Although it'll be nice to actually see another science teacher teach a class2, I'm primarily going to look at the stuff those schools do that create a successful school culture. Well, that and to look at anything assessment related of course.
I've never done this before and am making it up as I go. I've scheduled the schools so that I'm observing a class and then I get to talk with a teacher during his/her prep. I have about 2.5 hours at each school. I've written out a ton of questions to ask and things to look for but I'm looking for help from anyone out in cyberspace.
I have my assessment-related questions, mainly pertaining to common assessments and use of data. I have teacher collaboration questions. I have school structure questions (interventions, advisory, scheduling, class placement).
Two of the schools were on a Schools to Watch list maintained by the CDE. One of those schools I'm specifically going to for the way they've built collaborative time into their schedule.The other one I selected based on a big science CST score jump.
The reason I wanted to visit other schools in the first place is because my school still takes the every teacher for her/himself approach. We do our own things with little regard to what everyone else is doing. I understand the need to unite under a core vision and have everyone working towards that vision, I'm just unsure of how to do that on a school level.
Any questions I should definitely be sure to ask? Anything I should look for or ask about? Is there anything that your school does that's great and I should know about?
1:My principal was all for it, but now she's a little less so because I started mentioning it to people and we've got four of us going now. We're not a school that easily gets substitutes and four people out is probably about double our number of capable subs.
2: I was a university intern. I don't know if other states have these but I taught full-time while taking classes at night at the local university. That means I never student taught. By my second year I was the most senior 8th grade science teacher and I'm currently (my fifth year) the second most senior teacher in my grade level. I haven't had