Saturday, February 12, 2005

Collecting Data / Taking Action

James has added the credit accumulation from every report card that Al sent me. Some staff's report cards are missing. This spreadsheet has been emailed to Al.

James is currently inputting the POL scores.

I think that as long as the data is provided to me (and much I have) we have the time to input the data.

I'm afraid that the we may allow ourselves to be seduced by inputting data or creating new systems (i.e., new graduation plans) without taking direct action on the core issue of the undercredited 11th graders: instruction.

I believe we have all the systems we need but they are not all implemented (i.e, does each student have internalized what their learning plans say...are they real live plans of action OR does each student have a rich project connected to their apprenticeship?). Inventing new systems may be enticing while not addressing the hardest work.

I would like to hear about what actions are being taken in the classroom and in the interactions with students. What are people trying out? What results do we see? How will we track those results (I suggest grids...another system in place but underused)?

Any thoughts? Debate?


SAM said...

I think Michael is right, here. I think that we cannot allow ourselves to be seduced by the data or new systems. I do believe we have what we need (in terms of systems) to get these kids enough credits.

I think we need to be in classrooms helping teachers effectively utilize the systems they have. This is the hard work, I think, because it requires that we be constructively critical of each other and our practices. There might be many difficult conversations along the way. But I think it has to be done.

Joan will have a completed "credit tracking" sheet for each of the 11th graders for us on Tuesday morning. We might divide them up and assign ourselves certain kids and teachers that we are going to help.

What do ya think?


Joan said...

Hi! I agree with Al and Michael here. Speaking as a teacher, I feel that I need to get better at working within the system that we have - not throwing out the system. There are big gaps in my own work and I am assuming that other teachers must feel the same way. Al is right, though, critically examining my own work is THE hardest work. But it is where improvement starts.

For me, teaching in Explorations provides many opportunities for me to get distracted; I can start a project with one kid and never get around to checking in with him until a week has gone by. With most of my students, that just isn't good enough. It's easy for me to wander around the room, going from child to child, but following through and getting into depth are the harder things for me to manage on a consistent basis. Again, I don't think it's about changing the system, but rather checking in with my own habits and preferences. This means forcing myself to confront subjects I'm less familiar with and putting energy and creativity into them. It's not easy sometimes.

Just some thoughts. What do you think?


SAM said...

I think we need to come up with some simplified ways to engage with a student regardless of the subject. If we have a barebones "script" to conference with any student we might feel more productive. I don't think it's THE answer but if we developed something we liked it might give teachers a tool to increase their conferencing and feeling productive and effective.