19 May 2007

Six of One and Half of Six of Another

Seattle School District is fortunate enough to have an individual who is very passionate about teaching expository writing skills to elementary age students. She's had not one, but two, National Science Foundation grants awarded to her to develop a science notebook program. Better yet, the universities around the country who have studied this program have found it to be very effective in not only boosting science and writing achievement---but also reading and math. It is an amazing and powerful program, but also very simple in its nature. Teachers who learn about the concept take on an attitude of "I can do this." And they do.

As Winnie the Pooh said, "You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." And for the last six Thursday evenings, I've done just that. The guru is in Seattle---and she won't present elsewhere. It's easy to respect her boundaries. She's singularly focused on working with the 20,000+ elementary students in Seattle...and if she starts saying "Yes!" to presenting in one other district...we'll all expect her to do so. Each Thursday afternoon, I've been traveling with pairs of elementary teachers (a different grade level each week) to learn with her. It's made for a long spring in some ways---getting up on Friday mornings is not simple---but the effect it's had on the teachers who go has already been amazing. We are looking at ways to grow the program within our own district next year. Thank goodness we have a book to guide us.

Meanwhile, Boss Lady 2.0 and a few of us from Curriculum are making the rounds to the 6 secondary schools to meet with their teacher leadership. I've attended two of the three sessions (the other three are next week) and have been somewhat disappointed by the admin support in terms of bringing teachers. At one school---the one where I'll be assigned as an instructional coach---there were only 2 staff members. Yesterday, there was only one. As crabby as staffs can be about things, I'm not so sure that this whole thing won't come back and bite us on the fanny...but it is what it is.

No comments: