher practice.

Connecting with Students (00:33:02) Importance of understanding students' experiences and needs to assess the impact of professional learning.

Continuous Improvement as Building Leaders (00:39:25) Discussion on refining intervention practices and maintaining focus on school improvement goals.

Building Trust and Community (00:42:03) Discussing the importance of building trust and community among teachers and providing ongoing support and feedback.

Enhancing Educator Experience (00:44:54) Exploring strategies for principals to enhance the educator experience, including being present in classrooms and providing feedback.

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