Walkthroughs: More Than Just Passing Through
In the past few months, two former principals of Dispelling the Myth schools — Barbara Adderley, formerly of M. Hall Stanton Elementary, and Molly Bensinger-Lacy, formerly of Graham Road Elementary — have teamed up to provide professional development and coaching of a low-performing school in New Jersey. The treat for us here at Ed Trust is that they have been using our offices to meet and plan, so we get to see them and hear how they are thinking about current issues.
The last time I saw Barbara, I told her of a new study that I write about in the Huffington Post this week. The study looks at “walkthroughs,” which is a practice of quickly visiting classrooms that has become popular among principals. I told her the study found that many principals simply used them as a way to stay visible and monitor what was going on in classrooms. “Oh, no,” she said. “They’re much more.” Walkthroughs should provide information to school leaders about what help teachers need, she said.
And that’s exactly what the study found: Walkthroughs are only useful if principals use the information to coach teachers and design professional development for them.
For me, it was a fabulous opportunity to immediately calibrate an academic research study with the experience and knowledge of an expert practitioner.