I have had the pleasure of spending the last two days with members of our Department of Education, state legislature, superintendents, and teachers discussing some money the state has allotted for teachers and the wages of the teachers of our fair state. I have learned so much during this process. It is so easy for one group to blame another for our woes, but when you put all in one room and give them the opportunity for dialog, so rich discussion comes forth. It was so gratifying to see that all in the room believed teachers deserved more money, but we have to be creative to find it. Change comes slow and I think patience will be necessary, but at least the conversations are in progress.
I am so honored to be included in this team. The group is genuinely interested in what the teachers on the team have to offer. I invited the legislators to visit my classroom at any point in the coming year. I think it is important that they see where they are looking to spend money. I do hope some of them take me up on my request. I would love to have them see our entire school.
I will not be able to attend the next meeting, but I would like to make a presentation for the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) that I learned about at the Milken conference. I think there is so much the program has to offer and that starting a pilot in our state could be a wonderful thing. Since I am unable to attend - but so strongly believe in technology - I am going to put together a presentation and have TIE (Technology in Innovation and Education) help me video tape it. I will have to spend the coming week working on my presentation.
I have two more state meetings this month. I am working on the Governor's Teacher Leadership Conference planning committee. This year's conference is being restructured to combine it with the New Teachers' Academy. I think it will be a wonderful experience for new teachers as well as teacher leaders. I am very much looking forward to it!
My final meeting of the month is a Teacher Advisory Committee to the Department of Education. This is a fairly new committee and the department felt that since they had advisory committees of both superintendents and principals, that it made sense to have teachers involved.
All of these committees are a direct result of my Milken award and I am so pleased to have the opportunity to serve the state in these ways. I love living in South Dakota and we have some truly amazing educators here. We overcome many obstacles and our students perform very well. I am proud to count myself among these teachers.
I still need to get boxes unpacked in my new house and I have so many lessons I want to work on for the coming year. Summer seems to go so fast! I am not sure how other teacher manage to handle it all. Some of them even find time for rest. I must be doing something wrong! :-)