The Achievement Gap and Middle School Math

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 24 2011

Last Friday: craziest day ever

So, yesterday (Friday) was the day when all of the classroom switching was going to happen.

We weren’t allowed to tell the kids what was happening (a bunch of teachers were switching rooms and the kids were getting new teachers) until the end of the day when the school would send a home a letter to parents and a copy of the kids’ new schedules.

All of the teachers who were moving rooms got subs for the day, so that we could start moving our rooms (remembering of course that we couldn’t talk to the students about what was going on). My students and my sub had class outside in an unused trailer classroom for the day. Of course no actual learning took place, since there was a sub and all the chaos of moving outside (with no explanation of why).

The classroom I was moving into had students in it all day, so I couldn’t actually get moved in. I spent most of the day hiding in an office preparing for next week.

All day, we had been told that updated student schedules and parent letters would be distributed during our 1/2 hour homeroom time during 6th period so that this information could be included with the handouts and flyers that students always get during this period on Fridays to take home to their parents. However, all of this stuff apparently wasn’t ready by then, for some reason. So we started distributing the new schedules during 7th period.

However, when the schedules printed, they were categorized by homeroom. During 7th period, students are not in their homeroom (they are in their 7th period class) and people in the same homeroom don’t all have the same 7th period class although many do. It would have been possible to distribute the schedules to 7th period teachers and then do a few switches for the random students with different 7th period classes. This is tricky, since once students schedules have been updated with new teachers, it is impossible to determine their current teachers, so it is hard to actually figure out where they are during 7th period in order to give out the new schedules.

This would have been tricky, but still doable. However, the schedules didn’t even print based on the students’ current homeroom clusters, rather the schedules printed based on students’  NEW homerooms starting next week. So, for example, for the students in the class that was getting split up, 1-2 of these students are now in each homeroom in 7th grade. Their schedules were given to their NEW teachers in a stack with all the rest of their students. Thus, the students who were switching to entirely new classes would be the ones who didn’t get an updated schedule. I eventually just printed a list of these students and asked the secretary to print off each of their schedules individually and I ran around as buses were being called at the end of the day to get these schedules in kids’ hands.

There are several kids who still don’t have updated schedules. Monday morning will be crazy. This is further complicated by the fact that students have lockers inside their homeroom, so all of the students in a new homeroom will have to go to their old homeroom to go to their lockers until the school can figure out when and how to actually do locker switches.

One Response

  1. zacksg1

    It will be interesting to see the implications on this:

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Closing the achievement gap with middle school math

Metro Atlanta
Middle School

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