Friday, August 12, 2005

less than a full complement

We're back and I'm amazed to say the first day, yesterday, was way beyond my or anyone's expectations. We had a morning session presented by two women from California, I think they work for IRRE which I think is a company responsible for creating and implementing programs for failing schools. They didn't give us anything new, but showed us how to implement what we already had been introduced to last year: family advocacy groups. Last year we were given what I would call a cursory introduction to family advocacy groups and expected to carry it out and bring forth fruit from it. That's the program where every student in the school is assigned to a small group with a teacher to lead. Last year we met with our groups 45 minutes a week, but what ended up really happening was it gave the kids 45 extra minutes of circling. Nobody understood really what we were supposed to be doing. But yesterday's inservice not only caused us to understand, it gave us ideas to use with our groups, ways to make the 45 minutes meaningful for the children. It was a wonderful inservice. Then in the afternoon we had another inservice about how to make our small learning communities work, another reform idea tossed out to us last year perfunctorily. It too was excellent. What's happening?
I don't know what the next some days will bring, but if it keeps up like this I'm going to say it seems the powers that be are attempting to get things down to the simple, trying to make things work that are already in place. And things were well organized yesterday.
I know of six teachers who are gone, all of their own volition. Four of them were English teachers. Three of them told me they couldn't stand it anymore. Several of the teachers who left were excellent teachers, I mean WAY excellent. I don't know which are being replaced, etc., or if our classes are going to get huge. Oh, and we also got a new assistant principal whom I think I'm going to like. Oh, and the front desk secretaries weren't there, including the lady who was so mean to me last year. But they might just not have reported in yet.
It feels beautiful to be among the faculty again. I feel quite at home at Douglass. I'm so grateful to be back. And all in all, it feels like the same old place (which for some reason I love).



Blogger Nancy McKeand said...

I love the beginning of a new school year, don't you? Doesn't matter how bad (or good) last year was, August always gives me a feeling that anything is possible!

I'm glad to hear the inservice helped you figure out something that was implemented last year. Usually schools seem to implement something different each year and teachers don't ever really have a chance to get used to it before it is gone!

I hope you have a great year, Melanie!

9:28 AM  
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6:12 AM  

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