I don’t have reliable internet access where I am (which is to say that the hotel has two networked computers, but I would have to stand in the line with a dozen teenagers in order to use it), so what I say in this post may be repetitive. I’m writing it on my laptop, and at some point I will save it to a jump drive, plod downstairs, and stand in line. So if I repeat something from a previous post, please excuse.
First, an update. For the last few weeks, my fellow co-facilitator and I have been picking apart the Junior High FL teaching matrix, trying to configure it in such a way that FL teachers can receive a one-class transition (or reduction, if you will) but class sizes don’t get too high. Our department chair is very cautious to bring class sizes far above 15. What has ensued have been a number of wonderful conversations in which three constituencies (the principal, the department chair, and the teachers) are trying to answer the same question: will this improve student learning? It’s great to be in a conversation in which people aren’t shielding egos, protecting turf, or seeking to preserve the status quo. Instead, we are trying to provide job-embedded professional growth for teachers while honoring the school’s commitment to giving individual attention to students through the promise of low class sizes. Unfortunately, mathematics place both those elements on the opposite side of the playing field. Whatever the product of the discussion (implementing the PLC or deferring for a year), I am encouraged by the healthy conversations going back and forth.
So, I continue to read DuFour’s book. I’d love to say that I’m being enlightened, but everything that he’s saying is such common sense. It’s just good to see it in print, in such a thoughtful, well-reasoned monologue, and to see it connected to other insights.