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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Reflections: The Day in Review

It's been one of those very busy days.

The faculty meeting was jam packed with discussion about ordering, DDMs, positive change, tech matters, and culturally proficient teaching--all in an hour's time!

Then it was the first PARCC test of the season. Always after you've been away from something for a while there's a bit of trepidation and review as you navigate the procedures for the first time again. Students settled in, and I must say I like the tests better on the computer than on paper. Our building test coordinator and tech support person were terrific at helping us today--I truly appreciate all that they did to make it a good day. Further one of my colleagues wrote a terrific letter to students to inspire their good work. Students really appreciated the letter and were more confident about the tests after reading it.

After that students had a healthy recess and lunch. We talked about the fact that we're reaching a crescendo. Many of my students are musicians and I could see that they understood the connection well and began seeing our efforts as the same intensity their musical pieces hold in parts. Then we worked on the biography projects. I learned a lot about Orville Wright and Malcolm X as I worked with a few students.

On the professional side, I've been reading a lot about the DDMs. I guess I had no idea that the scores would be required this year, and last year when I spoke up about the scoring mechanism and process, I got the feeling that teachers were not supposed to be apart of the process. This week I dove into all the information about DDMs--there's lots and lots of articles, and in hindsight, I can see how any change like this requires good research, optimal administration-teacher efforts, timelines, pilots, reflection, and revision. To do a good job on anything requires substantial, collaborative effort, review, reflection, revision, and lots and lots of good communication with lead time.

With that in mind, I'll keep my eyes open with regard to data/information regarding upcoming changes related to ESSA, MCAS 2.0, and other matters. Reading the DESE newsletter every Friday is one way to keep up. Also reading the MTA website, bulletins, and newsletters are another way to keep up. Asking questions at PLCs, faculty meetings, and Union board meetings is still one more way to keep up, and attending related conferences yet another. We are apart of a dynamic State when it comes to education--we have a strong Department of Education, Union, schools, educators, and supporting organizations, universities, and citizens. To take advantage of all that we have requires good attention, process, procedure, and effort, and none of this is outside of our grasp.

We all do a better job if we have a clear understanding of expectations, and if we work together to make sure that we match those expectations with the work we do with and for children every day.