By Leslie Barr, Upper School Health and Science Teacher, PLP Team Leader
This year I had the distinct privilege of being on the Westtown 2012-13 PLP (Powerful Learning Practice) team. My other team members included Anne Coleman, Lauren Davis and Narissa Bajjo. We worked really well together and had a great experience.
The year started with a live kick-off event at the Philadelphia Convention Center. We met our coaches and began thinking about ideas for how we could work effectively as a team to benefit Westtown School. Over the course of the school year we would be putting together an Action Research plan to create and complete a tangible goal.
The ideas were wide open. At first we thought we would work on integrating technology, and training faculty to use the technology tools. But as the Westtown year progressed, we saw the work of PREVIOUS PLP teams coming to fruition and found that we did not need to replicate their work.. So we decided to change direction with our research project.
We looked into what makes Westtown unique, and that is the boarding program. At first we thought about weekend programming, but saw that Paul was doing a great job with that. We also thought about our experience as a team. I was a first year dorm parent this year, Narissa and Lauren were second year dorm parents and Anne was a third year dorm parent. What were the things that we learned in our first few years? What would we have benefitted from learning ahead of time?
We then looked at how to create a plan to collect data and to analyze the data. We created a survey and sent it out to new dorm parents with specific parameters of dorm parenting tasks. After we received our responses, we analyzed and graphed our data, then drafted a 4 page document with a list of training topics for dorm parents. In the beginning of May, Anne presented our information to the Dorm Heads.
The next week we were invited to be a featured team to present our data at the culminating event for PLP. It was an honor to be chosen to showcase our year-long efforts. We created a fun movie as a teaser to introduce our topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-77g-NU3wuo
It was a successful year as the Dorm Heads began to implement our ideas directly after Anne’s meeting. We look forward to see the changes that will ultimately benefit the new and existing dorm faculty that will serve Westtown for many years to come.