New year, new worries

BRRSD's BOE has decided to implement both a new Language Arts curriculum and Math curriculum in the same year.

While I applaud their efforts to raise academic standards (although some people, including two teachers, have said they think the math is getting watered down instead of raised) I am deeply concerned that the teachers are starting a new year with major changes and insufficient advance training.

Some teachers attended programs this summer, but if I understand correctly NOT ALL teachers have been trained in the new curricula. They will be trained DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR. This means they will be pulled out during the school day in addition to the few in service days. Some were trained for a few days this summer. How much time should a teacher - even a seasoned one - be trained in a new curriculum? A week? A month? 10 hours? The truth is I don't have a clue to this answer!

I met my son's teacher today and had a good first impression. I have heard her described as organized and structured and nice. She is supposed to be very strong in teaching language arts, N's weakness. She agreed to meet with me during the second week of school, just to go over my concerns. I hope I didn't scare her (think: psycho over-protective Mom asking for a meeting even before school has started!). It's just I want N to start off the year on the right foot.

I wanted to ask her about what prep work she had received regarding the new curricula. I want to know what SHE thinks. Is she ready to teach the new methods or is she going to have to wing it during the first few months? You just can't ask that at a meet and greet. Even I'm not that forward!

Every year brings new challenges both for teachers and students. I just hope that it isn't a year where the teachers are out of the classroom for significant amounts of time being trained in things that they needed to be trained in months BEFORE the new programs are implemented.

In their haste to get their new programs passed, I'm afraid the BOE hasn't done right by the teachers or their students. It's a lot to ask teachers to be ready for both at once without significant advance training. I hope it's not too much to ask of the students! I hope I am wrong, and that N's teacher won't be out of the class more than she is in it. Time will show. I was excited that the BOE made these changes. Now that they are here, and I see little proof that the teachers are ready, I must admit, I'm pretty nervous!

Luckily it's beautiful outside, and I can shove my worries to the back burner for a few more days while I lie in the sun and listen to the kids playing in the pool!


Update - back from the pool where I spent most of my time discussing the upcoming school year. So much for shoving issues to the back burner. Full speed ahead!


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