Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week 24: February 23-27


The image helps. We started the 2008-2009 SIP journey slightly less than one year ago.

It took great thinking on the part of the Leadership Team. It took great thinking on the part of each department. That day at TMC birthed Library 2.0. Then the thinking lessened and finally settled as the plan took shape, the work became less and less.

Then it started again -- this time with implementation. It was tough to implement our goals to gain improvement. Goal 1 -- Raise scores. We said we would read more, test better, implement best practices in each department. Goal 2 -- Increase attendance. We all wondered how. Goal 3 -- Reduce drop outs. The BAR team was created. The data was overwhelming. The implementation gave us hope. The data remained flat. Goal 4 -- well, our pilot cohort has its ups and downs. Time commitment issues.

It was frustrating. For all of us. The math department and I own the second large dot on the second set around that circle. I learned much that collaboration day -- about myself and the frustration of implementing school improvement. Then science grapples with inquiry. Social studies would rather throw things -- mostly at me -- as we work through reading improvement. I wonder at what point we ALL own school improvement. I ponder how to truly make that happen.

And so, we are two weeks away from sharing our school improvement with Mrs. Patterson and Dr. Dial. As we meet these last weeks with each department to review your data collection for your DIPs, I want to give you a few tips on what we are looking for:

1. Each department should prepare a single presentation piece (probably a notebook) for your DIP data (arranging by goal seems easiest).
2. Each DIP needs to be walked through, goal by goal, action step by action step, and data must be collected.
3. Analyze your data and summarize it for your DIP (one or two bullet points with samples)
4. Keep notes on Next Steps for the 2009-2010 DIP. This will really help our department for next year's DIP.

Okay everyone. Get your display of student work up. Get your data analyzed. We're on the final LARGE CIRCLE set of closing our SIP circle. Remember, it's a boat-load of work up front, but it quickly lessens. If you have questions -- don't hesitate to check with us!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Week 23: Feb 17-20

Sewing Down the Letters of My ODD and EVEN life

After a week’s hiatus, which my oldest son Matt told me not to feel guilty about, as the ability to not post constantly was the beauty of the blog, I find myself inside an analogy. You see, someone took Benton’s ODD and EVEN signs. It’s not vital to the day-in, day-out operations of our school, but it’s amazing how many people rely on those silly little signs. I’ve had the remaking of those signs on my list for almost two months now. That and about a thousand other things. Now, I try not to whine about how busy I am – no, really – and I know I am in good company (yes, I hear you say it too). I felt like I got beat up week before last and so my response was to fall back, lick my wounds, and come back stronger and smarter.

Here I am. No longer at ODDs with what has got to be progress (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger); but more on an EVEN keel. I realized that I have a gazillion things I want to talk about with everyone – the very everyone’s that I run out of time to talk to during the school day. So, with that said, I will begin my series of posting on the following idea: BUT… before I start (and that might even be as soon as tomorrow), promise you will respond. Benton High School has blogable issues that we must communicate about. We HAVE TO, and I really mean HAVE TO, hash these things out. We have two weeks before we our walk through. One week later, our BIP (building improvement plan) is due. We have six weeks before the community VOTES about our future. We have two months before we MAP. Throw in master scheduling, five more grading cycles, prom, finals and graduation – geez, we need to talk!

Okay folks, here’s my tentative list of topics for the next few weeks:
1. Grading – where is it getting us?
2. School and Department Improvement Plans – paperwork or improvement?
3. To Survey or Not to Survey – what do we want to know?
4. Technology – Our future, kids’ future – You in or out?
5. Fighting the Frustration and Fatigue

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Week 21: February 2-6, 2009


Living Large On-Line

It's time to get everyone started toward SIP goal #4. School year 2009-2010 brings Benton High School to TPACK -- not just a cohort of instructors -- ALL of us! To begin getting everyone in the swing, Clay Burell's link below is a MUST READ that Sean sent by way of Twitter.

If you do NOTHING ELSE this week, read Clay Burell's blog entitled, "Snark Attack: UCLA Research Dissing Technology Bombs!" COMPLETELY!

Take the time to explore every link and YouTube inclusion. You will grow professionally this week in ways you can not imagine! This is the beginning of Benton 2.0 and you are a part of it!

Image credits: Static.flicker: