Sunday, February 9, 2014

tk/k collaboration - a time for sharing!

As part of my California Teachers Association, Teacher Leader Project, I facilitated our first TK/K Collaboration - A time for sharing! on January 29th. We had a terrific turnout of transitional kindergarten and traditional kindergarten teachers from 13 of our 16 elementary schools. After introductions, the brainstorming began.

I asked these expert early childhood educators to break into small groups, preferably with teachers not at their own school site, and discuss:
  • Concerns and challenges they are facing
  • Possible solutions to those challenges
  • How those solutions would benefit our youngest learners
Lively discussion ensued and after 20 minutes we came back together to share our thinking.  A number of topics concerning these experts kept recurring:
  • Class size (many classes are 32:1)
  • Combination classes (TK/K and K/1)
  • District Assessments (current and upcoming CCSS assessments with pre- and post-tests)
  • Lack of developmentally appropriate curricula
  • Lack of understanding among administrators to issues unique to kindergarten
  • Lack of understanding among administrators regarding the importance of play 
We began brainstorming possible solutions and their benefits, but soon found our time for discussion running out. In what seemed like just minutes we found that an hour and a half had already passed,  and we had only begun to scratch the surface.

As I brought the session to a close, I asked my colleagues what our next step should be. There was overwhelming interest in continuing our meetings. We decided that we would like to continue as a district-wide Kindergarten PLC and meet once a month on a district planning day.  Our local union president agreed to email the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction regarding this proposal. We are awaiting his decision.

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