"School's out for summer." ~ Alice Cooper
Today the hallways are quiet, the classrooms are empty but my mind is full. It's always a weird feeling for me the day after students have left for the summer. There's always the odd student returning because they forgot something important in their desk or just to say one last goodbye to their teacher, but for the most part it is eerily quiet. But as I said, my mind is full of thoughts about next year and how I can help move the school forward and support students and teachers.
So as my mind continues to spin thinking about ways to best support students and teachers next year, below are my thoughts.
- More integration of our developmental education students. In fact, we have considered changing the name of our developmental education students to active learning students. For me integration of our active learners benefits all involved. Students in the regular school program learn how to interact and respond to students with special needs. Our active learners get a chance to participate with their peers in a subject area that they excel at. It's a powerful experience for both groups of students, and something we need to do more of.
- Outdoor learning for our FDK students. It's been a challenge moving to the new FDK model from the traditional kindergarten program. As part of the new FDK curriculum there is an expectation of outdoor learning. This is much different from recess time. There needs to be a purpose that is driven from the interests of students. This is new learning for all involved.
- Introduction of a media team is something that I'd like to get off the ground next year. My vision is a group of students that would use the iPad app TouchCast to create news reports about what is happening in classrooms around the school.
- A Makerspace is also high on my priority list. With a new teacher-librarian eager to implement a Makerspace in our library commons the only thing we need is to take some chances on our ideas.
- Keeping the focus on problem solving in math, reducing the need for worksheets is also very important to me. This doesn't mean we forget about the basics. They still have a place in a solid mathematics program. We have made some great strides with this especially in our primary and intermediate divisions but the work continues.
I believe in keeping things as simple as possible. It allows teachers to keep the focus on what is truly important. The ideas above are what I believe to be important for our students. What do you see as important at your school next year? What will the focus be?