On Monday, April 11th four of Piney Branch Elementary School’s leadership teams met to reflect on what each team has been doing well and to think about unifying each team’s best practices and positive attributes into a single leadership team for the future. The four teams participating were the:
* Piney Branch Action Team (PBAT)
* School Improvement Team (SIT)
* Professional Learning Community Institute (PLCI)
* Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
This particular moment in Piney Branch’s history is significant because two of the teams (PBAT and PLCI) formed as parts of school improvement and transformation projects that will be concluding at the end of this school year. Members of those teams want to ensure that the lessons learned, relationships built, and good work started continue and grow.
There were 24 people in attendance at the meeting. In addition to the administrators, teachers and parents who comprise the four teams, the group was also joined by John Landesman and Joan Mory. John is the Program Coordinator for Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Study Circles Program. Joan is an Instructional Specialist with MCPS’ PLCI program.
The meeting started with a check-in and continued with Principal Bertram Generlette sharing the purpose of the meeting and the agenda. He spoke of wanting to continue to work to make a very good school into a great school. He pointed out that bringing together the school’s leadership teams representing academic instruction, parent involvement, school improvement, and school transformation is a significant step in the ongoing “good to great” process.
Although the teams have some overlapping members and most in the room knew each other (at least by sight), there was still certainly room for relationship-building. John led a “speed dating” activity that encouraged people to start talking and doing some personal sharing. There was also time to get to know each other as people chatted over dinner. The attention given to helping people feel comfortable with each other helped to create a safer space for open conversation.
Time was given to each team to share their goals and accomplishments of the past year and to talk about the intangibles that make their team unique and successful. In the end, a pretty inspirational list of accomplishments and practices was compiled.
The task for this group going forward is to decide what to do with the list and then how to do it. The one certainty is that the School Improvement Team (which is mandated by MCPS) will be the container for the good practices and actions that are decided upon. Each of the teams will now go back and meet individually to process this conversation and work on developing a structure for moving forward. All of the teams will come together again on May 23rd to share their ideas.