Monday, July 25, 2005

The future is looking bright.....

I’m a very lucky girl!

I work with a group of educators (both in the gen ed setting, and with the emotional disabilities teachers) who are interested in creating a program-wide plan for improved student achievement. In that vein, we met at the beginning of June last school year, and came up with a definite list of NEEDS to support those goals. For the most part, we came to this with full-on enthusiasm (well, at least one of us came kicking and screaming, but that’s okay too!). We shared it with our immediate administrator, who appeared to fully support our efforts to get the training, practice and time we need to make it all happen. It definitely makes the arrival of the new school year even more exciting when you can look forward to that kind of support and commitment. Here’s what we decided:

1. We need to improve our skills for creating effective, research based lessons. We identified the support personnel who could help us (reading specialist, technology support, etc.)

2. We need direct instruction and support finding the available online resources already there and designed to improve instruction. Our county has a plethora of online materials, but many of the teachers and IA’s on our team don’t know how to find them.

3. We need training about differentiating instruction effectively. (Who doesn't?)

4. We want to be able to use the Alpha Smarts and computer lab within the first two weeks of school instead of getting hit or miss tech support that leaves us in the lurch.

5. We need 3 visual timers per classroom. (Originally introduced to us by the autism specialists, these timers provide a visual picture of how much time is left in a particular activity – time outs, for example, or time left to complete a lesson. Very handy!)

6. We intend to plan an extended ED team meeting during teacher prep days in August to explore 2 important areas—--First, in an effort to build trust/collegiality, we want to explore our different ways of communicating. Next, as a team,we want extended time to talk about our students, sharing valuable information not easily written down in notes for each other. We value teacher’s dialogue about and for their students.

We didn’t ask for the world, but we identified our needs, and expect to get as much on our list as is reasonable. Frankly, I consider every item on our list necessary and feasible, and am heartened by the verbal support we got from the higher ups.

Like I said, I’m a lucky girl!

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