The first La Cañada Unified School Board meeting I attended as a newly hired administrator was slightly contentious because of controversy over four collaboration days negotiated in this year’s school calendar. I assure you that the concerns voiced in that meeting have been seriously taken into consideration as we have moved forward in planning and executing these days.
When teachers returned to school in August, they completed a template that outlined objectives, activities and projected outcomes for the first two collaboration days. Proposals were reviewed by a Collaboration Committee, which was created last spring and consists of teachers and administrators from each site. Submittals were either accepted or returned with requests for more information/clarification.
The expectation is that activities concentrate on improving instruction and addressing student achievement through designing or adjusting lesson plans, strategically analyzing data, developing and implementing common assessments, or delving into other curriculum related important tasks.
I am pleased to report that the first collaboration day on Sept. 13 was extremely productive and positive. Teachers met in self-selected groupings: grade levels, departments, cross-curricular teams, and/or in vertical teams (bridging grade levels). They engaged in meaningful, professional, focused dialogue and accomplished an amazing amount of work. Even though they were exhausted at the end of the day, they were genuinely energized by, and enthusiastic about, the progress made. They were also optimistic about future opportunities to continue their discussions with colleagues over the course of the three remaining days.
Classified support staff took advantage of a variety of optional training sessions provided that included workplace safety, special education, computer skill building and Developmental Assets (a program designed to build positive, intentional relationships with students to contribute to student achievement).
We look forward to another successful day on Oct. 19.
Asst. Supt. Patricia Hager
La Cañada Unified School District