The 2015-16 school year is upon us all! Commuters will be dreading the increase in traffic volume as hoards of teachers return to the roads. Some parents are preparing to breathe a sigh of relief as they send their kids back to school after a long Summer. Buying beginning-of-the-year supplies and outfits will serve as a fun outing for other families. Homeschoolers will have made their curriculum selections and will be (re)arranging their at-home classrooms in preparation for a new year of challenges. Regardless of where your kids will be learning, though, the excitement of another year of big ideas and the smell of pencil shavings brings with it the hope of growth. And, with growth comes change.
Well, for me too. And, no, I didn’t move to another district.
My school year starts early thanks to our 200-day charter. So, the end of August is the beginning of my school year. This year’s orientation has brought some surprises:
- A new, engaging, and inspiring chief academic officer/lead person
- A bit more interesting professional development (sadly, none art-specific … but at least my hiney wasn’t going numb for most of it!)
- A new school-wide character program
- A return to my classroom (versus the cart I used two years ago—boy, that seems like ages ago!)
- A few curricular updates
In the next few blog posts, I will go over the above points. Please chime in to this discussion as it is important to share experiences and learn from each other.
Our District’s new Chief Academic Officer (CAO) formally introduced herself to the staff at orientation. She did a fantastic job inspiring us as she deftly facilitated discussion and answered questions. What I like most is that she shared of herself and encouraged us to do the same. It was a welcome change from the past. I so look forward to what might be under her leadership. Hope is a good thing!
On a sad note, though, the director of my department resigned. He is a good friend, was super helpful, and served as a fine advocate for us. I am nervous should they seek to replace him too quickly. Time will tell what this does to the cohesiveness of our department.
Hope, Fear, and the Importance of Engagement
Have you experienced a change like those I just described? This will be yet another in a series of school leaders who has taken the reigns at my charter. Will she remain strong or become disillusioned as well? In most public schools, upper-echelon administrative personnel do not ‘mingle with the masses’ much. This is one of the things I do like about charters; but should I?
Have you lost someone who faithfully advocated for your work at your school or job? Did they leave on their own? Or, were they forced out because they spoke out? I remember from being in the business arena before transitioning into education how painful it could be when a good and knowledgeable leader was no longer present. This ‘loss’ will not be easy. I am very curious what effect his leaving will have on the department. It is so easy for groups who do not see each other regularly to become fragmented and for morale to crumble.
Were there unexpected changes for you this year? Did they bring you hope? Or, cause fear to well up in your belly? If fear was your response, how do you realign your perspective to keep you from disengagement?
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