Monday Musings

May 9, 2016

Q and A Regarding the 2016-2017 School Schedule

Thank you to everyone who offered feedback to me via email and personal conversations regarding next year's possible schedule. Here are a few responses to the questions and concerns raised.


  • Why do I have a lot of specials/prep time one day and nothing on other days?


This would be called "human error". It happens every year. I will go back into the schedule and make adjustments. Thank you for finding any discrepancies.


  • Why is music not always scheduled at the same as physical education? Does that mean we might not have as much collaborative planning time?


Right now, Amy U. is scheduled at the secondary level from 7:30 to 10:00 A.M. every other day. This means I cannot schedule music until 10:20 A.M. at the earliest. Because she starts on the secondary schedule, I want to have her done by 3:00 P.M. This obviously puts a lot of constraints on our ability to schedule for common prep time.


  • How will we facilitate interventions for students with W.I.N. time only at 3:00 - 3:00 P.M.?


This has been the biggest concern. As I stated at the meeting on Friday, intervention happens all day long. Reading and math specialists work with students around your literacy and numeracy blocks at several periods throughout the day already. Interventionists can still pull during W.I.N. time too. As your prepare your classroom schedule for next year, be sure to identify these blocks of core instructional time. Also remember: Only a couple of years ago we did not have a W.I.N. or I/E time built in. Kids still received intervention. They will continue to receive support in the future.


  • I have _________ (fill in the blank) scheduled at 3:00 P.M. How will we still be able to do this?


I realize that this might be a small departure from how a schedule looked in the past. Consider scheduling an offering at 3 P.M. at a different time during the school day next year. You might find it to be advantageous to your instruction. Hard to tell until we try it.


  • I would like W.I.N. time at the end of the day so I can offer students more time and the opportunity to ________ (fill in the blank).


This isn't a question but deserves a response. Our curriculum continues to be a mile wide and an inch deep. I hear people's concerns about being able to cover it all. That said, is there anything you offer during the school day that might be less than essential for deep student understanding? What is necessary, and what is merely nice? W.I.N. stands for "What I Need". If we asked kids and their families what they felt they needed, what might they say? Should we ask? I imagine the 4Cs - creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication - would come up often.


Developing a foundation of knowledge and skills is critical for elementary students. I would say it is equally critical that students have opportunities to develop expertise in a specific area based on their interests, wonderings, and passions. How can we provide this if we do not advocate and allocate for it? As a parent, I want both for my child. I am sure other families would agree with me. To help in developing understanding of this perspective a bit more, check out this article from Education Week on the topic.


With that, I am going to leave the schedule as it is beyond a few adjustments to equalize the prep time across the week as needed. It will remain in draft form until a successor is found for my position. This isn't for me or for any one person to decide. Whoever it is, he or she can make an informed decision about it. I will provide him or her with the feedback you have given me via email and conversations. Again, I appreciate your thinking on this important topic. If you have more thoughts to share with me that is not already addressed in this newsletter, I am available to listen.


Best,

Matt

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Quotable

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined.”
Henry David Thoreau

EE End-of-Year Schedules

If you submitted your preferred days and times into the Google Form I shared out last week, you should have received a calendar invitation to meet with me for Educator Effectiveness. I should have all summary year people scheduled.


For those that did not submit a preferred time to meet, please connect with Nic S. to schedule a time to meet with him. My dance card is full. :-) Those of you who are left are all non-summary year faculty.


Remember...


  • The state is not collecting scores for the 2015-2016 school year.
  • We have a lot of artifacts collected to serve as evidence.
  • Howe is an excellent school, a collection of effective teachers.


To help categorize and score the instructional walk feedback I provided this year, check out the screencast below where I describe a method. You can tag your feedback from me to help score the components in Domains 2 and 3 (summary year people).

Align Instructional Walks with Teaching Framework

Innovation Night - Hands-on Art

Tuesday, May 10th, 4-5pm

Art room

Mr. Clark and Mrs. Melville offer a basic lesson on pottery and watercolor painting, respectively.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.