2013 Superintendents' Network Conducts Instructional Rounds

The Iowa Superintendents’ Network Facilitators held their annual meeting and Instructional Rounds visit to an Iowa school district Oct. 22-23. This year’s event was hosted by Dr. Pam Vogel of the East Union School District and held at Three Mile Lake Lodge overlooking the Afton hills.

Dr. Pam Ansingh, Iowa Superintendents’ Network director facilitated the two-day event attended by 25 representative participants ranging from the AEAs, DE, IASB, SAI and superintendents. The Iowa Superintendents’ Network was created in 2007 and modeled after the work of Dr. Richard Elmore and Instructional Rounds. Some districts have extended this work to include in-district rounds as well as cross-district rounds as a way to improve adult and student learning. The goal of Instructional Rounds is two-fold: 1) To contribute to the ongoing learning of district superintendents as instructional leaders; and 2) To enhance the learning of the host school/district in support of improved student achievement.

Participants spent Day 1 focused on revisiting the strengths/ challenges of the Statewide Network, using quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the alignment of our Theory of Action to current practice, identifying common statewide Problem of Practice areas, and agreeing upon the direction our Network needs to go in identifying our Next Level of Work. Next up will be to share these findings with members on the statewide Think Tank, a group that guides the implementation of goals and ideals across the statewide network.   

On Day 2, participants were transported by school bus to East Union Community Schools, grouped into teams of three to four members, and visited multiple classrooms for 25 minutes each. Members focused on the alignment of three foundational areas of Elmore’s Instructional Core: Teacher, Student and Task to examine evidence of learning. This practice is reflective and not evaluative in nature and is a way to examine school improvement across the system. At the end of the day, teams gathered to organize and examine their observational data into reflective questions that were then shared with the administrators and teachers involved in the learning process to help identify NLOW areas. Teachers and administrators were also invited to ask questions and give their feedback on the process.

Superintendents’ Network Facilitators share the desire to increase their collaborative capacity to benefit leadership and learning in all classrooms and for all kids in Iowa. Their work brings leaders and learners together in an environment that supports a shared culture of learning to positively impact the growth of student achievement through the collaborative and reflective nature of Instructional Rounds.