In this #coachbetter episode we have a thoughtful conversation about innovation and change in well-established schools with Daniela Silva, Director of Innovation at Collegio FDR, American School of Lima, Peru. We talk about the importance of presenting change, not as a loss, but as an opportunity to grow. Daniela and her team at Collegio FDR are bringing in tons of exciting innovations while ensuring that the entire school community is on board with both the process and the outcome. For coaches that are working on implementing large-scale change in their schools, this podcast highlights many of the key elements that the team at Collegio FDR found so effective.

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Featured Guest

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Show Notes

Has been in education for 15 years, from Ecuador. IT Director in Nigbo, south of Shanghai. One of the Founders of QA Sitra, left as the 21st Century Learning Leader at the District Office, created a future ready framework for the Foundation Schools. Currently Director of Innovation at FDR. ITGS Examiner, Principal Examiner and Assessment Author for IB ITGS. Name will change to Digital Society.

What are you doing that is challenging / exciting / interesting at your school? 

When she started, the school moved away from the PYP/MYP (still Diploma). How do we present change not as a loss, but an opportunity to grow. Shirley Droese introduced Daniela to Adaptive Schools while they were at QF and norms of collaboration, which created the foundation that was needed to build the trust to start making changes.

First step, reaching out to the community to see who is interested in the idea of changing from ManageBac to PowerSchool. Called the PowerSchool Champions. Created agreements for how they would interact and communicate about the process.

Started Adaptive Schools with IT team and Tech Coaches. Did an inventory of the norms – how are you living the norms, then created agreements. Then expanded to PowerSchool champions. 30 educators just went through the Foundations training. School will continue to provide these trainings to more teachers.

Adaptive schools was developed to create collaborative teams and have effective meetings. When you have effective meetings, you build social capital to influence future change.

Creating shared norms builds a stronger community. Whenever we implement change, we honor the past.

Key takeaway: Adaptive Schools strategies on the website. Gives you ways to deal with conflict and making conflict more productive.

How do the coaches work at FDR?

Dale & Carla took Coaching: From Theory to Practice with Diana as the instructor. Mixed responsibilities: admin of makerspace, professional development facilitators, run a microcredential on teaching and learning in a 1:1 environment, and some coaching. Using their learning from the course to empower teachers.

What feedback are you getting from the teachers that the coaches are working with?

Using the TIM matrix to help teachers know where they are, and where they want to be, and how much they have grown. The tool is not for assessment, it’s to help me grow as an educator, with a direct impact on the learning environment. Challenge that teachers want more coaching, but because coaches have less contact hours with students, the jobs for coaches are disappearing.

How are your coaches going to demonstrate their value as coaches in order to retain their positions?

Drop some innovation bombs around the school. Created FDR Transformers: teachers apply to be a technology leader. In order to get new technology in their classroom, or how to leverage tools teachers already have access to, they need to apply to become part of the FDR Transformers team. Requirements: post on collaborative blog once a semester, involved in social media somehow, be observed using the TIM matrix. This was really successful and now other teachers want to be involved. Use the coaches to pass on the “cheerleader moments” to other teachers. 

How do you use the TIM as an observation tool?

When you give PD, there’s no way to keep track of the impact. FDR is using the TIM Tools to track the growth of teachers – the results don’t go to Principals, just stays with the coach. Coach sits with the teacher and fill it out together. Second year they’ve been using the tool. The first year, the coaches just used it for themselves – they took this time to evaluate the tool for professional growth. So they know exactly how it feels to be observed with this tool.

Making teachers part of the process and the decision-making.

What challenges have you / the coaching team faced?

Time. Teachers have so many responsibilities. Coaches work at having relationships first, sitting with teachers at lunch time, chatting at social events, to build trust. The FDR transformers really helped because it shows that some of the teachers were willing to invest extra time, and to be volunteers to be observed. Creating opportunities for the FDR Transformers to shine, so other teachers can see new instructional strategies for learning.

What is the ripple effect?

Every time there is a demo slam, there is a central place to share those resources (along with a video library on YT) so teachers can go back to watch and learn.

What’s next for you?

This year has included feedback from all stakeholders to draft a new edtech plan for FDR. Used design thinking for “innovation sparks”. Plan is in draft mode right now, but will be implemented next year, includes 3 sections: policies & procedures, teaching & learning, our ecosystem. Working a lot of interoperability, connecting all systems and creating a dashboard. Testing out some biometric devices, to take attendance, also bracelets to wear when students are in makerspaces to track when boys and girls are in the space. Using Speak Up survey from Project Tomorrow to collect data about technology use inside and outside the school. Provided a baseline for understanding where students are at now. A big takeaway is that students know about digital citizenship, but they don’t know how to apply it in real life. Students are using YT to get answers to their questions (90%) – more than any other platform.

One recommended resource

Adaptive Schools: If you can’t create cohesive teams and collaborators, nothing will work. You have to build strong relationships to make anything happen.

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