I’m working with the HS and MS math academic specialists on creating a vertical alignment plan for PD, K-12 math alignment, and system alignment across the district so that all students receive excellent instruction. We have been tasked with creating a strong K-12 program which is consistent at all levels. This is really big. Our district has approximately 18,000 students. The MS academic specialist has derived a plan which utilizes an on-site teacher to be trained and implement PD for all teachers at the site. This could also work at the HS level, where there are expert teachers in mathematics.
I have been pondering this since our director brought this up. I work with 19 school sites, grades K-5. While we do have several teachers with a strong interest in math and the ability to be trained or encouraged to provide PD, there is not a teacher at each site. I have considered many options for this, grouping sites and utilizing one teacher for 4-5 sites, working with teachers at other sites to strengthen their math and PD skills and supporting them as they grow in ability, or asking MS or HS teachers to provide the PD for elementary teachers. There are pros and cons to each of these ideas, and I’m struggling to find a solid answer to this.
I’ve considered having grade level teachers come together to work as a larger PLC, with me facilitating the work, but this would mean having 6 different meetings or entail facilitating large groups of teachers when you consider 19 sites and 2-3 teachers at each grade level for most sites. The HS academic specialist suggested two meetings; K-2 and 3-5 and one teacher from each site. They could work on unpacking standards for grades K-2 and 3-5 respectively, and then take the work back to their sites and share with the other teachers. This could mean that a Kinder teacher would be working on unpacking standards for their grade level, or another one, and taking back the information for all three grade levels to their site. None of this is really feeling like a deep, meaningful experience for the teachers, and a lot to expect from a small amount of teachers. On the other hand, attempting to support all grade levels at 19 sites myself is overwhelming at best.
I am new to the elementary level, having taught HS mathematics for 11 years and coached teachers at the HS level. I am very aware that I could be missing some vital pieces in my thinking and reflecting on this issue. I would love to hear from elementary coaches and district leaders regarding ideas for building this program and the capacity of my teachers. Please share your ideas, experiences, and expertise in this area, I need all the help I can get.
Thanks in advance.