Michigan Portfolios

Principal’s Reflection

A commitment to writing is more than just a statement found in a school improvement plan or even the purchase of materials. As a building principal, I have felt it my job to keep writing in the forefront of our building. While I may not have classroom contact time with students, there is a lot a building principal can and should do to keep writing important and relevant. From my experience the most important thing is supporting an ongoing system of professional development that supports teachers as they seek to change how they deliver writing in their classroom. Professional conversations around writing together with opportunities for school staff to come together to look at student work and to plan for next steps is critical if improvement is to take place.

A change in instruction is only as good as its effectiveness. Continuously the question that begs asking is, “What evidence do we have that suggests what we are doing with kids is working?” A regular opportunity for staff to pull student writing samples, analyze the results, and look for evidence of instruction has been an important part of the process to improve our students’ writing skills. Void of that evidence, we may never know if what we are doing is actually making a difference and leaves our decisions about future steps left up to the whims and fancies of guestimation. Portfolio assessment opportunities provide teachers and myself the evidence that leads instruction.

Portfolios of Student Writing Support:

  1. observation of student learning in authentic work
  2. writing samples that can be reflected upon at any time
  3. review of progress and weaknesses that guides diagnostic coaching

Jeff Peterson, Principal
Alexander Elementary School
Adrian, MI 49221