Sunday, October 14, 2007

Curricula Related Activities/Narrative (October 8-12)

School Visits
• Brief visits (<1 hour) at Hoboken High School, Wallace and Conner’s school. Mostly pass through visits but getting a sense of what is needed for beginning the more formal process of classroom observations. Feel as if I’m at a good point to begin in earnest with some ideas.


• On Tuesday October 9 I spoke at Harvard’s College of Education. I was the guest of Dr. Barry Fishman and spoke about technology and math and science education. Also made special note of my activities with the Hoboken School District and there was great interest by the faculty and students. Perhaps a follow-up visit later in the semester.

• On Saturday night (October 6) I went to Rutgers to visit with Dr. Rick Duschl. Rick is a Rutgers faculty member in science education and has recently finished a report by the National Research Council entitled “Taking Science to School”. This looks at k-8 science education curriculum. Rick expressed interest in coming to Hoboken for a visit and possibly talking to our faculty/staff. This may be very important as curriculum issues begin in full stride after QSAC. Rick also talked about the Liberty Science Center and how the district might partner with them. He was interested in how their professional development is working.

• On the same night I also met up with Dr. Drew Gitomer. Drew is with ETS and I have known Drew for over a decade. He is very interested in the involvement with Hoboken School District as well and I believe he may be a great resource for us. He is a learning scientist researcher, colleague of Rick Duschl and Jim Pellegrino and served on the Board of Education in his home town for 2 full terms. He has a very interesting perspective about reform and student high stake testing..

• Meeting with Susan Imlolz (MIT/National Geographic) concerning technology in the district. "S. Imholz"


This week was spent on QSAC in a meaningful way. I think we’re making some excellent progress on that front. It was also spent setting up some possibilities for the near future.. Feeling like I’m making some conceptual progress with curriculum efforts. This includes issues of representation/charts; frameworks, and how to make the process consistent with QSAC criteria which we will no doubt need to do follow-ups with for a couple of 6 month cycles. Also made some progress on getting official certification with the State of New Jersey.

Some frustration is setting which I can’t put an exact finger on but I think it’s related to a general inefficiency in many aspects of the operations side of the district. Part of it is working within a system that I personally still don’t know well yet so in fact, I may be the one working inefficiently.

We are now building up some potential experts in and around the district that can be of use to us for advice, consultation both formal and informal. We need to figure out some sort of mechanism to do this if we choose to utilize them. There’s Jay Pfaffman with technology/open source at the University of Tennessee; Rick Duschl with museum learning and science K-8 at Rutgers; Ricki Goldman with video technology at NYU; Drew Gitomer with high stakes testing/ETS and Barry Fishman at Harvard with his connection with the Union City reform effort and systemic reform.