Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

It takes teamwork to make the dream work

Get Yourself (and others) Connected (and on the bus): The experience of the OAC Principals Collaborative

by | May 08, 2014

By Grant Fauver

Principal, Coshocton High School


Chances are, if you are reading this right now, then you are “connected” to the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative (OAC). You most likely have a badge, or two, and perhaps you are working on a third. You also understand the power of the “collaborative.” I feel the power and have improved as a principal and educator…How about you? And if you are like me, you wonder how can we help connect others―those who have been reluctant to jump in for whatever reason―to get on the OAC bus?

Heck, we are all swamped, with no light shining at the end of the tunnel anytime soon. But we signed up for it when we became educators, right? And for those who make the wheels on the OAC bus go ‘round and ‘round―do you agree that we are now more efficient than we‘ve ever been? Have we not made more time due to our involvement in the OAC? 

As a principal in the OAC, I was reluctant to get involved at first too. In fact, I remember the back room conversation like it was yesterday, nodding my head in agreement when a principal colleague commented, “I don’t want to go to any professional development that is a wasted day…We have too much going on…I am not going to miss an entire day of school unless it is worth my time.” He said what we were all thinking. Immediately after the comment, we all agreed to plan a practical, informative, and meaningful four-session workshop that eventually turned into the OAC Principals Collaborative.

And what an experience it was. The OAC Principals Collaborative was able to connect us with various experts from across the state. ODE reps were brought in for us to ask questions about the most famous acronym of all acronyms: OTES. And man did we ask questions! We talked to BFK staff about value-added data and reports. We collaborated on how to best use it as a tool to have better conferences with teachers in order to improve how we met the needs of all groups of learners. Third Grade Guarantee? Yes, we collaborated on that. And also SLOs, PARCC, eTPES, school safety, and on and on and on.

Sound like professional development we can all use more of, don’t you think? Two principals from my district attended OAC Principals Collaborative meetings religiously and couldn’t wait to bring back the knowledge gained from attending. We passed it all on to our assistants and other administrators, and to our staff as well. This truly was professional development that actually developed me into a better professional. But do you want to know how we received the most practical, informative, and meaningful information? You already know the answer to that…from each other. This is exactly why we need to stay connected. To share the knowledge—that’s the power of the collaborative.

Moving forward, I’m hopeful OAC principals can continue to collaborate and make meaningful connections. The OAC Collaboration Space will keep us company for a while. But in the meantime, share the power of the collaborative with your team and staff if you haven’t already. Get them an account. Connect. Collaborate. Let’s fill the OAC bus.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Grant Fauver and the group of principal practitioners who helped design and develop the OAC Principals Collaborative. If you want to learn more about the OAC principals collaborative or how you can connect, feel free to contact Grant at grant.fauver@omeresa.net. You can also contact BFK Collaborative Learning Leader Mark Glasbrenner at mglasbrenner@battelleforkids.org