Thursday, August 2, 2012

RMS 2012-2013 Building Goals

RMS Building & District Goals for 2012-13

Curriculum: Ensure that the educational process, content, skills & dispositions are effectively accessible to ALL students.

Technology: Integrate technology into the fabric of the curriculum.

School Climate: Improve school climate as defined by both collegial relationships and student well being.
Professional Practice: Improve individual professional practice.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Reading #2 - The Literacy Principal

Summer Reading List #2
The Literacy PrincipalDavid Booth and Jennifer Rowsell

“There are ways of creating school communities where literacy is the bedrock of the curriculum - where children recognize it as necessary and integral to their participation in authentic language activities and events that require thoughtful and mindful reading and writing (p.10).”

“If you want teachers to become empowered then you have to trust them to make decisions wisely, to spend money wisely, to communicate with parents wisely. The fascinating thing is that when teachers take control they become more committed, they work harder, they become more knowledgeable (p.10).”

Two simple thoughts right from the first few pages of "The Literacy Principal". Our school literacy specialist (@kskinnershulman) left me a copy of this book at the end of the school year and suggested I might enjoy reading it. I expected and enjoyed the review of teaching and assessing literacy. Additionally, I found that the ideas transferred to much of what we are trying to do in terms of integrating technology in a meaningful way throughout our curriculum.

The Richmond Middle School mission includes the phrase, "Our broad goal during these three years is to ensure that our students are provided with the skills to become successful and thoughtful adults in a highly competitive and complex world."

Certainly, this mission would include guiding students as they develop the skills necessary to be literate participants in their world. We do this through direct instruction in English classes and by teaching reading and writing across the curriculum. Increasingly, students are experiencing their literacy development through the social media that they are immersed in throughout their day. Our teachers are utilizing blogs, social networks, and other online resources to target skills and engage students in both developing a greater understanding of how to be a responsible consumer and producer of information in this ever-evolving world. 

A couple other quotes from the book resonated with me as I thought about our efforts to address the ever-evolving technological literacy skills. 

“Principals, as well as teachers, can be models, in fact they ‘must’ be models. How can we ask students to lead literate lives if we don’t? Of course, I don’t take care of my own literacy because I’m trying to inspire anyone, I do it because reading and writing are two of life’s pleasures. I work hard; I deserve them (Booth, p. 122).”

One of my goals in creating and developing this blog and the expansion of my PLN on Twitter is to model a literate life as described by Booth. I hope to find opportunities to share opportunities and invite other members of our district to join me in this effort. Like Booth wrote, we deserve this.

“Welcoming, valuing and respecting the expertise and views of other educators - whether they are fellow teachers or administrators - maximizes the use of in-school knowledge and capacity (p.22).”

“Shared leadership is not about assigning power to a role; rather, people assume a leadership role through their actions and because of their background experience (p.30).”

Finally, utilizing additional means of publishing work and sharing ideas (especially through technology) seems like an important way to establish and encourage leadership and collegial relationships in our building and profession. With a functioning, respectful and collegial working environment being the foundation for much of school improvement work finding avenues for supporting and developing this spirit is crucial. I'm looking forward to seeing what develops!