I'm participating in Bill Ferriter's "Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap" digital conversation and wanted to take a minute and explain why I'm spending some of my time this week participating in it with the idea that you might decide to as well.

First, I believe teachers should model lifelong learning, just as we expect our students to do outside the classroom.  This is ultimately the reason I blog and tweet, but spending some time conversing about a specific topic (professional learning communities and systematic interventions) for a defined amount of time (three days) keeps me focused on an area I would like to learn more about.

Second, in my new role next year, I will be charged with leading our district's professional development and overall vision in the area of teaching and learning.  I've long been an advocate for increased collaboration opportunities for educators.  It is time to put my money where my mouth is, learn even more about professional learning communities so that I can hopefully put theory into practice this fall.  Our district's leadership team has already decided that collaborative learning teams will be our main focus for next year, so it just makes sense to talk with experts Rick and Becky DuFour in this digital format when I have the opportunity to do so.

Third, I need to add a disclaimer that I am being compensated in a very small way to be a part of the conversation, but I would still be participating for free.  Collaboration is THAT important in education.  I'm looking forward to helping my district become more results-oriented.  Any single educator moving forward alone will only be as successful as his/her time and efforts permit.  I can attest from my own experience that I can't do it all by myself.

"Professional learning communities create a systematic process of interventions to ensure students receive additional time and support for learning when they experience difficulty.  The intervention process is timely and students are directed rather than invited to utilize the systems of time and support." Learning by Doing, p. 71
From a standards-based grading perspective, David Cox is constantly pestering me with questions like the one he left on Shawn Cornally's recent post,
"The two major weaknesses I see with SBG are in diagnosing and prescribing what a student must do between assessments and making the reassessments “optional” by having them done outside of class....but in order for other teachers in my district to jump on board, we are going to have to find a way for this to work “in class.”Question is: How?"
He, too, is right.  It is incredibly difficult for individual educators to remediate ALL of our students, even after standards-based grading helps us identify and report their exact weaknesses.

So...what are you waiting for?  Join me May 19-21 over at Bill Ferriter's Voicethread conversation.