While we might wish everyone a “Happy New Year” this week, for educators the new year typically starts on the first day of school upon completion of summer vacation. Rather than thinking about new beginnings, this time of year typically causes me to think about how we can finish the school year to optimize student learning. Nevertheless, a new year is upon us, and I think it is a good time to discuss my plan for completing the 2011-2012 school year.
As for most public school educators, a new calendar year ramps up my focus on our state’s accountability test. We continue to prepare our students to perform well on this assessment throughout the school year, but the conversations among faculty, staff, and colleagues certainly increase every January. As do the supplemental instructional activities that occur before, during, and after regular school hours for our students. Although I do believe that accountability testing has a useful role in public education, I do not think it is a meaningful measure of student learning. So, as in years past, I continue to struggle with how to best prepare our students for this year’s school accountability test, while optimizing each student’s learning.
At the beginning of this school year, I challenged our faculty to increase their levels of collaboration, networking, and creating for their own professional learning. Many have responded by creating blogs and utilizing social media to develop their own PLN. Technology has given us the means to connect with educators from around the globe to improve our professional learning, which has resulted in many of our teachers encouraging their students to engage in collaborating, networking, and creating of their own.
So, my plan for completing the 2011-2012 school year includes a continued emphasis on collaboration, networking, and creating for myself and our teachers and students. It is with this continued approach to learning that I think we can best finish out the 2011-2012 school year to perform well on our state’s accountability test and to optimize student learning. Please share your thoughts.