Building a School from the Ground Up

There are times that I look around the school building and consider why we do as we do. This could be simple things: why do we start lunch at gasp 10:15 even though we serve less than 600 students (this changed soon after I go a hold of the master schedule –no more brunch at my school!). Or why is the schedule so choppy and some grade levels might not have large blocks of time to teach that they require to be most effective. Then there are the bigger things like the entire vision for the school: where we are headed and how we are going to get there. Sometimes I wonder if we do things simply because it’s how we’ve always done them. Don’t get me wrong; if something is working and has a purpose, by all means, it should continue. If it isn’t, though, what could we accomplish by either tweaking it or revamping the entire thing. I think that sometimes the tendency is to get so bogged down in the day-to-day (which is certainly easy to do in this business) that we can lose sight of the bigger picture and the steps we’re taking to get there. If we consider building a school from scratch, sometimes that answers the question for us. Would we have created the schedule this way if we did it from scratch, or are we doing because it’s easier and it’s always been done this way? Are we teaching this way because it’s best for students or because we’ve always done it this way? Are we teaching this curriculum because it’s what our students need to know in the year 2014 or is it what we’ve been teaching since 1950?

These lead to much more difficult questions. Earlier this year England announced that they will have mandatory computer programming in every grade. Does this mean that schools in the United States are missing the boat by not offering this to the masses? What about 1:1? Today so few districts have gone to this even though we know technology is the native language of our students. How do we find ways to keep the curriculum current with our ever-changing world? These are all questions we as educators must ask in the years to come. We must work together to determine the answers. The answers will be demonstrated in both the curriculum and the way we deliver it.

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