11 August 2013

Back to School: 2013 Edition

It's August---and while many of you are already back in the classroom, things are just gearing up here. For me, this is my 22nd trip through the school year calendar. It looks a little different now than it did for year one, but there is still a certain sense of enthusiasm around getting back together with other teachers and talking about how we plan to make a difference in the lives of our students this year.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting up with educators from some of our smallest schools---districts where there are as few as two teachers. We're all going to the big city to attend a PLC conference together. And while the term "PLC" still makes me a little uneasy, I think there is something to spending some time learning together and thinking about what collaboration looks like when your options are so limited. I have to admit that I'm looking forward to seeing these teachers in an urban setting. Lots of potential for new things to take back to the classroom.

Our pilot project with these small schools will be expanding to a multi-state initiative (through a different educational agency). I am very interested to see how this project progresses. Not because I think there is a "rural school problem" (a term that is replete in the ed research literature), but because equity of access is critical. We need each other to learn, and without addressing the gaps in infrastructure and basic services, we're losing a lot of potentially rich connections.

As for me, I'm making some different connections of my own this year. The state legislature eliminated my job on the last day of their session in June, so it has been a summer of making new plans and picking up new pieces. It's all good. A little pruning now and then helps spur new growth. I won't claim that I am someone who thrives on change, but I am comfortable with it.

Welcome back, my friends. Hope your 2013 - 2014 is the best yet!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Equity of access to PD) has been on my mind too. PD money is short in Oregon, and House Bill 2220 (mandated proficiency SBE) went into effect here on July 1, 2013.

Among other provisions, HB 2220 mandates the separation of academic performance from behavior aspects of achievement, just like our Hillsboro Policy IK of 2010.

While for me there's some personal satisfaction in that, I worry, with cause, that many districts in our state -- and elsewhere -- are not prepared for that seismic shift in grading and reporting requirements.