Whew! This starting a new school thing is hard work. I know that’s not news to anyone, but I had to just say it.
What’s on the list of things to work out right before school starts?
- Special Education – the difference between IEP, 504, intervention
- Standards – what are they; knowledge (content) vs skill
- Scheduling – fitting in all those classes; what does the day look like; placing kids into classes
- Courses – what are the rough outlines of our classes; what are the natural integration points
- Grades – what kind of grading and reporting system will we use; will it be rubric-based
- Flex Friday Projects – a major cornerstone of the school; how do we design and manage them effectively
- Advisory – what does it look like; what’s a better name than “advisory”
- Getting to know your Chromebook – what are some apps that kids can use
- Administrative tasks – parking (in downtown Portland without a school parking lot); insurance; harassment training
- Planning the first few days of school
Many of the items on this list would look familiar to any teacher new to a school. When I first began teaching at Poland Regional High School, I spent two days in new teacher workshops (even though I was not new to teaching) and four more days in PRHS teacher workshops. A public “thank you” to my PRHS colleagues, mentors past and present, for preparing me for this moment. The twelve years I spent at PRHS was the best teacher education I could ask for. You pushed me to think in ways that were completely unknown to me.
Learning and sustaining new models of teaching is hard work and deserves time for proper deliberation. We will be continuing many of these conversations as we move forward. There is great excitement and energy among this group, but there are some things that we just can’t finalize until we meet our students. That happens on Wednesday.
Bring on the kids!