From Marzano to a Movement: It All Comes Full Circle

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By Dr. Tawana Grover

When it comes to sound instructional and leadership practices, the research and work of Dr. Marzano has long been my go-to for many years—and for good reason—it works!

Now that I’m leading a school district as Superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools in Nebraska, it’s been amazing to connect several components of Dr. Marzano’s teachings with the work he does in partnership with Instructional Empowerment (IE) and the Learning Sciences Marzano Center. Not only are they familiar concepts, but they create a much-needed coherence when put into practice for our district.

So what exactly are we doing in Grand Island?

It starts with our belief in and commitment to the idea that if we empower principals, teachers, and other instructional leaders to truly personalize learning for students and make informed decisions using data, we’ll be able to ensure that our students will be successful.

Now these just aren’t words on the paper (or blog!) These are actions we’re taking on a daily basis using IE tools and techniques, including the district leadership strategies that have come to life in some very practical manners, allowing us to collectively embrace the pursuit of creating Demonstration Schools for Rigor.

In the classrooms, I’ve also been very encouraged by the feedback from our teachers, and how they’re progressing to build clear goals, receive the proper coaching and feedback, and tracking the progress of their students on a much more consistent, meaningful basis.

The teachers’ real-life experience of being in the classroom on a daily basis to witness students, regardless of race, background, or socioeconomic status, achieve success has created an incredibly positive culture. Not only do the teachers believe in their students, they believe in themselves as teachers who have the power to make a difference!

Simply put, we’ve started a movement

A movement where terms like success criteria, learning targets, and student roles are now common language and knowledge in our buildings.

And it’s that kind of infectious positivity and results we can see that makes me excited to attend this year’s Building Expertise National Conference.

The chance to interact with and learn alongside educators from all over the country is the perfect backdrop to having a place where we can exercise our power (yes, the Power of YOU!) to transform education as we learn from experts in the field.

You can bet that I’m excited to meet Dr. Marzano in person, but more importantly, I’m excited to be a part of the magic that happens when we come together to share stories, ideas, and innovations that are helping our students realize their full potential. Perhaps you’ll be there too!