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> In a message dated 96-10-09 21:45:22 EDT, you write:
Marcia responded to a post:
> << Often the "exploratory" team has a group of students while the "real"
> teachers have common planning time >>
> The above comment in a post on the Middle School Concept is often, I am
> afraid, the reality of what occurs when the team concept is introduced. I was
> an early advocate of the Middle School concept, but have become increasingly
> skeptical as I work in the actual environment. What I have experienced has
> been an increasing division between the "academic" teams and the
> "exploratory", "non-core", "encore" or "special" areas. I have fewer
> opportunities to integrate now than I did in the pre team era. For a variety
> of scheduling reasons, I see students for less time per year now than I did
> then. I would love to hear of examples of schools where the art teacher is a
> full member of a grade level team. We non-core teachers have formed our own
> team out of desperation. Don't get me wrong -- there are some very big pluses
> to the MS concept -- the grade level teams have a nice block of time to work
> with and common planning time (while we have their classes). The
> Advisor-Advisee program in our school is probably the most positive aspect
> for both students and teachers.
> Marcia Thompson
I understand your frustration with the middle school concept as your
school is doing it now. We have restructured and it has been wonderful for me.
We took our 6 days of staff development and chose to use them for
"collaboration" time each week. Each Wednesday, we have about 1 1/2 hours
to get together in interest groups as a staff. One week might be department
meetings, another will be focus groups (I'm on the technology focus
group) and the another is the grade level meetings. This had worked
out to be incredibly beneficial for our staff.
I teach all the 7th grade art at my school; one-semester arts and crafts classes and
9 week exploratory art classes. What makes my situation unique is
that I am also a 7th grade social studies teacher, a member of a
three person core and the 7th grade level coordinator for all the 7th
grade teachers. The big advantage is that we all talk to each other
all the time and the integrations become very easy. The teacher
member of the 'cluster wheel' group of exploratory classes feel much more
included in the whole process and come to the 7th grade level
meetings. In fact, the 7th grade level meetings have the largest
attendance of teachers in our 7, 8, 9 middle school.
My point is; when people have a chance to talk and feel like they
have a say in how the (time, materials and money) pie is divided, great
things can happen! Good luck with your school and don't lose heart or
faith in the process. It maybe still need a little tinkering.
Emerson Junior High School