Reflecting on My Recent Professional Development Effort: The Power of Teacher Vertical and Cross-Curricular Collaboration

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All professional fields incorporate professional development (PD) into the structure of their occupations. There are always ideas to share and experiences to be had with the intent of growing employees or to simply improve one’s self. The unfortunate reality–at least in education–is a great deal of professional development can feel inadequate at best and a waste of time at worst. It is with this understanding of my own PD experiences that I went into planning a professional development of teachers in my cluster of schools with trepidation. To be transparent, I was nervous I would let my colleagues down and planning a PD experience that lacked the right substance and the right balance of experiential learning and collaboration with some dreaded sit-and-get as well. This was not my first rodeo–I had developed and delivered PD for others before, but rarely do I feel I hit the mark or pushed a narrative forward. Well, this time, this PD, felt different. I walked away after three days of rigorous work with my colleagues believing we had all experienced a PD worthy of our time, energy and effort. Continue reading

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When Shaping a School Culture, Expect Difficulties and Delays

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The title of today’s post sounds more ominous than I intend it to sound. Two full months into my school year has brought with them ups and downs but due to the unique position I find myself in this year, the downs seem a little lower and ups seem a bit higher. Here is what I will promise from today’s post–I will only spend a short paragraph about the difficulties and delays. Most of today’s post will concentrate on what my school has been up to help continue to shape the school culture in a way that better prepares students for life after high school. On a quick side note, I find out soon if I passed my comprehensive exams or not. When I find out, I’ll be posting my reflection on the whole process.

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My 9th First Week of School–The Good, The Better, and The Best

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Almost a decade in and the first day of school is still always a little nerve racking. The nerves are built from adrenaline and excitement mostly. This year there is a bit more stress added due to changing my position and our school going through yet another round of changes. These changes, however, already feel pretty good.

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Previewing A New School Year and Something Extraordinary is Coming

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I could not allow the month of July to lapse without posting at least one more time, especially considering I’ve only posted one other time this month!

The school year is fast approaching. For some of my educator friends, they are already wrapping up a week of pre-planning because the kiddos come into their schoolhouse next week. My pre-planning week starts Monday. Still, I’ve been at my school every day this week attending meetings, preparing lessons, and getting used to a whole new set of expectations this year.

After all, this year will be different. I will be balancing a new administrative role, teaching 9th grade language arts, taking my comprehensive exams, and writing a dissertation. While I certainly have those sudden feelings that I might be in over my head, I am more excited than any other feeling coursing through me. Inside today’s post, I look ahead to my new role and how I’m approaching my classroom as well as sharing a preview of something quite extraordinary forming this fall.

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Shifting Roles: Pondering What’s Next/Reflecting on What’s Passed

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First, I want to assure anyone still interested in the writing by design posts that the fourth installment will be posted sometime this summer. S and J are in summer mode, and I have class, but I promise we’ll get the last post up soon-ish.

Alright, onward.

This has been a year of even more change than I could have anticipated. Just over a year ago I announced my transition from the first high school I had ever taught at to another one across town in order to stretch myself as an educator. I had no way of knowing how much that decision would begin a domino effect that has shaped a career path I could not have predicted. While every year has its ups and downs, this was a year of blessings in many regards as well as one of great personal challenges. Continue reading