Druthers

28 July 2006

School is starting to sneak back into the realm of Have-to's, pushing out all of my Druthers. I suppose in some ways, I really haven't had much of the summer off because of the WASL prep seminars, but it has been a very simple schedule for the last month and light workload.

August is a very big month for Curriculum: lots of trainings and meetings to prepare for and deliver. Most of the time I'm responsible for planning will be easy for me this year because 10 grades have new curriculum. They'll be busy getting better acquainted with things. I still need to get organized enough to tell the trainers some specific items that teachers should focus on. The sooner I do that, the better for them.

This year, it's the grades 10 - 12 crowd that have me a bit stumped, especially the teachers who primarily have juniors and seniors. They don't have the state test on their backs---although they do have lots and lots of kids who won't have passed it. Most kids are finished with their science graduation requirements by the end of 10th grade. I know that if they had their Druthers on the day we meet, I'd just send them away to go work in their classrooms...but I'm not allowed to do that. Besides, it's an optional day---teachers aren't required to attend. So, that still leaves me with figuring out a meaningful day of staff development for them. I have talked to the math specialist and we're considering combining the groups. Should we talk intervention/remediation? College readiness? Developing district expectations for continuing math/science education beyond graduation requirements? Delving into the data more deeply?

It seems an insult to spend part of the day talking with the grades 10 - 12 teachers about instruction, but so many of them are such content specialists that their focus isn't on student learning. It's all about being the Sage on the Stage. Can we find a meaningful way to get some conversation going about best practices? Get their intellectual curiosity moving in the direction of strategies that are good for kids (especially the 60% who don't pass the state science test)?

I suppose that if I had my Druthers with this one, the math specialist would just take them for the day. :)

Any copies I want available on the inservice days need to be designated by August 14. Yikes. That's just two weeks to plan and prepare---all the while Summer Seminar and WASL is still happening. Welcome back to school, Have-to's.

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