Is it Possible to Fill A Brain?

My brain feels full: Okay, we all know that a brain can’t really be filled to capacity, but it can certainly be filled with new ideas.

TAP training has been at full speed all summer and I’ve been learning so much that my brain sometimes feels full. The first big session was the TAP Summer Institute that was held in Phoenix, Arizona. The second was an optional training series for Master Teachers. Finally a week’s smorgasbord with three different areas of focus. All in all, it’s been a busy time.

In Arizona, the program consisted of three days of workshops on various aspects of TAP, the Teacher Advancement Program. Some of us came away feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task ahead, and maybe a little confused as to what exactly we’ll be doing. We were so new to the process that we didn’t always have the pre-requisite knowledge that would allow us to understand and synthesize the new material. Still, there were many knowledgable presenters and valuable and informative sessions, so it was a good use of time and money.

During the month of July there were several optional meetings that were used for scripting practice. We viewed video taped lessons through the TAP Portal, scripted them, collected evidence, scored the lessons based on the rubric and discussed what we saw, shared ideas and then compared our work. An additional part is that we were also able to compare our individual and collective ideas with the TAP national rating to see how close we are to the norm in making the evaluations. This was an important process for me because in another month I’ll be evaluated on my Observation Scoring, and if I’m not accurate, then I won’t pass the certification process and will need to undergo more training and I definitely want to avoid that.

Early August found us back at it again for three times, once for 2 hours, once all day and finally for a three day training. The first meeting was with two consultants who were visiting Lucia Mar to review the TAP implementation so far, I guess a type of Program Quality Review.  It was an informal question and answer session with four Master Teachers and Andy in attendance- easy and low key. Next up the number two person in TAP, Jason Culbertson, met with the Master Teachers for a training focused specifically on what we will be doing. Jason did a lot to reduce my apprehension about the job ahead. Finally, all the leadership teams met, and over three days worked on our team responsibilities, started work on the school goals and focus for the coming year.

Next week it continues. I do have Monday free, but Tuesday and Wednesday the Master Teachers will be meeting again, this time to plan the sequence of lessons for the clusters where we’ll be teaching the rubric to the staff.

Finally, the Grover Heights Leadership team will be meeting on Thursday to finish up our work on the School Plan, practice cluster and plan the staff development day that will open up the school year.

Full Brain? Not hardly, but a lot of new learning to move forward with!

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