Slice of Life Day 2– fear

I thought all day about my second slice of life blog challenge. I decided to take advice from the staff focus letter today and focus on fear.
Fear- Two weeks from tomorrow the students of RCS will begin the mandated Massachusetts state testing. This year our school focused on implementing strategies from readers workshop rather than the the more traditional teach to the test approach. Many of us have unfortunately done this type of ineffective direct instructing for years with the fear that our students won’t perform if we don’t teach to the test. As a principal my fear is our scores will drop if we don’t teach to the test and we could be subject to a lower state ranking. The teachers fear not teaching to the test will mean drops in student scores and different evaluation lengths and a more watchful eye on their instruction will await them. The parents fear their child will suffer and not make successful academic gains that will help their careers later in life. And the students fear the unknown and may rely on reverting back to how we ineffectively taught them the test in previous years. I pondered this exact scenario this weekend and then this morning it came to me my fear is not a drop in test scores my fear is that when faced with the real impact of change we will run for the hills rather than continue to focus our instruction on the strategies of close reading and deeper thinking. Now is not the time to run! Now is the time to show we have been successful as a school of learners. Now is the chance to finally fight fear! We have worked really hard on “close reading” this year the students have thought much more deeply than in years past. It will be amazing that when students revert back next year to what they know they draw on the close reading strategies we taught them this year. I believe that the students will brave the challenge and utilized the strategies. I believe that we no longer have to fear the dreaded MCAS. We have instructed each student effectively and met their needs to think deeper. I believe we have provided our students the tools to be successful.

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2 thoughts on “Slice of Life Day 2– fear

  1. A leader stands for what is right. Best Practice is right and you are a person who believes in building community, trust and real reading and real writing. You staff will work hard with students because of your stand. I know you will be excited when the results of all the hard work come in.

  2. There is a lot of research out there to support what you are having your teachers do. If we are allowing our kids to have LOTS of time to read daily, books that they choose to read, and do LOTS of talking about books, and WRITING, like real readers and writers, then our kids will do fine on those dreaded tests. Kudos to you for being a strong leader.

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