The 2011-2012 school year is about to begin; administrators and principals are back at work as teachers start trickling in to decorate and set-up their classrooms. With budget cuts and new technologies being created and used, what are we to see this coming year? Will you be making changes in your school/districts?
Here are just a few of the changes we will need to start preparing for:
- Fewer Teachers – Bigger Class Sizes: With budget cuts both at the state and federal level, many of us will experience a reduction of staff. Are we really ready for bigger class sizes? Can our schools accommodate more students in a classroom?
- Resources: Not only are Texas schools receiving online supplemental science materials and techbooks, but many students are turning to online resources to assist with homework, general knowledge/understanding and writing papers. Students are also interested in doing more digital note sharing and presentations. Are we equipping our classrooms for this? Have our teachers been trained? Are we making sure our students know what resources are good resources on the Internet? One priority is to ensure that our students are able to search the Internet and come up with reliable resources.
- Professional Development: The budget cuts have also impacted our ability to continue to train our teachers as we have done in the past. Budgets are making it harder on schools/districts to stay current on best practices. Many schools/districts are turning towards either webinars or conferences for continued education. Conferences (such as the 2011 Texas ASCD Annual Conference in Austin) make it easier for administrators/teachers to get new information (best practices) on many different topics at one time. Instead of hiring several presenters to come to your district or school, many people are opting to receive their learning at one central place in just a few days. This is also a great opportunity to hear nationally known presenters for a small fee.
- Curriculum: Curriculum resources are changing in schools. Schools are now able to choose which supplemental materials they will be using for the school year. 10 different schools in one district could all choose different supplemental materials to use for learning. What are the implications for districts? How are they to manage all of this? How are districts maintaining alignment throughout the district?
- Assessment: Then there is a new assessment system in grades 3-12. The STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test is a big item districts are trying to comprehend and prepare for as this new school year begins. From awareness to implementation - this is a challenging pathway.
As we approach another wonderful school year filled with learning, we are each left with anticipation of how everything will fall into place. We would like to hear from you:
- What changes do you see schools/districts having to make for the new school year?
- How will you be implementing these changes?