Taking a second to breathe

•November 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here we are at November and we have been flying at warp speed it feels like.  The school year is off to a decent start.  definitely as challenging as I expected but in different ways.  As an academy leader I have had to change my focus from only classroom based to a whole academy with management of teachers and students, and having a student teacher makes me more aware of my classroom practices because I have someone who is truly learning from me and I don’t want them to pick up and “bad habits”. Way more time-consuming than I expected.  I am re-evaluating, reflecting and sharpening some areas I have “neglected” because I haven’t needed to focus on it. Part of this reflection is a result of me finally doing the teacher induction program that is required by the State to get my Level II teaching certificate.  I need to get more streamlined and work smarter not  harder.

But anyway-things at school are settling down, the students are getting used to the extended day.  Monday and Wednesdays are for academic enrichments like SAT/PSSA Prep and senior seminars, while Tuesday/Thursdays are for social enrichments like step team, cooking, martial arts, knitting, drumline, etc…Basically the enrichments are what most other schools consider clubs where students stay voluntarily stay after school, but we have to “teach” our students how to be involved. It took a long time to figure out, but we are figuring it out.

Our teachers are working hard and so dedicated, and our students will benefit.  We just all fall asleep at 7pm now lol.

I’ll try to update more regularly, but that’s all for now-no funny graphics this time




•August 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Monday started Promise Academy bootcamp, which means-5 days of PD (professional development for all the non-educators).  Now let me just be upfront and say that as soon as anyone in education hears PD, we instantly start thinking of 1000 ways to kill ourselves/lists to make/ things to do/excuses to use to get out of it.  But I must say the first 2 days were pretty informative.  Even for a “veteran” 5 year teacher like myself.  I know the new teachers are definitely learning a lot.  But now getting to day 3-I’m starting imagine scenarios.

I have to just give a shout-out (unnamed) to our principal.  He is truly in the trenches with us. And I can tell you from experience and I know other teachers can cosign-not many admins are the “in the trenches” type. I’m really excited for the possibilities of this year and what that means for our students.  It will be more work for all parties involved, students, teachers, parents, and “the powers that be”, but I have to believe that it will work and we will be able to produce graduates who are ready to be fully engaged citizens of the city, state, nation, and world at large.

So as things begin, it’s time to “get our weight up” because it’s time to dig in and get busy and WORK.

What do you mean July is almost over?

•July 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I looked at the calendar today and got a little scared.  Aside from the usual-“WHERE DID MY SUMMER GO?'” question all teachers ask- whether they teach summer programs or not, this question means a little more this year.

Today we had our first “single-school culture” meeting with people who will be teaching at our school this fall.  I co-facilitated it with another teacher and it went well. Well as well as well can be when you’ve taught all day, then have a 2hr PD after school-in the middle of the suumer 🙂 But anyway- I’m excited about the upcoming school year even if it is a lot sooner than I’d like.  It’s only the fact that there are so many unanswered  questions that leave me trepidacious.

The Leaders of Change program is still going well. Our employees are researching and doing surveys about the community issues they chose and turning the info into concept papers that they will present the 2nd week in Aug.

Anyway-that’s about all I can type right now- I think my brain has decided to go on break.

Summer School

•July 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I officially had 4 days off before summer programs started at my school.  While I did have the choice to teach summer school, and by right forfeit my right to complain about teaching summer school, this will be the last year I have the option.  My school will be one of the district’s Promise Academies (more later when I feel like jumping into that bottomless pool). Starting next summer, summer school will be mandatory for all teachers and students.  Since there is the new change-I happen to be pretty excited about the program I am working with this summer and hope to see it in place next year. Especially for the students who are on track.

The program I am working with is called Leaders of Change which is being run through our Student Success Center. Check out their blog http://ucitysuccess.wordpress.com In short it’s a program geared towards our rising seniors and tasking them to answer the essential question of how to be a leader in their community (school, neighborhood, city) and be a change agent in solving related issues. We’re also working with CollegeBoard through their curriculum of CollegeEd , and working with Philadelphia Youth Network’s Work Ready program which means the students are being treated as workers and being paid.

We’re also giving them a chance to activities that most of them otherwise might not be privileged to-this morning it was yoga. While I’m no yoga expert by a long shot, it was pretty humorous to see this morning in the beginning, but then as the class went on and the instructor included some partnering moves, it was great to see the students, or workers as we’ll be calling them, start to get into it and helping each other complete the poses. I hope that the progress of this morning’s yoga class is just the beginning of the growth we’ll see from the workers this summer.

So, if this is one of the ways summer school can look-sign me up.

Here goes nothing

•July 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

So I’ve decided to keep a blog to document all of the monumental changes that will be taking place at my school in the school year to come.  I’m excited to see what will happen, and believe that it will be something great. I will do my best to update every day, or at least on some sort of regular schedule. Every day is easy to say during the summer months.  Many factors have brought our school to the point where we are, which I’ll delve into from time to time to give all of this some context, but I really want this blog to be about current successes, challenges, not complaints about the past. So with that-goodnite. Happy 4th of July weekend.

For the record- I am a history teacher, not an English teacher so forgive me ahead of time if I don’t use proper tense/words/punctuation (more from laziness than ignorance) but still 🙂

Hello world!

•July 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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