Talking about Teaching and Learning
By Upper School Head Greg Martin
Being a professional member of the La Jolla Country Day School community invigorates me on a daily basis. Our work as educators is so varied here that no two days are the same. We have the opportunity to work with bright, energetic students and dedicated, passionate teachers. The faculty cares deeply about the students (our top priority!), and they love leading a life of the mind. The craft of teaching and developing professionally is of utmost importance to us as professionals.
This year, the school adopted a program called Folio Collaborative, a faculty growth ecosystem that supports a conversation-based professional development culture. Based in part on the book Fierce Conversations, the system records and archives faculty accomplishments, goals, observations, mid-year conversations, and final reflections. Folio is a nonprofit created by independent school educators who saw a need for a comprehensive observation and evaluation system. Over 100 high-powered independent schools like ours are using Folio to enhance faculty and staff professional growth.
Because the application syncs with calendar systems, users receive reminders to meet their goals, visit someone’s class, or complete a reflection. We’re excited about launching this ecosystem at LJCDS, but we’re more excited to talk about teaching and especially learning.
In addition to the movement we’re seeing in schools, we’re noticing a trend in the corporate world with Fortune 500 companies like GE and Microsoft, replacing their annual employee reviews and ranking systems with consistent feedback and coaching conversations throughout the year. In doing so, they are cultivating the right culture of engaging, nurturing, and retaining top employees.
Folio Collaborative enhances our already rich growth culture. We’ve been lucky recipients at LJCDS of generous professional growth budgets. Teachers travel far and wide or take advantage of webinars to learn more about their subject, about teaching, or about other matters important to students. So, from all of us on the faculty, many thanks to our community members who so generously donate to the professional growth funds. We love to learn here, whether it’s the students or the faculty.
Should you have any questions about Folio or any of our other important initiatives, please don’t hesitate to drop by the West Side of campus or give me a ring on the phone to discuss.