One of the things that I have discovered in my Science Goddess role for the district is that communications are lacking. I am finding that part of my job involves being the operator of a giant party line.
For example, at the scope and sequence meetings last spring, I discovered that the science department chair of the other high school had no clue that the person sitting across from her was the science department chair from the junior high that "feeds" her school. Here---let me introduce you two. It would be really a good idea for you to chat.
Today I met with some of the "Off Campus" staff. Off Campus is a district-supported program for home-schooled students. The program has a lot to juggle and has basically conducted its business in a very low profile way. But now those kids have to meet the standards if they want a diploma from us. All of the questions that the Off Campus staff asked me today were the same ones the staff at the Alternative Schools have been asking. "Have you talked with the people at those schools?" I asked today. Gee, they hadn't. "Well, you all are after the same things---perhaps it would be good to get together and see if you can work together." They hadn't even thought about that.
There have been other similar examples in the last year or so. Once I start spending time in other buildings and visiting classrooms, I think that I will find lots more opportunities to connect people. In the meantime, I'm wondering why---in an age of e-mail and phone service to every classroom---that information isn't moving around very well. Are we too busy? Too private with our teaching? Not curious enough (or don't care) about what is happening beyond the walls of the classroom? Is there anybody out there?
I will be interested to see how my the party line evolves in the coming year. My hope is that more people will take an interest in operating the line and expanding communications in the district. Teaching is too tough of a job to do in isolation.