He's a Brick...Wall (with apologies to The Commodores)

12 January 2007

One of the good things that's being attempted this year is that Curriculum and principals are spending more time together. It seems so odd to me that each principal helps to set his or her school's improvement plan for the year and that those goals are often separated from district initiatives. It makes more sense to me for schools to chart their course and include staff development as a piece---which is where my homies fit into the picture. There will always be some district-wide goals, of course, but like toddlers engaging in parallel play, we are often on separate paths. January 25 will be our next chance to try to merge.

Mighty White Boy is in charge of pulling together some plans, although all of us will be contributing members. He's all hot and bothered to do something about differentiation. This is because it was strongly identified on our recent survey as a need by teachers for their own learning. The way Curriculum responds to this will need to be in partnership with principals, and we do need to talk about things with them...but the audience is really teachers.

Another specialist and I tried to talk with MWB about this point. Shouldn't time on the 25th be provided for principals to look at building responses to surveys? Don't we need their input on our delivery model...before we talk about what we're going to do? We won't know until February how many staff members we'll have---and it will be even later in the school year before we know where teachers are moving and how many classrooms we'll have to serve. It doesn't seem like this is really the right moment to get concrete about differentiation. We were also concerned that doing this would result in a training that was more "sit and get," which also feels like the wrong road to be travelling.

The man was a complete brick wall. We were unable to sway him, but we at least got him to consider delaying intense discussion about differentiation until the following meeting in April. It was so odd to have this conversation and walk out feeling like you had been in a room where no actual dialogue had taken place. I kept wanting to ask, "Can you hear me now?"

I've been told that MWB is using the position this year as a springboard to getting an administrative position somewhere. I already feel sorry for teachers that will have to beat their heads against this particular brick wall.

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