Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Execution Plan

James Garst
Assistant Principal
Andrew Lewis Middle School, Salem, VA
TTEC 2015 Cohort

I attended the wonderful kickoff session at Mountain Lake on Friday, May 1 and 2nd.  While the weather was cool and rainy on Friday, the clouds eventually parted and we were able enjoy some blue skies and wonderful views. 

A few comments on the weekend…
  • Wonderful accommodations and location
  • I felt an immediate comradery with the other educators participating in the TTEC
  • Friday evening session was a wonderful way to build lasting friendships in the program

Upon returning to school, I met with my assembled team of teachers to debrief on the information I had obtained while at Mountain Lake.  The teacher team is made up of 2 PE teachers, 2 world geography teachers, 2 civics teachers, 3 English/Language Arts teachers, 1 CTE teacher, and 1 administrator.  I asked several of the teachers to participate because of their great rapport with kids and love of outdoors.  Others simply volunteered to participate.  My goal is to provide an opportunity for teachers to participate at both the classroom and school wide level.  I reviewed the information presented at the Mountain Lake conference and asked teachers to design their “dream” lesson plan involving the Appalachian Trail (or simply being outside).  Many teachers already had a fantastic idea in mind, while others toyed with several ideas for their respective classes. 

The wonderful professional dialogue that followed was completely unexpected.  I could feel the excitement and rekindled passion that the teachers had for doing creative lessons to meet the needs of learners.  Certainly all teachers worry about standards/SOL’s, but it was refreshing to hear the “what if” side if teachers can incorporate TTEC into their current classroom setting.  As the discussion concluded, we set a goal of everyone trying to implement at least 1 lesson outdoors next year (15-16 AY) with no restrictions of where it is.  We have a local greenway within walking distance, and we are a few miles from the actual AT.  We are starting to work the ‘kinks’ out during summer school PE.  We are taking the class hiking several days and will report out in our next meeting scheduled for next fall.    

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North Carolina NCCAT participants

North Carolina NCCAT participants
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Mary Jane
On top of Silers Bald