August 19, 2012

Getting ready

During this time in August throughout my 30 years as a middle school art teacher I began the transition of “back to school”. Even though I spent many days and sometimes weeks during the summer involved in some type of professional development, the last two weeks of August were about the official change from summertime to school. I’d have the “school dreams” and find myself drawn to the classroom. It was exciting to open the boxes of new supplies and remember what I had ordered several months before, almost like Christmas. I had a chance to re-connect with colleagues and learn about their summer adventures when they popped in to say hello.

Inevitably there were changes that came my way during this time which often involved last minute decisions and  “new” students. The secretary or other school personnel would take a “new” student and his or her parent(s) for a tour of the building. I can still see the nervousness, fear, and anxiousness in the students eyes while trying to remain cool, calm, and collected (as a middle schooler is capable of). The change they were about to experience during the young adolescent period was enormous. Most often a week or two into the school year the student had acclimated to their new school.

We all know that change is not easy, sometimes change is out of our control, and sometimes when weighing the options a decision comes as a surprise to us. I believe that “when one door closes, another opens” as does a colleague art teacher and potter Shanna Wheelock. You can read about Shanna’s sudden changes and all the interesting goings on in her life at the Easternmost Potter in the United States blog post this week. Best Wishes to Shanna as her journey takes a turn.

There are changes in education that have and will continue to impact teachers in classrooms, how they teach, and how students learn. Two documents that will impact teaching and learning in Maine that became law during the last legislative session are included below. Only a segment of each law is provided, you can read the entire law at the links provided at the bottom.

  1. Legislative document (LD) 1422 called An Act to Prepare Maine People for the Future Economy. This law includes graduation requirements be based on a proficiency-based diploma of the standards. Beginning January 1, 2017, a diploma indicating graduation from a secondary school must be based on student demonstration of proficiency.
  2. Legislative document (LD) 1858 called An Act to Insure Effective Teaching and School Leadership. This law
    • Requires school administrative units to develop and implement a performance evaluation and professional growth systems for teachers and principals.
    • Sets forth standards that must be met by these systems, including a requirement that multiple measures of effectiveness must be used in evaluations, including student learning measures, that evaluators must be properly trained and that a system must include a process for using information from the evaluation process to inform professional development.

    To read the entire law (LD 1422) Public Law Chapter 669 please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the ENACTED law dated May 16, 2012.

    To read the entire law (LD 1858) Public Law Chapter 635 please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the ENACTED law dated April 5, 2012.

    During the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative summer institute the teacher leaders had the chance to discuss the laws and what is happening in reference to these laws. They discussed what they’d like to see and what impact they might have on their teaching. As you transition back to school you might want to have a similar discussion so teachers are aware of the movement in Maine. Making and taking the time to discuss changes will mostly result in a better understanding and consequently success!

One comment

  1. Thanks, Argy! Shared on my FB Home Page.

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