This has been an exciting time in my career, where everything I have been working on is coming together. All of my coursework through Lamar has been applicable and it’s a thrilling time to be a teacher! Our campus transitioned new administrators (Fall 2016), and we received two instructional coaches per middle school campus. These positive changes have allowed for me to be successful with not just implementing my innovation plan, but providing opportunities for teachers to do the same through professional training.
District Training In years past, the district staff development days consisted of a PowerPoint topic which pertained only to a small group of teachers, followed by hand writing a Cumulative Formative Assessment. Little information transferred, and little was accomplished on these days. I communicated to my principal that it would be beneficial and more productive to allow for collaboration. Many elective teachers are the only one teaching that course on each campus, so having an opportunity to collaborate across campuses was needed. The spring of last semester the training's changed to allow for collaboration. We finally had scheduled time to collaborate with colleagues, instead of discussing irrelevant topics, and it was beneficial. The scheduled training in a few weeks, we will be working in a lab with the same content teachers testing out a new software we are installing in STEM class.
Campus Training Previously the meetings were an opportunity for the department head to relay any pertinent campus-wide information or the “nuts & bolts” of the school. This year the administrators wanted these meetings to be focused on teachers learning new teaching methods. I have led the meetings with relevant videos on blended learning methods, and have had opportunities for excellent discussions on how we can focus on student-centered classes with projects, and experimental learning.
Instructional Coaches (New this year) The coaches have provided individual assistance with my goals and plans. Providing teachers with on campus assistance has been an enormous asset. It is shocking to think of previous years when we had one technology coordinator and one curriculum specialist supporting 400 teachers. Having instructional coaches on our campus has provided much needed support for teachers to implement training. I have shared with them resources from this class (5388) so they can continue supporting the teachers in a meaningful way. They have been hands-on showing us modeling, and how to implement technology, one of the coaches even acted in my PL video.
Resources Technology is our districts weakest link. The district invested in a LMS (Learning Management System) but we still do not have 1:1 access for students and a computer device. We have purchased additional Chromebooks, but teachers are still sharing devices between classes. In addition there has been technology positions that have not been replaced, leaving campuses waiting weeks for problems to be fixed or software to be updated. The computers we currently have in the computer labs do not have the appropriate amount of space for the software that has been installed, leaving students with slow and crashing computers. Although the district is aware of these deficiencies, this will be an ongoing issue while we continue to introduce more computer devices.
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