Two Lists that Made Me Pause
And One on the Way


A friend has been bugging me for about a year to read “Creating Productive Cultures in Schools” by Joe Murphy and Daniela Torre. She received a few pre-publication chapters and called me a year ago and said: “You have to read this book when it comes out. It’s all about your work.” The title is long and didn’t really strike me as very intriguing. I don’t work specifically in schools and so I put it off. But this weekend I bought it and took a look inside. The book has eight chapters, many of which I skimmed—that should be a Common Core skill, if it’s not. I perused chapters 4, 5 and 6 more carefully:

  • Supportive communities of learning for students
  • Communities of professional practice for teachers
  • Communities of professionalism: barriers and supports

Two lists emerged that made me pause and that I thought worth sharing.

The concept of personalized learning communities really struck me as a powerful construct. You’ve seen me blog about personalized learning so I love the notion of a personalized community for both teachers and students.

A personalized learning community for students includes (p 65):

  • Providing assistance
  • Offering encouragement
  • Ensuring availability of safety nets
  • Monitoring
  • Mentoring
  • Advocating

I also loved the idea of teachers, administrators, parents and other students trying to provide these qualities of a personalized learning community.

The other list that made me pause was that of the core elements of mission-driven schools:

  • Sense of hope
  • Norms of commitment
  • Asset-based thinking
  • Student focus
  • Academic anchoring
  • Outcome focus
  • Norms of continuous improvement
  • Norms of collective responsibility

Do you feel like these qualities ooze out of the bricks of your school? Why not?

Sometimes in a busy world, it’s good to just make a list or take a look at someone else’s list to center your thinking.

-C.