Since I'm not assigned to a classroom this year, it's hard for me to really determine when the school year begins for me. Yes, I've already been meeting and working with other teachers---but it's that first young face at the classroom door that makes it all real.
We met as a Curriculum department today. This will be my fifth school year with an association with that department and this is the very first time that we have met as a group. The previous Boss Lady just didn't see a need for meeting. Boss Lady 2.0 does because each of us has indicated to her during our individual conferences that we want this. There are some serious communication issues that have developed over the last few years, and that ends up spilling over onto principals and teachers. That really can't happen.
Meanwhile, the budget shortfall continues to grow and it's a darker picture for the district in the coming year. I first heard it would be a one million dollar shortfall...then $3M...and now it's $5M. The district will likely close two elementaries, but that will only result in a one million dollar savings. Other cuts will happen in co-curricular (again, not big savings, even with "pay for play") and every other department...including our own. I don't know if I feel as threated by this as others should. The seven literacy coaches were allowed to spend over $40K in the last year on professional development (books, conferences). Meanwhile, they're sole existence is predicated upon a focus in Writing---something not required by NCLB and an area with higher scores than math and science. They have access to a full time sub pool. Our STAR program pays for one full-time cert, four full-time subs (for teacher release time), and supplies. Both of these programs have a wonderful impact, but we could move along without them.
There will be lots of ups and downs this year. It's already a busy one, as I'm planning on the introduction of new curriculum at 10 different grade levels. This business is all about change and growth, so I'll hang on for the rollercoaster ride for the 16th time.