Friday, November 20, 2015

Progress, One Day at a Time

As our trimester comes to a close, I started looking back at our school year so far.  As anyone who works in education knows, time goes fast and sometimes it is hard to see what progress we have made with our students and our school.  Our students are now in their routines.  All the big dreams we had over summer about the changes we were going to make this year are either a reality, in progress, or unfortunately not happening yet.  But the same questions keep coming up in my mind, are we better than we were last year?  Are we better than we were even at the start of the school year?  Are we better than we were the day before?
1st Grade Literature Circles

At one of our recent professional development days our Superintendent, Derk Garcia, spoke about the need to get better everyday.  He asked us a few questions to think about.  When we get our students in the morning, by the time they leave our school for the day, did they get better by being in our classrooms?  Do they leave us better each day than when they first arrived?

Adria Klein speaking to our teachers during one of our PD days
At the PD day, Adria Klein was our speaker and she also spoke about getting better.  She said the goal is to get better by ten percent each year.  If we did that year after year as educators our students would be better off.  Sometimes it seems like we need to be a million times better but the reality is we just need to get better each day and all that daily improvement adds up.

Our staff at the district technology day called THINKFest

As a teacher, that small improvement can be hard to see.  As a principal, seeing that progress can be even more difficult.  Sometimes our students seem to take a step backward.  There are days where what they just knew the day before they don't know today.  There are days when I leave school and I know I worked hard but did any of that work make a difference for our students.

Tree of Life in the Art Room, this month's art project

But that's the thing, our students are improving.  When I look at data I can see students growing.  Our school is improving and I can see the changes and progress we have made.  We now have before school intervention for some of our younger students who are still emerging as readers.  We now have music weekly for our TK and K students.  We have an Art Room up and running so our students have a place to do art.  We have a Choir for our 2nd and 3rd graders, Tech Club for our 4th and 5th grade students.  We have new art around campus.  When I walk through classrooms students are having more academic conversations more than ever before.  They are getting the chance to use speaking and listening to better understand content. 

"Almost Pitch Perfect" our 2nd and 3rd grade choir
Our 4th and 5th grade Tech Club using Spheros

Teachers this year have the opportunity to go into each other's class and learn from one another.  School culture is great, teachers greet students at the door every morning.  We are more connected as a staff as we are sharing our learning and what is happening in our classroom on Twitter. 

Sharing our learning and visits to other teacher's classrooms on Twitter

There are still areas I see the need for improvement as a school.  Personally I need to still improve on how I can support teachers as we integrate new math strategies, increase student reading of non-fiction texts, how we can get students to write more and continue to foster their love of reading.  There are plenty of areas I need to keep improving so I can help our teachers best help our students.

New Art Around Campus
I know in education it can sometimes it is hard to see the progress each day.  Sometimes when we take a step back we realize there is improvement and all of our hard work is paying off.  Our students are making progress.  And all that progress happens just one day at a time.

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