Happy Friday Wheelock!
We've had another great week and for this week I'd like to speak to a couple of new formats we are piloting this year.
As you may know our teachers have Common Planning Time, or CPT, each week. This time for collaboration is contractual and must occur during the school day. The teacher school day is from 8:15-3:30. In the past, specialists provided coverage for CPT, so each term your student would have an extra art, music, library, phys. ed. or world language. There were 6 rotations each year, two subjects per term. These periods were not part of the content area's curricula but served as enrichment to the curricula. This year Wheelock is holding CPT at the end of the day rather than taking 45 minutes from instructional time from the student day. This change was based on teacher input. We have been able to recapture 35 minutes for instruction by the classroom teachers which they prefer. Now, one day per week, a grade level's students go to either the small gym (Pick ups or MAP students) or the cafeteria (Walkers or Bus students), with books and read for ten minutes before dismissal begins. Teachers go to CPT at 2:45 where they work together until 3:30. It is working out beautifully and teachers are very pleased to have this time at the end of the day. I am aware that some students have gone home with various stories describing this time but I want to assure that the students are gaining back valuable instructional time, in addition to students having more time to pleasure read. I would advise that students keep a book in his/her backpack for this purpose and switch it out when finished. Grade 2 has CPT on Mondays and Grade 3 has CPT on Tuesdays. So far, the feedback from the teachers has been very positive. We will decide later this year if we will continue with this format for next year. I hope this clarifies any confusion.
Next, I'd like to let you know if you didn't realize it, we are trying recess before lunch. Several research studies have shown the benefits of recess before lunch. Some benefits may include making better food choices, less visits to the nurse, etc. What are we seeing? Students are eating more and making better food choices. Teachers are spending less time settling students after lunch. Problems that occur on the playground seem to resolve more naturally or are resolved by lunch staff or the principal, thus resulting in the teachers having to take less time away from instruction to deal with such issues.
Are you wondering, what about hand washing? Students either use the hand sanitizer on their way into the cafeteria or may wash their hands at the sink in the cafeteria. Feedback is again positive and we will monitor this throughout the year, especially after the winter season, and make decisions for next year, later this year.
All in all everything is going very well. Our second graders are transitioning nicely and our third graders are great role models!
On a final note, yesterday I announced that after a 40 year career in education, I will be retiring from my position as principal of Wheelock School at the end of this school year. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you and your children through the years. I thank you for all of your support. In any case, it's going to be a great year! I have some ideas for grants and I look forward to ensuring that I leave with Wheelock ready for a new administrator and set up for continued success.
Have a great weekend and Happy Fall!