Alignment: This word begins my reflection as it is the word that has guided my work in both math and science. This is true in standards mapping activities in math I’ve facilitated with several grade level groups, connected to my CSTP #1 and #6. Each session was highly successful in helping teachers align their mindsets and their understand of the Common Core Math Standards. Teachers commented that they weren’t aware that their grade level’s standards had changed in content that’s covered, content that’s no longer required in their grade level, and the specific language of some of the standards. Having a foundational understanding of the Common Core Math Standards is paramount as new math curriculum is anticipated to be introduced next school year. This is true for the teachers in the Math Adoption Pilot Committee as well as every classroom teacher. In addition to the specific grade level CCSS Math standards, I have facilitated study sessions for teachers to examine, implement, and apply the 8 Math Practices in their own practice and in their students. With each demo lesson, co-planning, co-teaching, and debrief session, the teachers and I always have an eye on which of the 8 Math Practices are being used and fosters in each activity.
In science, alignment is also a key aspect of my work this year so far. Along with Leslie Faust, our STEAM Inquiry Group has been studying each of the 8 Science and Engineering Practices (SEP). As we’ve learned more about the direction of science education in California during the school year, particularly the timeline of when curriculum will be available that’s specific to California’s Next Generation Science Standards, Leslie and I have directed the group’s focus on the three dimensions of NGSS. In our meetings, we explore each of the 8 SEPs, look at science phenomenon through the lens of the 7 Crosscutting Concepts (CCC), and explore the changes in each grade level’s Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI). This was definitely evident in the design and implementation of the February professional learning day on NGSS 102. Continued work on this is definitely important and essential to transition to new NGSS-aligned science curriculum.
Flexibility: This is a must in both math and science this year. As the year begin, the plan was to explore the new Next Gen FOSS modules anticipating a possible easy transition from CA FOSS modules to the Next Gen modules. After attending the NGSS Rollout Phase III sessions that fits with my goals for CSTP #6, Leslie and I gained a better picture of the specifics with California’s NGSS adoption, science frameworks publication, and an anticipated timeline for new science curriculum that’s aligned with CA’s NGSS. Due to these changes, a process was needed to clarify PAUSD’s science instruction of elementary education. Partnering with Barbara Harris, Leslie Faust, the TOSA team, and the STEAM Inquiry Group members, a carefully and purposefully crafted message was shared with the elementary classroom teachers. My CSTP #3 goal at the beginning of the year indicated a project of creating content maps for the Next Gen FOSS modules. As a result of the changes in California’s timeline, this project is not as critical now. Another flexible element to this is the addition of Discovery Education and Mystery Science in our exploration of science curricula. Managing the feedback from these explorations have called for careful purpose, attention and flexibility.
In Math, flexibility has been a must with the math pilot process. Barbara, Mangla, Amanda, Nikole, Amy, and I needed to be flexible throughout the year. This started with adjusting the curricula choices from last year’s exploration year for this year’s pilot, sharing and explaining the process of the explanation year into this pilot year to the school board, and patiently working through the demands for third-party validation of a curriculum teachers wanted to pilot. I foresee the continued need to be flexible with both Math and Science as the school year continues. Continuing to connect with other coaches and professionals, engaging in continued professional learning that’s aligned with my CSTP #6 goal, and keeping an eye on student data that’s aligned with my CSTP #1 and #3 goals will help me and the entire TOSA team with the direction of both math and science.
Purpose: As a result of not mentioning anything about my work with summer school at the beginning of the year’s goals, I want to focus solely on that for this word of purpose. For the past few years, summer school for elementary students have taken on a STEAM theme. This definitely matches my passion and I was excited to be charged with organizing the summer school program. After reviewing the documents and objectives of the past years of summer school, I wanted to be purposeful in the changes and revisions I envisioned. I wanted to bring the A in STEAM to summer school. I wanted to build in dedicated music instruction by PAUSD music teachers and art instruction from Spectra Art teachers. Since the role of summer school coaches wasn’t completely utilized and maximized last summer I decided to use the funds that went to the coaching role to bring music and art teachers to the summer school program. For the past years, music and art instruction during summer school fell on the classroom teacher and there wasn’t any consistency with that structure or expectation as well. Purposefully building in art and music instruction into the summer school structure will help bring more of the A in STEAM to the STEAM-themed elementary summer school program.
Manageable: Throughout the year I have really worked on ensuring that every project I take on is manageable for my workload, schedule, and the products. In addition to the joy in managing my schedule and the support for classroom teachers, I have enjoyed working on projects and initiatives that include the Math Pilot Committee, the STEAM Inquiry Group that now has expanded to include parent and community members, professional learning sessions for science, CCSS Math standards mapping, summer school, partnering with Leslie on the City of Palo Alto Utilities Grant, the SouthBay FOSS Collaborative, the AAR Creativity Project, and the PiE & AAR Grant application to secure additional funding for the creativity carts. Reading the list I just typed up makes me realize how much I have grown since my first year as a coach last year. I have been increasingly able to manage my time, focus, and schedule on the projects I have. I have maintained a balance of my energy and focus in supporting teachers and students at the school sites and the district-level projects I manage and co-mange. I have been able to support teachers in using student data to inform instruction and engage in ReEngagement lessons - aligned to my CSTP #1 goal. I have engaged in professional learning for myself through webinars, speaker sessions at Stanford, local edcamps, STEM and STEAM symposiums, and more - aligned to my CSTP #6 goal. Within the structure of the Math Pilot Committee, I have worked with teachers to understand, analyze, and organize math concepts and content for effective math pilot - aligned with my CSTP #3 goal, although I didn’t write it for goal #3 at the beginning of the year.
I wrote a recent reflective blog post about my attitude towards my work and the effort, attention, and passion I have for the projects. This may or may not add to my mid-year reflection, but I want to share it nonetheless. http://jyoung1219.weebly.com/blog/progress-not-perfection
Meaningful: This word encompasses all of my work. Is it meaningful? Is it meaningful for teachers? Is it meaningful to students? In all I do - the math pilot, standards mapping, STEAM Inquiry Group, SouthBay FOSS Collaborative, summer school, AAR Creativity Project, and supporting teachers - I always ask if it’s meaningful. Is what I’m about to do something that will positively impact students and teachers? Is what I’m about to do something I want to keep doing? If the answer to any of those questions is no, I engage in reflection and evaluation of my work. I want everything I do, or at least as much as I do to be meaningful.