Taking The Plunge

I’ve got a heck of a week coming up. I keep being told there’s only 5 days to go before spring break, but these next 5 days are going to be crazy. Our school finished administering the MSA–the Maryland School Assessment–for our 6th and 8th graders. This is the big high-stakes test by which every school is measured. With that out of the way, all focus is on the Algebra I HSA. Everyone also keeps telling me that the rest of the year is cake after spring break, but with HSA upcoming, I know that’s not going apply to me.

There are 25 instructional days remaining before the HSA, and the idea of covering absolutely all of the material in its intended depth is out the window. A couple weeks ago, I e-mailed a TFA alum, seeking his advice on what topics I should be prioritizing. Yesterday, I spent a couple hours with our special educator, who teaches some of our Algebra I students as well, to come up with a specific game plan. It’s not going to be pretty, but we should hopefully be able to touch on most of the remaining topics.

Coming up this week, we’ve got several major things. The big schedule change goes into effect sometime this week, although there are a couple things that remain unsettled–most importantly, exactly what day the change is happening. Also, the 9th grade is rolling out a major incentive plan to push the students to start giving 110% to prepare for the test by attending after-school and Saturday school sessions, as well as completing extra practice work over spring break. In addition, we want to administer a full-out mock HSA this week to put in the students mind exactly what they’re up against and exactly what it is going to look like, as well as to allow us to collect specific data to provided individualized preparation plans for each student.

Problem is, none of this is quite set in stone yet, and there are still significant differences in opinion on when and how exactly each of these things is going to happen. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a circus…

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