Coming back to a new school year after a long and difficult teachers’ strike, I was wary of launching the plans I’d formulated to try a new learner Support Team (LST) model in the school. I was worried that the teachers, having been through so much emotional turmoil for so many weeks, might be looking for familiarity and a comfort zone on their return. At the same time I worried about the danger of losing another year of opportunity to provide more timely and targeted interventions for our students. If we didn’t start the year under the new model, it would be darn near impossible to change later. I needed to take a leap of faith in the idea and in my teachers’ resilience.
With the help of the dream LST team at the school, we assessed our new and at-risk students from the spring. Using the data we created targeted, skill and strategy based groups of students from across classes and grades. We delayed building our prep and gym schedules until we got the LST schedule in place to protect the intervention time. And we talked with the classroom teachers to clarify the philosophy behind and anticipated outcomes of the new model.
The teachers have taken a leap of faith in me. Having been principal of the school for one year, I am so appreciative of their trust to undertake a pretty massive shift in our system at a difficult time. I know that there will be bugs to iron out, but I am very eager to see the progress our students have made at our first checkpoint in 8-9 weeks. We will reassess the students and change the groupings and focus as needed.
Change is never easy for everyone, but as the saying goes,