The House was in town this week long enough to decide that they don't have the votes to pass the Senate's road funding proposal, so it seems likely that the debate will drag on through the summer. The House took up SB 358—a bill to remove the cap on teacher certification testing fees—but did not vote on the legislation. Test fees have to cover the cost of development, administration, and scoring, so MDE is having difficulty updating or improving the teacher certification test because the test fees are so low.
A school year in the life of a secondary school administrator is over in a blink of an eye. I can’t imagine another profession where time is marked by a beginning and an end that repeats itself multiple times each year. We start the school year, end a marking period, begin a new semester, and then complete the year. Each beginning brings an opportunity to start new, while the finish is a perfect opportunity to recreate and begin new again.
Last week, we looked at Close Reading as a strategy to help students comprehend and analyze text as both best practice and for SAT prep. Perhaps a more basic entry-level skill to being a good reader is building academic vocabulary, which is yet another essential skill for success in life and on the SAT. In some cases, secondary teachers may think that vocabulary is rooted in elementary classrooms and that students should come to them with prerequisite knowledge, but we know this is often not the case.
Tired of spending more time stuck behind a desk than the kids in detention? Putting out more fires than the Chicago fire department? Feeling like your open door policy turned into a revolving door policy that more closely resembles the grocery store than a professional institution of learning? Is your nose buried in your cell phone reading and responding to emails and Twitter, rather than being present with your students and teachers during instructional time? If so, then rethink how you spend your time and take control of your calendar.
As you have now wrapped up your school year, finished your end-of-year reporting, and hopefully had a chance spend some time with your family, many of you will be heading back to your office. One of the key planning points that will likely already be on your mind is, "How do I want to start with the staff when they come back in the fall?" This is a critical question for every principal. Just as the first day of school sets the tone in each classroom for what the year is to bring, so does the first day with your staff.