The language of blended learning is new to the school. Previously, we discussed best practices around technology integration. When I came on as principal three years ago, students were not using technology as a tool to grow or direct their own learning. Two years ago, I initiated this inquiry into best practices: How do we run an effective workshop model? What should small-group instruction look like? What do stations look like?
Going into 2018-9, we are taking this one step further and beginning to discuss blended learning. We actually just had a professional development session where our team worked through the design tool on the Blended Learning Universe. I want my teachers to be deeply involved in the process of going blended so that they understand why we are doing it and what we are hiring the technology to do.
One problem that we’re trying to work out for the coming school year regards asynchronous learning. For the first time, we are offering credit by exam for the area of math. We have five students who have tested out of their current grade level and will be learning at the next grade level. Some of these children are in classes that switch; they’re departmentalized. This might throw off those students' schedules. As a principal, I am wondering: How do I empower a third grade teacher to work closely with a third grade student doing fourth grade math?
To the principal: do your due diligence prior to having any conversations with teachers. Go to trainings, visit schools, and make connections. For every new program, one person—likely the principal—should have a deep, specialist understanding of blended learning. Don’t be afraid; leaders should be open, flexible, and fluid with their thinking throughout the process of going blended.
Our school is characterized by a sense of team, of family, and by a belief that we can conquer anything. It is a rare that you find a place where one hundred percent of the staff is curious and willing to experiment in service of student learning. We are fortunate to take the approach of, “Let’s do it!”
The Galloway School is a PK-6 college preparatory academy that provides accelerated instruction for above-average and gifted students using innovative programs, state-of-the-art technology, and proven curriculum. The school additionally provides opportunities for students to engage in social-emotional learning and extracurricular enrichment through athletics, arts, service learning, and more. Galloway students are equipped with the confidence, knowledge, and tenacity to explore a world of possibilities.
The Galloway School
3200 Bay Area Blvd
Telephone: (281) 338-9510
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