It’s here! School starts this week. Well not quite. Our admin team gets started just a bit earlier to be here to support the arrival of new teachers who arrive ahead of the returning team. So, almost.

Anyway, as I’m thinking about this week and the excitement that we all feel, especially our newbies, I’m reminded of one of the reasons I really enjoy this profession. Each year you get a chance to do it all again. This is a process of constant reflection, and refinement. Having a new school year makes me feel empowered. It makes me confident we can make further impact on improving learning experiences and outcomes, helping each student find their way. I get excited to think about the projects ahead, and the goals I will accomplish this year. So what am I hoping to accomplish this year?

SIS and VLE Review

Well it’s time to review our School Information System. Is it fulfilling our needs? Is it inspiring teachers to innovate? Is it adapting to our needs, or are we adapting to its needs? Likewise we must also review the Virtual Learning Environment, using the same questions as starters. Could this be an opportunity to integrate tools? It seems having multiple tools is inevitable. No one tool can serve our needs exactly. On the other hand, being able to simplify the experience for students and families seems a valuable pursuit. Curious to know what other schools are using, in terms of systems and databases, so I’m hoping someone chimes-in in comments. Could a parent portal adequately pull all the sources together effectively enough?

Evaluation, Supervision, and Professional Learning

I’ve spent lots of time thinking about this, reading Kim Marshall’s work, and helping to develop our school model based on his rubrics. We’re launching this as a prototype. Over the course of the year, teachers will work to integrate ISTE for Teachers into the Marshall Rubrics, ensuring a focus on 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Meanwhile, a team of senior leadership will take on Marshall’s mini-observation model. Supervisors will have end of year rubrics, assessments, for all teachers, which will help us identify common areas of need for professional development, helping us to better allocate funds for the following school year.

Curriculum Review

We’re also launching a new curriculum review process. It’s really a more ongoing approach to curriculum development. I’ve spent less time thinking about this so I don’t have all the specifics yet – writing assessment philosophy, power standards, aligning assessments, etc. I do know I will be leading the fledgling technology department, as well as, the arts department in the review of their curriculum. The last I remember, we hadn’t picked anyone to lead science yet. I hope to get it as it could really be the beginning of a STEAM initiative at our school. In the least, this as an opportunity to insist on some interdisciplinary units, and work towards project based learning opportunities. Haven’t done any unit planning in a while. This will be fun.

Better Parent Education

We’ve delivered parent education in the past, but we think it’s time to turn up the volume, so to speak. We’re planning to inundate parents with information and resources. We’ll be launching a regular parent ed podcast, and will more actively Tweet resources for busy families using #ACLovesTech.

Additionally, we’ll be holding a monthly workshop for parents to attend and learn about what we do at school and what they can do at home to help students learn to navigate tech with balance and safety.

There are certainly other projects to come, but I think those are the big ones that will have my priority attention this year.

I’ve been saying the phrase Food Truck for a few years now. Maybe it’s time to get that figured out, too. Hot Dog Cart just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

Get excited! We’re going in again, and it’s going to be even better than before!

Oh, and over the next few posts I’ll be reflecting on my Summer of Learning!  I know you’re on the edge of your seat!

 

Images

  • Starting line from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/60000/velka/starting-line.jpg
  • Checklist from https://media.defense.gov/2014/Jan/12/2000884462/-1/-1/0/140112-F-GA223-001.JPG
  • Podcast from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/160000/velka/podcast-microphone-1458764347DK7.jpg

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