In the few short months we have known Bridget Kramer, we have seen her take full ownership as she leads a new initiative while remaining steadfast in her commitment to all of her other responsibilities as the leader of a beautiful school. Learn more about the key steps Bridget has taken to advance the Higher-Powered Learning Program and cultivate a positive school community for teachers, parents, and students in today’s post.
We knew we liked Bridget Kramer, the principal of Community of Saints Regional Catholic School in St. Paul, Minnesota, from the moment we met her–not only because she provided healthy snacks at our first meeting, but mostly because she demonstrates an unrelenting dedication to serving her students in all that she does. Whether it be setting up student Google accounts over the weekend, taking a critical eye to assessment data, having difficult conversations with teachers and parents, or leading professional learning, Bridget never shies away from doing the right thing for her students–even if it is far from the easiest thing.
All of the leaders in the Higher-Powered Learning Program have to take ownership of this initiative in their schools, and that is a very intentional move on our parts. Because we want blended learning to outlast our three-year program, we focus on building the capacity of the teachers and leaders in our program to innovate and grow for years to come. What strikes us about Bridget, though, is that she takes ownership and takes action without waiting for direction. It seems like she is always one step ahead of us in her own implementation plan!
Bridget took the initiative to plan two events that we believe will ultimately make Community of Saints’ blended-learning implementation extremely successful. Read on to learn a bit about each one!
1. Faculty Introduction
The Higher-Powered Learning Program intentionally only involves a few teachers from each school. We have found that it is better to build the capacity of a critical mass of outstanding and enthusiastic teachers and then empower them to lead the transition to blended learning for the rest of their faculty.
One of the complications we have seen with this model, though, is that the other teachers are sometimes confused. Who are these two people from Notre Dame that are visiting their school? How does this program impact the other classrooms in the school, if at all? Without clear communication from the school leader, everyone involved can find it difficult to understand the structure of the program and the rationale behind it.
Bridget got ahead of this challenge by practicing clear communication with her entire staff from the beginning of the program. Before this school year started, Bridget led a session for her staff in which she explained what blended learning is and how it will help them reach their school goals, what the Higher-Powered Learning Program is and how it will impact their school, and the timeline for all of the upcoming changes for their school. Though this sounds like a simple step, it goes a long way in setting a school up for long-term success.
2. Parent Night
Next, Bridget took the appropriate steps to involve parents. Each of the teachers implementing blended learning this year explained the concept and purpose of blended learning to the parents of the students in their classrooms at the beginning of the school year, but Bridget knew it would be important for all of the families in her school to understand the change they were undertaking and the reasoning behind it.
Bridget organized a family night earlier this month to introduce any and all families in the school to blended learning. She and the teachers on Community of Saints’ Blended Learning Advancement & Strategy Team (BLAST) introduced the concept of blended learning and how it changes the classroom experience, the software programs they are using, and how this new model will help their school reach its goals. Parents had opportunities to ask questions and experience the model firsthand with their students.
With this strong foundation in place, we cannot wait to see how the Higher-Powered Learning Program positively impacts the whole Community of Saints school community! Stay tuned to follow the progress of Community of Saints and see how Bridget’s leadership leads the school to success.