Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vision Letters - Setting the Course for the School Year

A friend and colleague, Barbara Blackburn, works with lots of teachers on ways to strengthen their instruction and assure that each student has a rigorous academic experience. One of her favorite tools is the Vision Letter. A Vision Letter is a way for a teacher, or principal, to think about the outcomes they want to achieve that school year. Barbara asks teachers to imagine it is the last day of school and that the year turned out to be their best ever. She then asks participants to draft an e-mail addressed to a colleague described everything that students accomplished, and ways the teacher supported student learning. Finally, she encourages people to share their letters with a colleague and to identify ways they can support one another so that this vision becomes a reality. At one school she had teachers put their letters into an envelope to be opened at the end of the school year.

You can learn more about Vision Letters in two books that Barbara and I wrote - Rigor in Your School: A Toolkit for Leaders and Rigorous Schools and Classrooms: Leading the WayBoth books have a whole collection of tools that principals can use with to build shared vision and promote collaboration.

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