Showing posts from March, 2009

Technology as a Pre-requisite Skill?

We recently hired a new secretary. We required the all applicants to take the advanced assessment for Microsoft Office Excel, Word and Outlook. We do this because from experience we have learned that our office is too busy for people to learn on the job. They need to enter the job with a high degree of competency. We offer a personal interview only to the candidates that demonstrate they are tech savvy.This led me to pondering whether or not the same is true for new teachers. Is the classroom just too busy of a place to learn on the job? Should teachers enter the classroom with a high degree of technology competency. Should we assess technology skills in a systematic way in the same vein we look at pedagogy and communication skills?If the answer is no, how much further into the 21st century before we might consider technology assessment as a necessity?If the answer is yes, what technology skills would we assess and how would we assess them?

Teacher/Student Mentoring

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Wilson High School, Wilson Area School District, is the only high school in the IU 20 region that made high growth for both math and reading. Here is Part II of their story:In 2007-08 the district created a Teacher/Student Mentoring Program. Each staff member including the principal, assistant principal, central office personnel including the superintendent mentored a group of 10 to 15 students throughout the school year. The assistant principal scheduled 6-8 meetings throughout the school year. The assistant principal also planned the sessions, almost scripted them to support teachers in this new role. Activities included meeting with each student individually to review their 4Sight scores and discussing the impact on students. For example a 10th grade student might have already completed Algebra, but 4Sight indicates some weaknesses. The mentor points out resources the student has available including PSSA Study Island, Math Labs, and Tutoring Labs.…

Long-term Planning Leads to Results

Wilson High School, Wilson Area School District, is the only high school in the IU 20 region that made high growth for both math and reading. I had the opportunity to meet with John Martuscelli, Wilson High School Principal, and David Wright, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, to learn their strategies for success.The work began in 2005 and was formalized into a math plan in 2006 which revolved around curriculum alignment, increasing opportunities for learning mathematics, and placing ownership for student achievement onto the students.Curriculum AlignmentThe curriculum committee did not want to depend on electives to deliver the standards. Therefore, the curriculum needed to be written to ensure that ALL studentshad access to a rigorous sequence of math courses that delivered all core standards.All General math courses were eliminated. All students, including IEP students, must take Algebra 1, Algebra II and Geometry. Multiple formats for learning Algebra were offered: Honors…

The Key to Social Networking

Well, I took the advice of Will Richardson in the November issue of Ed Leadership regarding social networking and I joined Facebook and then later, Twitter. It took a while and at first, I have to confess that I really didn't get it. However, I have finally stumbled upon the key to the value of these tools, but I do so humbly, a bit embarrassed actually that I didn't figure it out earlier.... so no one make fun of me, please.Here it goes.... The secret to social networking tools is...... being social. I know a bit anticlimactic. I only share because I have noticed friends that have explored with me didn't get it right away either. It could just be us, but our collective experience was to join the site and then stare at an empty screen.... not really getting what the fuss was all about. However, a few friends find you on Facebook and your busy reminiscing and catching up. More friends and family find you and the fun intensifies. I had the same experience with Twitter. I joi…