NEW GROUP! Includes discussions from the Administrators and Professional Development groups. What will it take to move our schools into the 21st century? Please share your thoughts and leadership strategies here.

Community of teachers

brian cleary Library/media specialist in Camas Washington

We are looking to develop a sense of community among our growing and busy district. I thought we would start by asking you all....
So, any great ideas?

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Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia

Community of teachers

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Hi Brian - This is such a great idea. Are most of your teachers on Twitter and/or Facebook? On Twitter, you could be a part of a much larger conversation about education by visiting some of the education related hashtags. Here's a post to help you get started on Twitter. (You could invite your colleagues to do the same!) http://www.edutopia.org/blog/twitter-expanding-pln

As for Facebook, you could create a private group that would be visible only to folks within your district, if you were looking for something less public.

Other ideas - you could use a wiki to share resources -- we've used pbworks.com before and it's great. This is a way to keep an evergreen repository of resources -- whereas the other two are more for ephemeral conversations.

Of course we'd love to have you participate here in the edutopia as well!

6th grade social studies & science teacher from Colorado

At a recent middle school

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At a recent middle school science department meeting in my district, there was concern about the time (and funding) to get together to develop ourselves as a community and implement change within our two middle schools. Your problem, is an issue I am trying to tackle as well.

After a conference this weekend in which I learned about how wikis could benefit our students, I started thinking of developing wikis for our teachers to communicate and work together when they had the time, rather than when they had the time to meet. The hardest part would be getting teachers to use it and modeling how it could be used. However, sometimes having a few brave souls to step up and show it helps. I think Betty Ray is right that this might be a great means to build community.

Beyond that, are there professional organizations within your district that might build those relationships? For example, our local chapter of the International Reading Association connects elementary, middle, and high school teachers. One thing our district did was offer attendance as a professional development credit opportunity - since we have speakers coming in at all times. The officers also strove to have a diversity of speakers to meet needs of various levels.

As a science teacher, this means I have had opportunity to talk to one of the high school science teachers about curriculum so he knows what students coming to him have been taught, and I know what his goals are. I also have a better relationship with elementary teachers through this organization and it means I know who they are when I see them at trainings and conferences, rather than being the weird, lonely, secondary content teacher who attends a lot of literacy conferences.

Administrator online campus operations software

Kids love our branded Student ID cards

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We are the largest issuer of smart cards for student identification (our card does many things: http://www.scholarchip.com/OurStory.aspx) but we brand the car graphics to the school colors or look and feel of the district. Students seem to like it and are sort of proud of the custom card and images unique to their school/community.

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