It's the end of summer; teachers return to work next Tuesday, July 30, and students will return on Monday, August 5. Where did my summer go?
This will be a challenging year for us. Our $33.2 million construction and renovation project changes the landscape of our school grounds. One whole section will be closed down as workers begin constructing a new administration and a ten-classroom two-story classroom building. This means changes in the recess schedule, recess fields, and a location for our two physical education teachers to conduct classes. It may take longer to get from one place to another due to barricades while construction takes place, and we will have to get used to the dust, noise, and traffic while ensuring that teaching and learning continues.
Additionally, the recently-ratified teachers' contract places new expectations on teachers as well as administrators. This is a "practice" year where all of us will be trying out the components of the Educators Effectiveness System to improve teaching and learning in our Hawaii public schools. We are learning together, and my responsibility is to ensure that our teachers receive the support they need to be successful and to grow professionally. Right now, I'm working on an agenda for the first few days; I'm doing my best to be creative and engaging while modeling the use of various technology or Web 2.0 tools which teachers and students can use to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and create. We have our theme for the year - "Making Connections; Building Relationships." Hopefully, we can put all the pieces together in a coherent way that makes sense and positively impacts teaching and learning at Hale Kula.
We have a large staff with several new hires, so in our welcome letter, we gave them an assignment based on a project our teachers shared after returning from the ISTE conference. (Thank you @Bryan Doyle for the idea!) Right now, our Media/Technology Coordinator is working with our custodial staff to help them upload their summer assignment. It has been so much fun to see everyone's unique summer story in 6 words and 1 picture, and we'll be sharing this slideshow at our Welcome Back Breakfast next Wednesday. I'm sure it'll be a great way to start off a new school year!