My intent as the instructional leader of Roosevelt School [Stefanie R. Holzman, Ed.D.] was initially isolated on these tools for a direct and immediate impact on student performance. What I didn't realize and could not foresee were the deeper effects upon the development of teachers across our year-round, multitrack school as a result of the use of Thinking Maps in their classrooms. I discovered that from an administrator's point of view, Thinking Maps did much more than what I had understood from both practical and theoretical points of view. First, there are changes in how teachers learn and teach and evaluate student work, especially with differentiated processes for our second-language learners. Second, there have been shifts in the culture and climate of our school, most obvious in the quality of professional conversations that now rise to the surface (see Chapter 17, Thinking Maps). Third, there is a new level of access and discourse in the areas of teacher evaluation and accountability, which has led to a higher quality of teacher decision making. All of these changes-often referenced as keys to school change-will continue to have a long-term positive outcome on the academic achievement of the students at my school beyond the direct application of these tools by students to academic tasks and tests.
Listen to the Leadership Team at Roosevelt Elementary School discuss their success with Thinking Maps as a staff and with the students. The video clip Roosevelt Elementary School Leadership Team.
Watch the Roosevelt Leadership Team in Quicktime (3:35)
It is important for me to restate that 1 did not bring Thinking Maps into this school [Roosevelt Elementary School] for the purpose of bringing about change in these three areas, but for an immediate shift of student performance that could cascad,e over time. Below are my discoveries about the interdepend.ent ripple effects that I found in these other areas of teacher learning (including higher-order thinking for English-language learners), school culture, and accountability.