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Friday, June 10, 2016

Personal Responsibility: Change and Focus for 2016-2017

Going forward I don't want to forget the areas for change and focus in 2016-2017.

The year's greater focus will be one of finesse--we have a great model in place, and now it's time for me to finesse my contribution and efforts with regard to this model. I don't want to lose focus of this personal responsibility and effort that includes the following areas:

Staying Up-to-Date with New Mandates, Policies, and Procedures
I've started watching the school committee meetings which has helped me to stay up to date with upcoming changes and procedures. Generally new information is shared there which informs me about what's to come. For example I recently learned of potential new mandated trainings and tech processes. This is good to know so that when I plan this summer I'll keep time for the new mandates on my radar as well the need to check new tech approval sites with regard to investing time in particular tech software and use.

Similarly, this year's greatest upsets came from new mandates that created disruption with already scheduled events and experts. This year I'll check all procedures with administrators prior to final confirmation in order to prepare for new changes and needs. We've put almost all information related to special events on a school website which is a ready resource for planning such events. I'll keep the website up to date to support this effort. Often educators plan special events during the summer since we have greater phone time then. During the school day, it's rare for teachers to have enough time to stay on hold to make field trip preparations.

In addition, I also read state, national, union, and other related organizational notes and updates regularly and revise curriculum and efforts accordingly.

Math Teaching and Learning
The world of math education is changing at a fast pace these days. This is due to multiple factors including tech access and use, relatively new standards, and the need for all to know and understand math at deep levels to be successful in today's world. I will review all the lessons, resources, and standards currently in place and organize the materials. I'll also read and study a host of related materials to invigorate this effort for the year ahead. One area I'll pay particular attention to is math for struggling students--how can we support, accelerate, and deepen math learning for these students in meaningful and engaging ways.

I'd like to advocate for year-end assessments too with regard to our overall approach to math learning and teaching. I'd like to foster the inclusion of an end year team meeting of intermediate elementary school teachers and assistants where we discuss questions such as these:
  • What worked well this year? How do we define "worked well?" What measures are meaningful to us? What assessments really inform our teaching/learning well?
  • How did we meet the needs of struggling students? What did you do that really worked well? Where do the problems continue to exist?
  • How did you collaborate with the teaching team including teachers, assistants, specialists, and coaches to teach math well? What collaborative strategies worked well when it came to student service and success?
  • How did the math map work? Was the curriculum roll-out successful or is there room to change? 
  • When did you teach math in interdisciplinary ways?  How was that done and was it effective?
  • How did you teach math in culturally proficient ways? How did this impact math learning/teaching for all students?
  • In what ways did you create a learning/teaching community of students, families, educators, and administrators that learned and engaged in math in empowering, engaging, and meaningful ways?
I want to work with colleagues so that we embed these learning experiences into the year with substantial time and support for quality learning. Since this, in some ways, has been an add-on to the curriculum, we need to be clever and creative about doing this well with the time we have. It was added on, but nothing was taken away which means rethinking the year's teaching. I'm a fan of this work so I'll commit to developing it in ways that matter.

I'll work with colleagues and students to forward learning about and participation in a school election to mirror the national election in November. We will use this to teach students about our United States Government, Laws, and Rights. 

Class Community: Learning-to-Learn Behaviors/Attitudes, Cultural Proficiency, Social Competency, and Student Voice and Choice
This is a strong suit of the learning community I belong to. I will continue to learn from my colleagues and others in this regard and continue to develop strategies, routines, and efforts to develop a strong, positive, confident, and kind learning community. In this regard, I'll continue to develop Learning-to-Learn Teaching/Learning Efforts. 

Professional Learning
The professional learning I plan to engage in this year focus on the topics above in addition to a focus on developing our shared teaching model with strength.

In general there are many systemwide efforts in place to support educators' work to teach well. My responsibility lies in doing the best possible job to meet the responsibilities above. Moving forward with a plan.