What a Difference a Year Makes

What a Difference A Year Makes

Do you remember the feeling of being a first-year teacher? I remember it all too well. Excitement about all the changes you are going to make in kids' lives, being terrified of messing up in front of your new principal, the determination to impress all of your new colleagues, and the pure exhaustion that only the first day of school can bring. I fell in love with teaching in those first few days followed by being in tears due to exhaustion and being overwhelmed only a week later – that first year was a roller coaster of emotions!

This year has brought about all of the first-year teacher feelings for me all over again. It’s still hard for me to believe I took the leap of faith to leave my classroom of 13 years to start managing our Open Up Resources user communities. This year has been filled with so many gratifying moments interacting with teachers who inspire me. It has also been filled with plenty of moments just like my first year teaching, wondering if I was doing enough, helping enough, or skilled enough to lead such amazing work.

A year later, I am proud to look back at what we built together as a community. In a year’s time, we have:

  • Grown from 300 members in a single community to a group of communities with over 10,000 members
  • Spent more than 500 hours together this year via Zoom PLC meetings, Twitter chats, book studies, resource sharing and more
  • Had our first ever in-person gathering at HIVE 2019
  • Hired classroom teachers to serve as leaders within our communities

As proud as I am of what we have done so far, I am more excited about what is yet to come! 2019–’20 is set to be a year of unprecedented professional learning within our communities and I hope you will join us.

Community Coaches are Here

When we selected the name “Guru” for the teacher leaders guiding our Community work, we didn't realize the cultural insensitivity the use of the word would demonstrate. We wanted to correct our mistake and select a more appropriate name. With help from the community, we have selected “Community Coaches” as the new name and are excited about a fresh start!

Due to the growth of our Open Up Resources 6–8 Math Community, we have also brought on a new Community Coach that will be a familiar face to many of you! Tashima Price will be joining us as a 7th Grade Community Coach. Tashima is a 7th Grade Math Teacher at Moore Square Middle School, Raleigh, NC. Tashima is committed to helping students overcome barriers that impact their learning by establishing strong relationships.  She was inspired by her high school math teacher to pursue teaching and implements a similar welcoming environment in her classroom. Tashima holds a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Central University in Middle Grades Education, Math and Science. Prior to entering the classroom, Tashima practiced as a registered nurse. She has served on the school improvement team, school intervention team, and currently is the math department chair at her school.

We’re Launching a New Community

As we begin the new school year with a new Open Up Resources High School Math curriculum authored by MVP, it is time to launch a community for users to share their experiences and resources! Please join, jump in the conversation and invite your colleagues!

Virtual PLCs are Getting Bigger & Better

Our Virtual PLC meetings were wildly popular last year, but we know they can be even better! Our Open Up Resources 6–8 Math PLCs will consistently be meeting on Thursday nights at 7:30 EST now and will be unpacking 1 unit per month. Each month will also feature a theme around an MLR or Instructional Routine to help further improve classroom instruction. You don’t want to miss these awesome opportunities to collaborate with peers nationwide!

EL Education K–5 Language Arts PLCs will be new for this year! Starting in September you will be able to meet monthly with grade level or district level peers around modules, differentiation, teaching strategies and more. 

More Book Studies are Coming

September will bring a book study for each of our communities. We are in the final process of selecting a book for each of our curricula in order to continue our learning. Stay tuned in the Facebook groups, Twitter, and the webpage for more information to sign up for these free professional learning opportunities.

Community Calendars 

With so much going on, we see the need for an easier way for you to keep up with all of the community happenings. We have started shared Google calendars for each of our curricula so that you can easily find events, Zoom links, and resources for what’s happening in the community. 

EL Education K–5 Language Arts Community Calendar

Open Up Resources 6–8 Math Community Calendar

Better Together

I wouldn’t have survived my first year teaching if it hadn’t been for the amazing support I had in my school. (There’s a chance I cried in the principal’s office during week 2 and said I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this job after all!) Luckily, between my amazing administrators and fellow teachers, I was surrounded by people who kept me going until I finally found my feet that first year.

Much the same way, I wouldn’t have survived this first year as a Community Manager without having an amazing support system within our communities. From our Community Coaches to the teachers who fill our communities with their knowledge, expertise, ideas, and positivity, each of you have made this year so incredibly successful and for that, I am truly thankful. 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Hellen Keller