Tuesday, February 25, 2020

When the program is not just right

This year the teaching/learning program has worked in many ways, but there are a few elements of the program where we keep trying out new ideas and have yet to find the perfect fit. Why has this happened?

The challenging program elements are not typical program issues--they are issues that are unique in many respects. These issues also do not belong to any one person, but instead connect to a variety of people which makes finding solutions more complicated. And to add to the complexity, the issue is always in a state of change--this is not a static situation, but one that is always changing.

The good news is that we have tried many, many different strategies, strategies based on study and research. It is also positive that we are actually making good progress with the goals we hope to achieve with these issues. The bad news is that we're still not satisfied with our efforts. There's more we can do.

How can we tease out the issues to figure out what the next steps are?

First, we have to meet to discuss the issue elements and we have to make change right away in areas that we can easily change.

Next, we have to keep our sights set on the goals--what is it that we hope to achieve?

In the issues that I am focused on, success includes the following:
  • Working with the group plan
  • If the group plan does not work, expressing why that plan doesn't work with care and respect and then working with educators to create a new plan or work within the plan successfully
  • Greater self awareness and better decision making
  • Continued and perhaps even better progress with personal academic, social, and emotional goals.
One example of the overall issue we are working with for greater success includes this scenario: A child does not want to engage in the group plan. Clear parameters have been conveyed and lots of options available. Eventually that child with coaching engaged with the plan and felt a sense of accomplishment afterwards. This was a success! I would like to replicate what happened with this situation in other similar situations. I'm not actually sure about each person's role in this situation, but some of the success included these steps:
  • time for educators to confer about the situation
  • time for a specialist to coach the student
  • clear parameters
  • options with regard to space, time
  • everyone in the class was working on the same general goal
So as I think deeply about this general area of quest, I am realizing that yesterday's success, in part, serves as a model for potential future successes in this area of school life that we are working to better. In general, these areas of school life we want to better include a few children who resist the group plan and sometimes create disruption. We can help these students more by continuing to work with them and each other to figure out what will help them the most.