By Anne Arnold, Director of PreK and Elementary Success
Highlines’ Capacity Builders are leading the way as teacher leaders. They impact instructional practice across Highline by providing teacher-to-teacher professional learning in their own classrooms with their own students.
What do Highline’s 32 Capacity Builders have in common?
- A growth mindset
- A desire to grow their practice
- A passion for learning
- A desire to share their learning with others
While these teachers share some important qualities, they also have some differences. Some of them teach preschool, others teach fourth grade or kindergarten (and all grades in between). They work in dual language schools and in special education classrooms.
In short, these teachers work in many settings across Highline but as Capacity Builders, they have the same goal--to align, calibrate, connect and refine their instructional practice in order to share it with their colleagues.
Capacity Builders grew out of the PreK-3rd-grade professional learning, which began when we moved to free, full-day kindergarten for all. The program provides a way to use the expertise of a small group of teachers to support and enhance the practice of all teachers. The power is in working with, and learning from, our colleagues.
What do Capacity Builders do?
- They co-plan and co-teach
- They observe each other’s practice
- They receive coaching support
- They videotape their instruction
- They meet monthly with central office specialists
- They engage in reflective conversations with each other
Then, Capacity Builders open their classrooms as demonstration sites for their colleagues. Teachers attend a professional learning experience that involves:
1. A preview of the lesson to be taught;
2. The classroom observation,
3. A debrief with the Capacity Builder, and
4. Planning and trying on a lesson of their own, because we know that the greatest learning happens when we use what we have learned right away!