Monday, June 2, 2008

Small Learning Communities

I went to a meeting down at Tweed today to discuss Small Learning Communities. The city is thinking about expanding Small Learning Community work to a handful of middle schools next year, and and exploratory panel wanted to hear from several principals who are at different stages of this work.

Two years ago, our school divided into teams for the first time. This year, we began to deepen the work of the teams. We saw the beginnings of inter-disciplinary planning and saw our math and ELA content teams form common assessments, rubrics and criteria.

Many schools have "teams" in name only. At 339, our teams function at a high level, yet we still are eager to continue to delve into academic rigor, differentiation and student engagement. I hope that the city decides to invest in a cadre of middle schools that can examine the work of small learning communities. SLC's can transform middle school practice, and we would love to participate.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Quality Review

Last week, we had our School Quality Review for two full days, directly following Memorial Day. I'm happy to report that we jumped TWO levels, from "Underdeveloped" to "Proficient". We've made a lot of progress, and the Quality Review allowed us to demonstrate some of our best work so far.

We spent time at the end of the week debriefing the feedback we received (still in informal form) and reflecting with our staff. It was great to celebrate the progress we've made with our hard-working teachers and support staff. I think our staff realizes that the Quality Review process examines the efforts and perceptions of all stakeholders at the school. This is what makes the process so valuable.

Everyone was able to point to important lessons learned from the Quality Review process, as well as make some helpful suggestions for next year. People were proud to hear that our reviewer had identified our school as having one of the best instructional technology programs she'd seen.

Here is the Google presentation David Prinstein created based on our SQR feedback: