Folio 2.0: Inspiring Faculty Growth through Conversation and Collaboration
Who We Are
In 2011, McDonogh School created the FolioCollaborative, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring informed conversations for faculty growth in independent schools. The Collaborative has grown to include over 90 member schools in the US, Canada, and the UK. Our current Folio suite provides a system to ensure teachers receive feedback from administrators. As faculty look for ways to deepen their learning, we believe that the solution could be found in the classroom next door or in classrooms of Folio member schools across the country. At McDonogh, our goal is to create an ongoing "horizontal" conversation among peers to enhance the work of the existing "vertical" conversations between faculty and supervisors through an expanded Folio platform, Folio 2.0.
Teachers benefit from conversations about their teaching. They also benefit from an environment where they are encouraged to try new things and learn from each other. With the generous support of the Edward E. Ford Foundation, we seek to develop a more concrete framework for inspiring these collegial conversations around practice, which will break down traditional school silos and simultaneously ensure follow-through.
Through our work with some of our Collaborative schools, it has become apparent that they, too, are wrestling with the facilitation of effective learning communities to enhance their professional development and evaluation process. We would like to incorporate participants from some of these innovative schools to bring a variety of perspectives to the research and development of an extended platform. These teams will envision, collaborate, create, and field test new tools in Folio 2.0. To this end, McDonogh and partner schools in the Collaborative will leverage the generous grant from the E. E. Ford Foundation to pursue the following objectives:
- Develop an understanding of the different models and protocols for professional discourse around teaching
- Develop a resource bank of tools, articles, and links to reinforce the findings
- Develop a one-day workshop for Folio member schools interested in creating a peer professional development program with supporting software for independent schools
- Create a pre- and post- evaluation tool to measure the effectiveness of the program in participating schools
- Design features for the Folio software to reflect new practices around collaboration and peer interactions to enable facilitation and accountability of these conversations
Outcomes and the Future
"How do we attract and retain the best teachers?" As we consider this question posed by the E. E. Ford Foundation, we think the answer lies within one of our biggest investments as schools -- the faculty themselves and their gifts. The process we wish to design for Folio 2.0 will demonstrate to prospective teachers that Folio schools support their faculty in the delivery of services, expect a higher level of communication, collaboration and innovation, and provide a more coordinated educational experience for students. The software will be a collection mechanism to facilitate individual and team objectives. Additionally, it will create a system of accountability and a repository for tracking the development of new ideas and interactions between team members. Above all, we want Folio 2.0 to be a system where teachers feel encouraged to take risks in their teaching, brainstorm with colleagues to develop more effective practices, drive their own learning and professional development, and work collegially rather than in isolation.