In a couple of days the students will be back. There will be laughter and tears. There will be over the top excitement from students, from the parents and even school staff. New backpacks and supplies will come out. Students will proudly sport their new school clothes. Friends will play together once again on the playground and colleagues will reunite. The enthusiasm will be palpable.

Underneath it all and unnoticed by most is a new start for teachers. At the end of each year there is closure to a cycle, a natural end point. We finish with one set of students and have time to reflect on what we’ve done, what was successful and where we need to make changes before starting the process over once again. The beginning of the school year brings a fresh start and chance to redo, in a fashion, what was done before.

This year we’re embarking on a new path. TAP! The yearly cycle of closure and reflection will be changed to one that’s much more frequent- weekly on specific goals, and several weeks for larger goals.  For sure we’ll continue to look at the big picture. That’s our overarching task.

But oh, it’s exciting to have strong institutional support for what we as teachers have tried to do on our own for years. This support offers a better structure for improving what we do in the classroom on an regular basis.

There will be anxiety. There will be uncertainty about expectations and fear about the unknown. That’s natural. As one of the lead teachers in the new program, I’m feeling my share of those things as well, but I also see possibilities.   Collaboration and teamwork. Personal  growth as a professional. Increased student learning. I am excited.

Opportunity is knocking. We’re ready to take the next steps.

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