He Loved Being a Teacher

I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Dr. John King, our newest  Deputy  Commissioner in NY, over the weekend at the New York State Teacher Center’s Fall Focus in Albany.

In a nutshell:

  • He LOVED being a teacher.
  • He is looking forward to the continuing challenge to make schools nurturing, challenging and engaging.
  • He wants us to think about how to build an excellent curriculum, top it off with good professional development and then think about an assessment system that complements the curriculum and professional development.  Too often we think about teaching to the assessment as the lone strategy.
  • He briefly discussed the needs of our 21st Century Learners. Why not have classes around Economics, Arts, Technology that part of our mission of a laser-like focus to make teaching and learning better?
  • He believes that data is not to sort kids, but rather using it for US to get better.
  • He referenced the national standards movement.  He said that we may not adopt the common core standards, but it is very important for us to be a  part of that conversation.  He wants to make sure that the adoption of the standards would raise the rigor.  I did not know this but the intent of adoption means if we adopt the standards that would only be 85% of our standards.  Our state would then add some to that (15% more).

I am thinking that this is the first time that I regret forgetting to take a pad of paper with me.  He was inspiring, and I continue to be  excited about education with someone at the lead who cares so much about student learning!

The Cyber Cafe

So, our students ROCK!  On November 3, 2009, our district had our Superintendent’s Conference Day.  It was technology-filled day as teachers, clerical staff, teacher aides and admininstrators chose sessions that best fit their needs for personal learning.  Sessions ranged from 1 -3 hours, and they ran the gammet from basic computing to integraiton of web 2.0 technologies.  Presenters were teachers from our districts, teachers from neighboring districts, technology specialists, technology integrators, consultants and staff developers from our BOCES.  Feedback has been very positive, and participants are asking for more..more time to practice, more time to learn, more of similar experiences. 

What was really the best, however, was our students.  Our AV Club created a Cyber Cafe.  They transformed our old, boring cafeteria into a cafe with coffee and treats for sale, cozy couches and chairs to sit in, round tables for conversation and stools and computers for mini-lessons on technology.  The KNOWLEDGE BAR was a hit.  Imagine over 26 kids showing up to school on their day off to serve teachers refreshments, to teach teachers about their own techology expertise and to assist in each class throughout the day.  The kids were professional, prepared, and positive.  I am still in awe!