Morning my friend,
I have been back from Spain since Saturday night and as usual, I didn’t take Jet Lag seriously. It hit me hard but thankfully, not until I was able to plan with Jack Zangerle on Monday and spend a great day with Highland Falls teachers on Tuesday. Let me share a few photos before I continue:
The Hudson Valley Writing Project is back at Highland Falls for a second year of challenging professional development work with a group 10 Social Studies and Science teachers from grades 5-9, focusing with them on creating collaborative projects and sharing literacy strategies. These teacher teams will have time throughout the year to meet together to plan, share and reflect with their grade level partner and with the rest of the team.
Now that’s a dream I used to have when I was teaching English. I remember asking for it. TIME and OPPORTUNITY to plan, to share, to learn together, to actually discover what was going on around me as a teacher.
It never happened.
Like everywhere else, there’s new pressure on test prep and scores but hopefully in our second year together, teachers will feel respected and supported as they take a fresh look at their work with students
Last year I worked with great teachers at HF, some who that will continue in our new project but without administrative support, nothing could happen. Once again, Andrea Tejedor (with support from her Superintendent) as a central office administrator focused on technology, innovation, and curriculum, sees value in the work of the HVWP and together our ongoing partnership is an essential key to the existence of this approach to professional development.
So on this kick off day, Jack Zangerle, ELA teacher from the Dover School District shared his module work developed over a year + in collaboration with the National Writing Project and the Gates Foundation. Our network is large and rich.
We spent the day with 10 teachers sharing a module approach to long-term project development and then a workshop focusing on specific strategies for reading texts from opposing perspectives: believing and doubting.
It was a rich day, a full day. A day that demands time for digesting and debriefing and that’s built into the plan. We are committed to see this through with a series of full team meetings and additionally, one-on-one coaching throughout the year.
In April I will be traveling to Finland to see for myself what education reform looks like in a country that achieves high test scores AND respects their teachers. How different will it look from what I see here in Highland Falls?
And we are off with a lingering question:
Teachers, how did you feel about the day and our future work together?