Thursday, September 1, 2011

Madrona staff gets ready for school

My kids have spent the whole summer doing what kids do, playing games, spending time with friends, staying up late, and sleeping in. My wife Shannon and I have been trying to break that routine in the days leading up to school - more Shannon than me, honestly! - but for third and sixth graders, the week before school is just the last week of summer break. Not for the staff of Madrona Elementary, though.

Principal Yarbrough addresses Madrona teachers
For all teachers in Highline and many support staff, school starts long before the first bell rings. That's why I'm kicking this off with my visit to Madrona Elementary in SeaTac, where I visited a hard-working day of professional development on Tuesday.

Teachers were collaborating on the use of "Power Standards"*. Principal Daniel Yarbrough shared four questions we should be able to answer for every lesson:
  • What do we want our students to know?
  • How will we know that they know it?
  • What will we do if they still don't know it?
  • What will we do differently if they knew it already?
It was a powerful opening to a day where teachers worked in teams to plan their work for the year.

*Every teacher is fluent in at least two languages: English and Educationese. What we call "Power Standards" roughly translates to "stuff kids need to know".

The best part of my visit was seeing some friendly, familiar faces. In the professional development session, I reconnected with Tigran Davtyan, a PE teacher. When Tigran was a new teacher, he was part-time at Beverly Park, where I was principal. Tigran was raised in Armenia and he's one of the few teachers who can personally relate to the challenges faced by our ELL students.

The other person I connected with was Bev Irvin, who is the office assistant at Madrona. Bev was a parent at Tyee when I was assistant principal in the late 90s. Her sons were active athletes and it's good to hear they are doing well. Jeffrey has been considering careers in public service, including teaching. And Ryan is getting his Ph.D. in chemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara. Whoa!

A great day at Madrona getting ready for school!

No comments:

Post a Comment