02 September 2006

Resolutions for 2006 - 2007

Sure, most of the western world celebrates the flip of the calendar on January 1, but if you're involved in any way with education, September 1 feels like the time for a fresh start. Although focus always seems to shift a bit once the year is truly underway, it's still time for me to think about my goals for this year. (Last year's version is here.)

  • Elementary Math and Science Cadre: The elementary math specialist and I have set a goal to train a grade level expert for every building (there are 14 schools, each with seven grade levels) in the district. The plan is not only to deepen the content and instructional knowledge of teachers, but help them see the connection between their grade level and others all the way through high school. We will also be doing work with each group to increase their teacher leadership skills and build their capacity to make change happen in their buildings.
  • Since I have been charged with overseeing the entire k-12 science program, I can't leave out initiatives for our secondary schools. Here, too, there will likely be some sort of Leadership Group for Secondary Math and Science. This idea is still in its infancy, but the secondary math coach and I need other teachers to step up. Now that "jobs alike" groups are starting to meet and work on their alignments and classroom goals, one person can't facilitate all of them. We'll be recruiting over the next month to work on some transformational leadership with teachers to grow our programs and make a greater impact with students.
  • I can't forget about my charges who are beginning teachers. I have eight who are new to our hallowed profession this year, and I need to develop a program for supporting newbies. I do have access to previous program work, but now that this is a .2 position (instead of a .5) and one which is new to me, I need to put some thought into making it my own and sustaining it.
  • I'm on a mission this year to Save the Julio! There's a teacher I'm working with who is enthusiastic about his content, intellectually curious, and consistently models lifelong learning for his students. However, everything that happens in the classroom is about him---and not about kids. My personal goal this year is to help him start to shift more toward a learner-centered classroom. I took a solid step on that path yesterday afternoon. I hope I can keep moving along. Meanwhile, I also have a desire to keep learning all that I can about working with teachers, fostering positive relationships, and supporting their work however I can.
  • It's going to be an ugly year in the district. With a $5M budget shortfall staring us in the face, no program or school will be safe from deep cuts or elimination; however, I have to keep advocating for science. This is especially true for my work with principals. The elementaries are completely focused on writing, which makes no sense. The secondary principals need to learn more about what quality science instruction looks like so that they can properly monitor what happens in the classroom. Right now, they do no more than rubber stamp every teacher and wonder why the scores never change. I also need to keep working with Boss Lady 2.0 to ensure that whatever resources Curriculum does retain after this year are more balanced toward math and science.
Perhaps these are enough to focus on for the time being. There is a lot more to juggle than I what I've outlined here, but these are the major ideas and all other work will go into furthering these initiatives. I continue to be excited about the road ahead and am looking forward to another year. Let's pop some champagne and ring in the New Year!

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