About the Workshops
Being a principal is often a lonely job. As the instructional leader of a school, the principal is by definition the only person in that building with that job description. With no nearby peers to offer support, the principal needs resources outside the building for help initiating and supporting change in curricula and instructional practice. All too often, professional development for principals who want to improve teaching and learning in mathematics and science is hard to find, even though it can ultimately make a big impact on student achievement. This workshop series is designed to fit this need: to help principals learn more about how to support positive change in math and science, and at the same time, to provide a forum for principals who wish to participate with peers in exchanging ideas and experiences.
The workshop consists of eight one-hour television programs, each followed by a one-hour discussion session. The television programs revolve around a central question and a learning principle, illustrated by short video case examples gathered in more than a dozen different schools in five states.
In each of these videos, teachers and principals struggle with issues affecting K12 educators nationwide: reaching for state and national standards in an atmosphere of high stakes testing, putting into place new curriculum initiatives, overcoming institutional resistance, involving parents and students in the reform effort, trying out new forms of professional development, and many others. While these case examples are not models to be followed blindly, these teachers and principals have a lot to teach us, not only in their successes but in their struggles, which we hear in their own words and experience unrehearsed via the documentary camera.
We commend these educators for their willingness to "go public" with their stories. The series offers a view of the many dimensions of change, with the implicit acknowledgment that there are as many pathways into the science and math reform process as there are outcomes tailored for each and every site.
The series is a cooperative effort between the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. As such, many of the participants are actively involved in ongoing professional development programs at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform; some are participants in past video programs.
As a series by, for, and about principals, it is the culmination of planning and effort stretching over more than a year, involving principals and professional developers with experience at all grade levels. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University are pleased to offer this first workshop series for elementary through high school principals on the Annenberg Channel.