Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sneak Peak of My New Classrooms!

Tomorrow is August 1st.  The day when teachers can officially get into our school building. There has been construction GALORE all summer long so I'd seen my new teaching space for all of about 4 minutes.
Today I finally closed the door to my former teaching world at my old school by cleaning out all my things. Felt good to do so. I decided rather then move stuff from old class to new class I needed to see my new space again.  I ventured in today and the above slideshow is what I found. WOW. I have DPS technology people coming out on Monday to help figure out what works, what doesn't work and reimage a whole slew of computers. Thank goodness for the help! Not only will I be the technology teacher at Trevista but I will also be the site tech rep who takes care of all the tech equipment. It is something I'm fully capable to do, however the training for the STR job is not until after school starts. This does not help with what needs to be done to get things up and going now. So again, I'm very thankful to the people coming out to help with this huge project. 

New Educator Institute FRUSTRATION

Part of being new to DPS is the requirement to attend some New Educator sessions. I spent three hours in one yesterday about ELA- English Language Acquisition (in my previous district this stood for English Language Arts). There wasn't any detailed info about what this required session was about so I had no idea what to expect. We initially met in the auditorium of North High School. The director of ELA came out and told some stories and told us how our three hours would be broken into smaller groups and sessions. We all ventured like cattle to our first sessions. My first session was about the DPS ELA Position Paper. We were given about seven minutes to to read, digest and discuss with a person next to us this seven page paper. Frustration immediately set in as this was the first time I'd heard of or seen this position paper. I would home that if I'm supposed to process such a document I'd be given more than 7 minutes. FRUSTRATION started to boil. We then were shuffled to our next session about Content/Language Objectives. This session REALLY made me feel inadequate.  I began thinking I'd missed some required training about these objectives and how they work. We again were supposed to quickly do an activity, process and discuss. FRUSTRATION. Finally our last session was in the most beautiful high school library I've ever seen. It was about Denver Context. We learned about historical cases that are guiding the work DPS is doing in the ELA areas. We again had an activity that we were to do with someone that was FRUSTRATING. Finally in about the last five minutes the presenter said that the day was about getting and introduction to ELA in DPS.  WHAT!??!! She then asked for feedback about our time. I couldn't resist politely saying how I'd felt inadequate, behind, and stressed for the the three sessions only to find out this was just an intro. I suggested as they continued their trainings of this ELA intro they tell people up front. Whew.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Here We Go

Trevista staff summer connecting. 

Jumping into a Turn Around school has been interesting to say the least. I am really looking forward to what is ahead but there is so much to do. The slideshow is a bit of what the staff at Trevista has been doing to reconnect and repair a community. We spent some time walking the neighborhood in our Blue Trevista shirts to make a presence and chat with parents and kids. The staff spent one day going to the local resources that are open to families. The community has access to the Wilfley Boys and Girls Club branch. Students we saw had access to computers where a staff member was teaching them how to build with Lego Robotics. They also had a gym were the staff member talked about summer league teams that were going. Students could connect with literacy staff members and work on their reading skills using the Accelerated Reader Program.  Amazing opportunity for the local families for a nominal fee of $4 a year. Our next stop took us to a program created by DU called The Bridge Project. This is another valuable community resource that helps boost students academic skills. Our final stop was the Denver Parks and Rec Aztlan facility. Here community members can play basketball, swim in the outdoor pool and use the weight room. 
***Let me back up a bit. I am going to be new to Trevista at Horace Mann as well as to Denver Public Schools. I have spent the past 10 years teaching for Jeffco as a 5th grade teacher in a Suburban school with a small minority population. I am embarking on a new challenging adventure as the Technology Teacher for an ECE-8th grade school.  The population is 96% free and reduced and has a mostly minority population. Needless to say I am excited.***
I was proud to be a part of a group of teachers who have jumped into this Turn Around school adventure spending unpaid time to connect with and learn about the community.