Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meeting at Liberty Science Center

Met with Mr. Ed Barry from the Liberty Science Center (LSC) to discuss involvement of the LSC with district science curriculum as well as professional development opportunities. A very productive meeting and I feel a great asset to leverage for the benefit of the district.

Since 1998, Liberty Science Center and the New Jersey Department of Education, has undertaken one of the most unique and extensive science education projects found anywhere in the nation. Through yearly funding from the New Jersey State government, Liberty Science Center provides students, teachers and families from New Jersey's 31 Abbott school districts with a menu of onsite, offsite and online programs that address the science education needs of these traditionally under-served communities.

Liberty Science Center also provides high-quality professional development for science teachers at all grade levels. Offered in the Jennifer A. Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching, our programs focus on both content and methodology, helping teachers find ways to inspire their students through meaningful science learning.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Curricular Activities December 10-15

Connors visit- A quick visit to Connors where I mainly meet on curriculum and observed students doing the John Hopkins program with Ms. Hillebrand. My idea of Honors may include interaction with online learning individualized learning but is not exclusive to that idea. We need to explore this in more depth soon. Key points I see are 1) should Hopkins be resident in one school? and 2) what is a viable curriculum/pedagogy for these students?

Much curriculum work done in terms of organization. trying to figure out a calendar and time line for things to occur. Also, receiving applications for teachers wanting to participate.

Meeting with 2 concerned parents about their child. The parents were very clear on their expectations for their child and their expectations of the school/district. Seems as if they want more computers/technology for their child as well as a more challenging curriculum in some areas. I think it is through parents voices such as these that we see what the community is expecting from the public schools. Meeting with parents and students in comfortable settings is very productive in getting a handle on wants, needs, and desires of the educational system. This is true all over the country as it is so in Hoboken. A goal for the district: How do we map out a trajectory that takes us from good to excellent?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tools of the Mind

Tools For the Mind- Meeting with members from Rutgers University at Brandt School on a PK-K curriculum entitled TOOLS FOR THE MIND. Based on Vygotsgy and the idea of sociocultural perspective on learning. This sounds exciting and I think very promising. The turnout was moderate/good (about 10 teachers) but I liked what I saw and Jessica Peters was impressed as well (she suggested the program). It will take a rethinking to some degree on the part of the professional staff but I think this perspective is very consistent with where I want to go with curriculum development efforts in the district in general. The emphasis on reflective thought is really critical. I was most impressed with the research on this program (one article from American Education Research Journal and another from Science; two top tier research journals) and slightly disappointed that this research was really underplayed during the presentation. In part I think this has to do with the uncomfortable relationship between academic research and what is considered to be "useful" information by practioners (teachers). Amy Hornbeck (Tools of the Mind)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NY Times Story on Abbott Funding

Most of the morning and early afternoon was spent with a reporter from the NY Times, Winnie Hu, on some of the unique aspects of the Hoboken School District and the larger issues of Abbott School funding. Student performance on state testing was also discussed.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Curricular Activities December 3-7

There seems to be a fair amount of testing that the students take (district generated) that is potentially a valuable resource provided this data is scored, analyzed and utilized in curriculum decision making. Essentially, it is a lost opportunity right now as this is not being done. Again, much of the conversation centered on what is NOT being taught in the grammar schools (specifically grades 7-8) which makes me even more convinced for the need of some type of vertical alignment of the curriculum with the content. I would like to meet with the entire department.

• Meeting with Paula Ohaus on the need for Arts/Music curriculum in the district. A very productive meeting that took place in the library.

• Curriculum committee posting went up this week. I'm hoping for a good turnout.

• Friday- Meeting at Connor's in which I observed the G and T program at work in some detail. Also, extended discussions with Kate Dominique on curriculum/IB/Professional development issues within the district. Overall, a very productive morning.

School Visits

Hoboken High School (3 times)
Connors (Friday)