I have said goodbye to the students and staff of my school for the year. The book has pretty much closed on my sixth year working for and leading reform at the building level here in Saint Louis at my original placement school. In just 10 days, I will journey to Chicago to serve as a school director for incoming 2011 CMs from the Saint Louis, Jacksonville, Chicago, Milwaukee and Twin Cities regions. I am experiencing the same panic they probably are at this moment as we hang precipitously on the edge of our summer school assignment. With such heightened focus on continuously increasing the rigor of the TFA training model, I wonder if I’m ready or if I even can be. The bar just continues to rise, albeit in a very meaningful way. My institute experience in 2005 in Los Angeles was at the very start of the data/tracking movement within TFA and there were only four institutes across the country with a loosely implemented curriculum that has now evolved into Institute Student Curriculum (ISC) (which is not so loose). I taught Chemistry in a collaborative at the now famous Green Dot run Locke High School in Watts.
Now there are 8 institutes nationwide with plans for 9 next summer, I find this expansion simply phenomenal and the strategically planned growth the organization has experienced is inspiring. The achievement gap will close, and we are closer now more than ever to making that happen. I am ready to lead a school in Chicago, I must be, as I have 7 staff, ~60 CMs and ~600 students counting on me.
Whoohoo, my seatbelt is buckled!