Sunday, July 06, 2008

Can't fall asleep

We leave for home after Church in the morning. I cannot fall asleep.
So, I am brainstorming instead.
In the fall (actually about 5 weeks) we will begin the new school year. Last year ended with way to may referrals to the office. This year I am taking over as grade level chair (for one year). I think the best way to attack the situation is to discuss openly the discipline issues.
First- the principal on our level thinks of herself as a counselor. I understand her position- but too many kids push too far and teachers begin to refer those kids for everything....
Also, she is not good about patting teachers on the do you talk a 35 year veteran teacher into doing something not in their nature?
Second- the teachers, in general, are young. That is a good thing- but they are also highly competitive. That can be a bad thing since state tests are very competitive. I have to figure out a way to help them see that by making all three teams successful- the group will get the recognition that it needs/wants/ desires.
Third- I am an outsider- military mom in background- not home town girl. Sometimes the techniques work- other times they do not with the faculty.
Fourth- we are anticipating two major gangs of kids moving into the school. Both groups have girl leaders and have been known to be violent....
Here is the plan.
First- I am going to ask our level principal, counselor, special ed teachers and hall aides to attend one hour with us on three days. First hour will be a "what bugs us" in the classroom brainstorm
Second hour will be a "What can we do about it?" and "How important is that particular thing while keeping kids in the room learning?"
Third hour will be "how and who?"
I am thinking of doing this in circles of 5 (knowing that odd numbers do not promote the best communication- but one teacher will most likely be a volunteer to write in each round robin). There are twenty people on a grade level- so this may work well. If not- I will punt and go to four in a circle with sharing.
Then- for the first week of school-I am going to ask one person on each team to give a speech the first week of school. It will be the "you are on the best team in the school and this is the best school in the state" speech. We need some pump up. Basically, our kids come in with a variety of skills- but are not solid. Belief in themselves is primary to success.
Still thinking. I need help with how I can help keep the discipline in line. The weakest links are the principal and the teachers who throw kids out of class for being unprepared (like no pencil or paper- which is common in a school like ours.)
Ideas anyone?

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