Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Teachers Back at Work

Tired and really not feeling well, but here are the highlights of the first day back for NYC teachers.

My day started with a brief presentation by our AP, basically an introduction to the Region's goals for the year. The first thing - and I think this is a smart and impressive decision - is that there are no new initiatives in our Region this year. The focus is on getting better at the things we started in the last few years - workshop model, accountable talk, etc.

We also took a peek at the summer school results for our Region. What I found interesting in a don't-look-at-the-car-wreck kind of way is that while math & ELA exam passing rates at the end of the summer were reasonably good in the elementary grades, they dropped precipitously in 7th and 8th grade. I don't have the numbers, but we're talking about 40-60% dropping to less than 20%. What the hell happened? Nevertheless, kids with good attendance whose summer school teachers gave them a passing grade got promoted, regardless of their scores. We sent a handful to summer school, and most failed the test yet again, but they were nearly all promoted.

No science teacher. I will spare you the gory details. Mr. Richter and I began planning our first Earth Science unit together, as we will be co-teaching 7th grade.

If you want to read more, Mr. Babylon, Mildly Melancholy, Up the Down Staircase, and others got a bit of attention from the NY Sun today. You have to register to read the full article, so here are the parts about me. The writer was very patient with my paranoia about personal details and I like the positive tone of the article.
One of New York's more established bloggers, Ms. Frizzle, a science teacher in her late 20s, started by writing a blog that had nothing to do with teaching.

She posted entries about films and Fringe Festival plays she had seen, but she felt her blog was aimless and less than riveting. It wasn't until she began writing about her workdays that her blog became a highly readable travelogue of an inner-city school. "Everyone has an opinion about the state of education and the schools, but how many people had ever been in one after finishing their own education?" she wrote in an e-mail message.

...

Ms. Frizzle sees her readers as her friends. She writes primarily about the goings-on in her school - one science teaching position is still vacant; her bulletin boards are orange this year - but she also opens up in personal ways, letting people know she bought a new Western-style shirt and she's considering switching to decaf at night.

...

Asked if she's ever hesitant about including certain observations in her blog, Ms. Frizzle responded: "Quite often. ... The schools in New York City are very political places."

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