I had a great summer work day with my colleagues this week. We worked on a plan of attack for the changes coming our way, and there are a lot of them. When I recently complained that "change everything" was on my summer list, I was only kind of kidding.
1. Incorporate MTSS. Our district has decided to implement multi-tiered systems of support in the area of math. This means that our most struggling students will have extra time to work on deficient pre-requisite skills. We have a plan for identifying these students and scheduling an extra period in the day for intervention.
2. New Courses. In addition to adding extra support at the lower levels, we also felt the need to do a better job challenging our advanced students. So, as a fairly small school (lower 300's for 9-12) that has traditionally offered only one track for math, we have decided to expand our course offerings to include a regular and an advanced course at each level. (There will be a regular Algebra 1 and an Advanced Algebra 1, etc.) We think this will be great for students . . . but it means that each of us will have at least one additional prep in order to incorporate all of these new classes.
3. New Textbooks. This year was the adoption of new math textbooks district-wide. I actually stopped using a textbook several years ago, so this isn't a huge deal for me. My colleagues are planning to follow their new textbooks, so they are stressed at the thought of starting from scratch. I am needing to make a lot of changes myself, due to #4 . . .
4. New Standards. Common Core.
5. New Technology. We are fortunate to have some very current technology available in our district, but as new purchases roll in and old ones are removed and/or re-distributed, we are finding that our comfortable way of utilizing these devices is in need of a revamp. We spent a chunk of time figuring out the best way to meet each person's technology needs utilizing a laptop, iPad, apple TV, projector, and smart slate.
6. New Teacher! In related news, we hired an additional math teacher to help make all this happen. We got to meet and hang out with him all day. He did not run screaming from the meeting, so that's a good thing. We have a challenging year ahead, but I am feeling a lot more confident that it will be a good one!