Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Purpose-Derived Walkthroughs™ (PDWs)

This year, I instituted purpose-derived walkthroughs™ (PDW) throughout our district.   Purpose-derived walkthroughs™ (PDW) provide administrators the opportunity to statistically measure the effectiveness of their initiatives.

Planning/Brainstorming Session:
To set the framework for the purpose-derived walkthrough, each building administrative team identifies 1-2 areas that their teachers demonstrate effectively (possibly be a previous building goal) and 1-2 areas that they are working to improve with their staff.  Most often, the areas that they are working to improve are associated with their WIGs (Widely Important Goal).  WIGs are a term that is used in the book entitled The 4 Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey, and Huling.  My Leadership Academy studied this book for the 2013-2014 school year.
After these areas have been identified, the team discusses and outlines a specific list of "look fors" associated with each area.  These "look fors" set the framework for the walkthrough with an identified purpose (thus the title of the exercise).  It also reduces the amount of time needed in each classroom (thus making the process fairly quick).  
Rationale of Purpose:
Previous to the purpose-derived walkthroughs™, my administrative team found the walkthrough process a bit burdensome.  The team became mentally exhausted as we were looking for a multitude of pedagogical components in EACH classroom without a given purpose.  Purpose-derived walkthroughs™, however, can be completed quickly and provide leaders with statistical data to drive their educational decisions.
Evidence-Based Assessment of Initiatives: 
The brainstorming session and initial walkthrough provide a baseline for measurement on the leader's initiatives.  A comparison of the data collected month after month allow leaders to change their frame of reference (Bolman and Deal) and may cause them to refocus or shift their priorities (depending on the statistical data).  For example, a leader may uncover that an identified area of effective implementation is not as effective as they perceive.  Or a leader may uncover that an identified area of improvement is already being implemented effectively (to their satisfaction).  In addition to informing their professional practice, my leaders will occasionally share their statistical data from the purpose-derived walkthroughs™ to demonstrate achievement towards their WIGs.

Regardless, walkthroughs provide a frame change opportunity; an opportunity to assess their initiatives through the lens of an educator and complete the task in a short duration of time.  The data from a purpose-derived walkthrough™ can inform professional development decisions and keep leaders focused on THEIR initiatives and on what is most important to THEM!  It is not meant to be an assessment of the educator (although that may occur as an unintended outcome), but rather a non-evaluative assessment of their initiatives as a leader.  Is the classroom reflecting a productive advancement of the leader’s initiatives?  Are teachers understanding and implementing the leader’s initiatives properly or are they being lost in translation?
I hope this provides you with some insight on purpose-derived walkthroughs™.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries.

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