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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Teaching Better: Personal and Systematic Change

Our system is choosing a new superintendent. Candidates to date have noted that the education system I work in is a system that values betterment--we are always looking for ways to do our jobs better to serve children well. I value this priority.

As I think a lot about how we can do this, I have noted the following personal and systematic efforts that will help.

Personally, as I look ahead, I'm steering my teaching/learning ship in the following directions:
  • Earlier-in-the-year, more comprehensive, streamlined initial assessments.
  • Advocacy for less extensive, but more informative/useful, assessments throughout the year.
  • Greater differentiation in the math program to make sure that every child has opportunity for just-right engaging and meaningful growth and support.
  • Development of our student portfolio efforts including the following:
    • Thoughtful, early-in-the-year, identity cover creation
    • Thoughtful, early-in-the-year, dividers creation
    • More regular reflections and goal setting sheets
    • Greater inclusion of specialists study evidence/projects
  • Possible inclusion of all students at both fall and winter conferences including teaching children how to lead their own parent conferences.
  • More time early in the school year devoted to teaching students how to access and use online teaching/learning tools well. Including times for parent instruction too if desired by parents.
  • Providing technology for those students who do not have it at home at the start of the year.
  • Providing greater home study support before and/or after school in conjunction with other existing home study programs. 
  • Finding a "job alike" group to connect with--this has been somewhat difficult to find given my place in the teaching/learning world, but I'll keep looking.
Systematically, I believe our teaching community will grow well with the following efforts:
  • Regular, comprehensive, and streamlined communication, reports, and share
  • Greater distributive leadership, less hierarchical management and focus
  • Better, inclusive, strategic planning around all issues
  • More transparent, open systems of stakeholder voice, choice
  • Less superficial effort, and more deep, transformative action and effort
  • Fewer administrators who do not work directly with students providing more time for teacher leadership and staffing that work directly with students
  • A more streamlined evaluation system with better tools for reporting and sharing information related to the evaluation system--our current tools is very basic, not allowing quality share
  • Greater, inclusive attention to research and development efforts in order to grow our practice in ways that truly matter and are researched based.