Through the course of the year our department will be responsible for using our early release times to improve our practice so as a school we can meet the school improvement goals. Our area of focus for the English department will obviously be the goals which focus upon reading. There is a huge variety of things we as a department can do, and below I have begun a list of possibilities. Please add to the list as ideas occur to you.

Round tables

A series of round table discussions could utilize our camaraderie and knowledge within the department as well as give us a chance to hold one another accountable and inspire one another to better practice. I for one would love to pre-arrange periodic round tables (lasting, say, an hour) that cover particular topics.
  • Getting students to read instead of faking it
  • Improving feedback (particularly with writing)
  • Improving our effect with particular standards (like the cultural influence standard)
  • Strongest aspect - a conversation about each of our best traits as teachers and how that positively affects our teaching
  • Sub-group success: What can we do to help our subgroups improve?
  • Overlapping curriculum: of activities, speeches, movies, etc.
    • Justin Gibson - Perhaps we could also "map" out which cultures and time periods we are discussing in various grades and see where we are overlapping and where we may have gaps.
  • The cultural piece: a discussion & investigative time about how to meet this standard better
  • "We're all doing it, but they're not learning it": The lit terms: What should we do?


Time to put heads together and share resources is helpful to us and a legitimate use of improvement time. We could do this in a number of ways.
  • A session of contributing to "English Central"--a department wiki where ideas and resources can be dispersed and shared
  • Time to talk specifically about what units or projects one is interested in doing or passing along (in a sense, a time to express needs and then see if anyone can help those)
  • Round table and collaboration and learning: "Wikipedia? The 'new age' in research and how to teach it better"


  • Perhaps we could each bring copies of one of the most influencial/helpful chapters or articles about teaching/education that we have found helpful, and we could use the time or two to read and discuss them.
  • Looking at the data: time (& technical help) for teachers to look at how past students fared on the DSTEP

Guest Speaker

  • Let's let Connie come back and do whatever she wants for an afternoon. I miss her.