The past two days have been overflowing with tasks. I started the morning meeting with a k-5 group about standards-based grading. I then came back to Central Orifice to meet with our 6th grade math and science cadre before moving on to the grades 7 - 9 meeting during the early afternoon. I finally ended up with the grades 10 - 12 science teachers, which is a story all unto itself...but I can't stand to tell it right now.
I am seeing and hearing similar issues and questions from nearly every grade level, but because they don't get much chance to talk with one another, they rarely know that everyone is struggling with grading in their own way. K-5 is moving to a standards based reporting system and secondary is starting to ask "So, what does an 'A' mean anyway?" They are realizing it doesn't really tell them anything about a kid.
Every group is in fear that the grade level above is going to poop on them and berate them about student performance. I have no doubt that this happened in the past, but all but one staff/grade level I've worked with is beyond the finger pointing stage. They accept the challenges and responsibilities while acknowledging that everyone has their own burdens to bear.
I wish that there was some way for more teachers than just me to get the big picture. Days like today which are set aside for some district conversation are helpful, but still limited to "elementary" or "secondary." I need some way to get people to see how the pieces fit. I know how easy it is to be myopic about one's classroom. It's all you can do to keep focused on the kids in front of you. I truly understand that, but it's only by working together on behalf of all of our students that we're going to be able to make a difference. It doesn't matter what grade you teach.