Equality Middle School Gave Teachers More Ownership, Time Using Edthena

Amanda Huza, middle school principal of Equality Charter School in The Bronx, knew that video had the potential to be a powerful tool for the teachers and coaches on her staff. She needed a system for video that wouldn’t overwhelm her teachers and coaches.

When Amanda introduced Edthena as a core component of Equality’s professional development curriculum, she noticed an immediately positive response.

Teachers started taking ownership of their development in a way they hadn’t before, and, perhaps more importantly, Edthena gave Equality’s teachers something all teachers need… more time.

Amanda Huza Equality Charter School PrincipalIn what ways does Edthena give your teachers more time to focus on their own development?

Before Edthena, to observe their peers in action, our teachers had to give up time from their prep. This just wasn’t feasible.

Now, with Edthena, teachers can take a look into their peers’ classrooms with just a couple of keystrokes. Being able to easily access videos of their peers, with our kids – and without having to give up a prep or leave a co-teacher alone in the process – has been a tremendous benefit.

How did you know that your teachers and coaches were invested in using Edthena for classroom observation?

In addition to giving our teachers more access into their peers’ classrooms, with Edthena, our teachers can now send video of themselves to their coaches for feedback whenever they want, even when not asked or required to by the coaches – which they did all the time last year.

I continue to be impressed that our teachers go above and beyond the number of required videos or feedback interactions. The freedom to engage in this work when it is convenient to them, it seems, had led to increased engagement around peer observations as well as an increased desire to reflect on their practice.

Equality Charter SchoolTo what extent has Edthena and video observation aided your efforts to develop a professional learning community?

Well it’s changed the whole culture, really. Conversations that would have only taken place if initiated by a coach during a formal PLC meeting are now taking place between teachers across grade-levels and departments. Teachers are now giving each other feedback that pushes everyone to improve their practice. This has been transformative for the entire school.

Have you noticed any changes in how your coaches support teachers?

Edthena allows our coaches to build a common language around effective practice, as well as more effectively monitor progress towards their teachers’ specific goals.

Additionally, as an administrator, Edthena allows me to engage in conversations around teaching and learning as simply another educator. This helps me stay connected to my teaching staff.