Excellence is a journey not a destination.
Week 8 in Review
Week Eight and Nine in the world of a public high school is much like the fall television rollout for the networks. Much of the schedule is new, but not all of it is gripping or as interesting to view couched inside of our old favorites that we have already fit into our routine. Last week during our professional development time together, we introduced Common Core State Standards. Looking at the CCSS was like a preview trailer for an upcoming, much anticipated movie, which is scheduled to change our lives in 2014-2015. It makes us all sit back in silence as we consider the excellence in which it will allow us to focus for our students, but the implications of change it has on our current practice.
And it was only the week before last that we had set up our “educational DVR” to commit ourselves to many seasons of a hopeful top hit in the new show Data Teams. Data teams will take a big commitment from all of us. One very honest teacher shared with me this week a similar analogy that inferred if we are going to fill our DVRs with new shows, then something needs to come off the old schedule. I completely agreed.
So we – YOU – must determine what that something needs to be. I suggested to several teachers, in one example, that data teams should become the lesson planning and assessment process of the past. A teacher suggested we use our benchmarks as our common pre and post assessments for the Power Standard we are addressing. I immediately knew that was right! Yes, I thought, and realized it begs the question – is that test what it needs to be? If not, what can we and should we do about that? I looked at the laundry list of requirements and expectations that this teacher had in front of him and knew he was right. We needed to sync, align, cut and replace many of our current practices with the better ones in order to be really good at the important parts of teaching. We need to be good at a few things and not mediocre at such a wide variety.
With that said, what can you align? What is holding you back? What activities and actions are you taking that you know are good and can prove long lasting results? What programs should you keep or take off your DVR? If you need help with these decisions, you have a ton of resources…your collaborative team, your department chair, your instructional coach, and your administration. Use us. You are the power brokers of our school. Use your influence and let’s really put the right priorities forward. Some require change and some are just required, but mostly, it just requires you giving yourself permission to stop repeating a practice because we’ve always done it that way.
One of the requests I asked of everyone last week was to give me feedback on how to offer our future professional development events. I heard from many department chairs. As it turns out, each department is at a very different place, so I think a small adjustment to our current plan is all that is needed. You are focused on data teams right now and should be. We will stick to that and do it well. October 19th will be a share and workday in JEPD for data teams in order to prepare for the Oct 25 & 26 department discussion with administration about their data teams work. In our work toward the January student laptops pilot, we will start that work during November and December when you will work with Melissa Corey and Ryan Johnson on your SchoolWires pages. I received the expectations from the district last Friday. Trust me, you will not need more than one session with either of our trainers to have your page(s) up and running. It’s so easy a caveman can do it. Finally, Sean Nash promised me that our work on Synergy and EduBlogs will be able to be done in short order nearer the time we bring on the student computers. He believes scheduling him to work with your department by department will allow you to personalize what you need to teach your content, and he will be available to work with you! Promise.
Week 9 – A Look Ahead
It’s going to be a crazy week…again. Tuesday we have our FCA Assembly from 1:40 to 240. We will dismiss to CAMP and then to the Springer Gymnasium. This is always a great assembly for our students. Sorry for the last minute notification. Wednesday we have our 10th graders all attending the My Success Event at the Civic Auditorium. Also that day we are giving the PSAT to interested sophomores and juniors. After school is our Benton Leadership Team meeting at 2:45 in Room 103. Please make certain a member of your department attends. Thursday is our next CAMP Congress meeting. The students are making excellent decisions. We will begin trying meetings before and after school, as it seems we need more time to make bigger and bigger decisions. Also Thursday and Friday we will meet with department chairs during their plan/collaboration times to work through the data teams work you have completed that is due to prepare for our walkthrough. Like I said, it’s just another normal, crazy week.
Hang in there everyone. It is mid-October, and this is the peak of the fall season for our push to get things up and running. Remember it always feels like this. What you need to understand it that this IS our new normal and just getting it all in your fall line-up is a part of our journey to excellence. When you are looking at all the expectations and prioritize and align those with good classroom practice – you ARE EXCELLENT. To be more efficient at your excellence, it’s time for you to decide what shows you are about to take off your DVR.
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