In the best of circumstances good program design profits from the following efforts:
It's critical to assess well and then to use those assessments in strategic and timely ways. Spring standardized assessments and early fall tests, conversation, and observation can be used early in the year to determine what students know and need to achieve the standards and teaching goals set.
Program Structure and Routines
It's essential to create a good schedule, structure, and routine in the days prior to the school year to begin the year with strength. As the year moves ahead, that schedule, structure, and routine can be tweaked for best effect.
Materials, Resources, and Support
It's essential that almost all materials, resources, and supports are in place at the start of the year. For the most part I believe that the planning for one year should be started in late winter/spring of the year before and solidified during the summer so educators and students are starting the year with what they need for success. Materials, resources, and support can include the following:
- Essential student supplies. Make sure that the school has the necessary supplies for students who cannot bring their own.
- Adequate technology for all students. I believe every students should have one-to-one technology today and there are many ways that can be funded and provided, but on day one I believe this should be in place.
- Adequate teaching support. Teachers should be hired and ready to go on day one. I believe that the school year profits from at least a week of prep time for educators to prepare for the school year ahead.
- Funding allocated and spent to support the program. All grant money should be designated and used to support student learning. Of course needs do arise during the year so it might be a good idea to reserve some funds for those unexpected changes that always arise.
Research and Development
Programs should continually grow to reflect our best collective knowledge as well as new research.
Regular Program Review and Revision
Regular meetings such as PLCs should occur to review and revise programs as needed.