Teaching and Learning Goal Setting  

October 09, 2015
The Teaching and Learning Department has been busy assisting ESU 10 schools with back to school trainings. Our staff facilitated workshops in 21 school districts during the month of August. We also continued the work of our RCCD project, facilitated a workshop for Paraprofessionals, and hosted a workshop on poverty facilitated by national expert, Patti Albright. We stayed extremely busy with back to school workshops in August but we also took time to reflect on professional goals and department goals this month.

As an assignment for our July meeting, I asked each department member to read the book, One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon. After reading the book, everyone was asked to choose a one word goal for the year.  We also took time at our meeting to come to consensus on a one word goal for our department. Our T&L word for 2015-2016 is INVEST

At our August department meeting, Susan Evans, Peg Coover, and Dallas Lewandowski led us through a discussion on how to utilize our goal in our everyday work. We decided to add a tag line to all of our email signatures that says: We invest in what matters, you! In September, we will be taking a department picture focusing on our goal and challenging ESU 10 school districts to create a “one word” goal too, using social media. 

Each department member was also asked to reflect on their job descriptions and responsibilities at ESU 10 to set a professional goal. Just as we ask our schools to focus on continuous school improvement, we need to model a growth mindset in our department and be continuous learners. Goal setting provides time for individual reflection on strengths and areas to grow. I shared my goals with the department at our August meeting.  My goals include:
   Goal 1: Develop an evaluation system for all ESU 10 employees utilizing a collaborative process.
   Goal 2: Explore and develop a quality data system for the T&L Department through the continuous improvement process. 

Department members turned in their goal(s) and action plans to me on August 21 and I sat down with each T&L member for one hour conversations about their goal. It is critical that I listen to my staff and offer resources and support to help them achieve their goals. In December, T&L members will submit a goal progress report indicating what they
have accomplished and what resources they may still need to achieve their goals. Each department member will meet with me individually for one hour to discuss their progress and how I can be of assistance. Finally, in March they will submit their final goal reflection and we will discuss their progress as part of their summative evaluation process. 

Besides focusing on investing in our colleagues and schools, the T&L Department set a goal at our department meeting in August.  

   • ESU 10 Teaching and Learning Department will improve communication with stakeholders.

We will be finalizing an action plan to improve communication with each other, ESU 10 staff, and schools at our September department meeting. The goal setting process is helping us improve ourselves as learners but most importantly the goal setting process is helping us focus on what we need to do as a department to meet the needs of ESU 10 school districts. I look forward to watching each department member and our team, grow throughout the year. 


Gordon, J., Britton, D., & Page, J. (2014). One Word That Will Change Your Life. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

-by Denise O'Brien, Teaching and Learning Director