February 9, 2012

Welcome to the Conversation

In a column I wrote for the Happenings in mid-January, I highlighted the great benefits of being at an independent school, particularly in relation to our flexibility.  As a small organization, we pride ourselves on how nimble we are to be able to react quickly and well to changing conditions.  This was in great evidence for me this week in many conversations I’ve been having regarding the teaching of math at our school.

Over the course of the year, the elementary school teachers and I have received all kinds of wonderful feedback from our parents regarding the math program Investigations that we invested in last summer, the teaching of math in our classrooms, and how well we challenge all of our math learners in every grade.  What has become clear is that we can make some improvements in how we deliver our math content to maximize the math experience of all our students.

Our fabulous math specialist Erika Norman, who used to be a lead classroom teacher at Friends’, the elementary teachers, and I have been putting our heads together and working on a proposal to bring some changes to our math programming next year.  We have some great ideas.

Because of our high value on community input at our school, we brought our ideas to the Parent Council meeting on Monday morning, and I made a presentation to our Community Board on Monday night.  Details of our proposal can be found in Parent Council Chair, Elizabeth Henna’s notes in this week’s Happenings.  Since Monday, I have been delightfully engaged in important conversations with parents in the hallways, on the phone and in my office, and on email.

I do not have the space in Among Friends’ to go into all the details of the proposed changes. I’m glad you can find those elsewhere.  What’s important is that the dialogue is alive.  When we think about making changes to our school, it’s imperative that we share with, and listen to, all our constituents.  It’s essential that teachers, parents, kids, and trustees all get in on the conversation. 

As a school, we plan on continuing thinking and talking for a while about math for next year. Once you’ve had an opportunity to read Elizabeth’s report, feel free to drop me a line.  The teachers are meeting again on this at the end of the month and we will provide more opportunity for parent feedback.

Thanks for being part of the conversation.

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