A New Year and New Start

I had hoped to do some reflecting and writing over the summer, however, my last school year ended at a crazy pace. In fact, It didn’t really end at all until I stepped onto a cruise ship headed for Alaska.

I’m grateful for that cruise. Not only was it a wonderful way to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday with my family, but it made me unplug. It’s difficult to get email and texts in the middle of the ocean on a teacher’s salary. The time I spent with my family was peaceful and relaxing. It also allowed me to give my brain the rest it needed to be able to reset for the new school year.

A quick recap: 1) I was in a new position as K-5 math specialist after teaching HS math for 11 years, 2) our district was in an adoption cycle year, and I worked with a committee of teachers to evaluate materials and instead of piloting this year, we made a decision to adopt materials and have them for the start of this year, 3) I had to schedule ~330 teachers for training on the new curriculum during the summer and get trainers situated to do this training, 4) the training occurred during a week in which I was out of state, so it had to be organized before I left, and 5) I was asked to write a PD plan for my teachers this year, create a budget for it, and have it scheduled on the school year calendar before leaving for the summer. BTW, I have never created a budget this large before.

Needless to say, for the month of June I was working, but my brain was so fatigued from the last 3-4 months that I just couldn’t summon up the energy to blog. Today was our first official day back to school, our students return Wednesday, and we had two meetings to start the day. There are many new routines for our district that have been put into place by our directors of the Teaching and Learning section, under which my job falls, so I found myself spinning just a little again today trying to figure out the organization and how to proceed.

I am looking forward to this year. I believe the new organization will be helpful, there is much more direction for us, and clearer boundaries in place. I will be meeting with teachers from all sites twice a month to conduct district level PLCs to help teachers with the new materials, new thinking involved in teaching with a focus on the SMP, and supporting and encouraging those who are feeling overwhelmed by the whole deal. I will be out at the school sites much more this year than I was last year, which I am very excited about, and we have had some changes in personnel at sites which is allowing me a little more leeway in getting invited in for PD and classroom support. I will be busy, but it will be a good busy.

I attended an Institute for the Standards of Mathematical Practice at the EDC in Boston earlier this month, and I am very excited about the materials we were given and the training. I met some new educators and can’t wait to incorporate some of the information I received into my PLC work with teachers. I think this will be the start of some good stretching and growing for our teachers and our kids.

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