Been quiet for awhile, but doing my homework.

Had a fellow blogger ask me if I was still out in the blogosphere, and to answer her that would be yes! I have been doing my homework and learning as much as I can about where we are going with RTTT. As the Milford Board representative to the county RTTT meetings that DEDOE has setup I sit with our district folks to learn what new direction the state is going to PUSH us. The last bit of info I garnered was that the ink is not even dry on the first years SOWs and plans, and already the DEDOE is saying the 2nd and 3rd year plans need to be revised again or you will not recieve your share of the pot! I guess we should not be surprised as like most federally initiated programs the target keeps moving as the funding continues to vanish!
As I come across more on RTTT I will keep you in the loop, but did want to ask a question of the readers out there and it is one being asked around the state right now. One piece of the RTTT program all districts are wrestling with is the 90 minute planning blocks required weekly for staff to use the data garned from the new DCAS testing. What suggestions are out there for how to make this work for parents, students, and teachers? To give you a starting point it has been discussed to maybe start 90 minutes late once a week to maybe letting out 90 minutes early once a week. Let me know you thoughts!

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About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
This entry was posted in Delaware Politics, Education. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Been quiet for awhile, but doing my homework.

  1. Gary, I’m not sure how CSD is planning to incorporate the 90 minute blocks across all sites, but my daughter’s elementary started it this year. On M,T,W, and F, the kids follow one schedule. On Thursday, it’s switched up, heavy with specials, sciences, and RTI pull-outs. What the 90 minute blocks have done is throw off the lunch schedule on Thursdays. The kids either eat at like 10:45ish or after 1:30 pm. So some teachers are considering adding a snacktime/option into the day.

  2. Ancora Imparo says:

    just fyi – some English and Math are currently doing this on Tue/Thur – losing planning during student day. (Milford contract never gave planning “during student day” – so option to plan after school when kids, activities, sports. Although a contract shouldn’t hold back reform – there is a reason for a break – for professional duties -during student day – other districts have this.) Intense collaboration + full challenging teaching load in 1 day, twice a week. Sometimes I worry about the stress, culture of the system. Very, very few teachers argue against collaboration (or differentiation or high expectations) … just when you hear them complain, there is not time to do it all well. For other, their job is described on paper (district, state, federal levels). Me? The proof of how well I do is in the kid. I just attended a conference where the presenter claimed schools focus SO much on technical changes and miss the valuable change of culture. Do you realize the liklihood that I would sit in professional development 7 years from now where someone explains that this era’s research was not reflected in gains of student because schools tried to check off checklist without addressing the value of gains.
    It is time to move on. 🙂

    • Wolfe Gary says:

      The latest discussion has adding 15 minutes to day on Mon-Thur, and then students leaving 1 hour early Friday to allow for the 90 minutes planning. What are your thoughts on this idea? As to the missed changes in culture I have to agree as I think that’s why we are where we are because of it.

  3. Frederika says:

    Thank you for asking, Gary. Other than hearing from some teacher leaders who have been struggling to help design the plan for their district, we have not been asked.

    Nice to see you back on the blog.

    90-minutes per week = 360 minutes per month = six (6) hours. The Red Clay teacher contract allows for up to three hour-long meetings per month for all teacher-type employees. So, across the district, we all now have three pre-scheduled meetings, on the first Wednesday, the second Monday, and the third Thursday of the month. The entire faculty gets together in the library, so we could access other teachers who are not on our grade level teams. For example, all ELA teachers could meet. All teachers with 6th grade students–including exploratory teachers and special education teachers–could meet. This doesn’t happen because the meeting agendas are so tightly controlled by principal’s and district’s initiatives, but the time is there.

    Beyond those three hours, teacher groups (teams or departments or committees) are tasked with identifying some other sources of time to make up the other three hours. Classroom teachers in my middle school have two planning periods a day, so we use one planning period per week to add on more of the time. It is different in our high schools and elementary schools, but every school had to submit a plan on how they would create the remaining time blocks.

    When the 90-minute mandate came down, RCEA (teacher union) insisted that no one lose daily individual planning & preparation time, which is mandated at 225 minutes per week. The district was very respectful of that time–teachers REALLY need time to plan and prep for classes each day. I am a science teacher. Lab prep sometimes takes hours. Elementary teachers never get their 45 minutes a day, having to drop classes off at music or art, and then be there to pick them up.

    These three-hour meetings are supposed to fulfill the collaborative model for the 90-minute planning blocks. But, so far, I have sat through nine sessions of listening to the head guy or some other stand-in person give one presentation or another. No collaboration there. I believe that this may be true for many of our schools. It has evolved into three monthly faculty meetings–some parts of which might be categorized as professioanl development. Not by most teachers’ standards, I might add. No one asks me what PD I might really need. Trust me, I have a list.

    There is plenty of need for colaborative time and these three hours would be a great time to accomplish much of this, but,… RCEA is pushing to loosen the administration’s hold on both the agenda and in structuring how the three hours are spent. We keep hoping that the mandated collaboration will happen.

  4. ancora imparo says:

    The last hour on a Friday to collaborate? I think this pretty much explains the ed reform is process.

  5. Ancora Imparo says:

    I suggest you invite them to the table in which you have these conversations. You might find they are not just employees protecting a contract… but people with some insight on problems before problems arise. 🙂

  6. Ancora Imparo says:

    ahh… collaboration.

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