In 2009, I designed and piloted a program at Chattahoochee HS that enabled teachers to observe one another and share feedback for the purpose of professional growth. The program was called “PEAK” an acronym for “Peer Experience and Learning.” The idea being that if an educator desires to reach new heights in his/her teaching craft, then he/she must rely not merely on what was learned in teacher college and inside the four walls of the individual classroom, but also on the experience and knowledge of one’s peers.
The PEAK program was part of my grad school work at GCSU and though it was short-lived, it was a precursor to the work I love most today – instructional rounds. If schools truly aim to create professional learning communities, then administrators must find time and space for collaboration outside of the teaching schedule and beyond the confines of a single room. Take any hallway in your school and add up the total years of experience and degrees earned by the teachers. There is a gold mine of professional learning waiting to be discovered right next to you. For free.