08 February 2007

The Fly on the Wall

I get to be a fly on the wall at a very important meeting this afternoon. There are two significant items up for discussion and recommendation by the elementary principals and it will be good for me to be able to sit in. Previous practice has been that only literacy coaches were invited to these meetings, meaning that science and math never had a voice at the elementary table. At a time where science scores lag behind writing by as much as 40 points in some schools, it has been frustrating for me to see principal support thrown fully behind writing instruction.

Now that the district has significant budget shortfalls, we need to look at how we use the resources we have in a different way. This includes the coaching model. It's a great idea, but its current incarnation is burning out staff and is too narrow in its goals. Today is the chance to get principals to really look at their data, think about the results of the staff development survey last month on which science was identified by elementary teachers as their number one priority, and perhaps suggest some changes.

If that isn't enough of a shift for them to consider, the "new" standards-based progress report will also be on the table. Four elementaries have been piloting and using the revised format for either one or two years. The question is whether or not we should push this out to all elementaries next year (in the face of other changes happening in the district)...or if we should just try to expand the pilot a little. Boss Lady 2.0 seems to think that they will recommend going for it. Doing so will definitely create a bit of panic on our (Curriculum's) end of things this year. I don't know that we have the ability to get the support needed in place by August.

I don't know how much participation with these discussions that I'll be allowed to have today, but at this point, I'm just glad to be allowed in the room...even if I'm the lone voice in the wilderness for science education for our kiddos.

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