Need Some Advice

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Thia, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. Thia

    Thia Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2013

    Hello-
    I'm newly registered to this site, but have visited often. I have been teaching for 14 years in a variety grades, but always in private schools. I did not get a renewed contract for the next school year because our school (which I've been at for 7 yrs.) has experienced significant downsizing.
    After sending out 40 resumes, I got a call, interviewed, and am in the top two (out of 42 applications!). I've been told that I am their choice, but I need to meet with the Superintendent. I'm happy,but also very nervous. The principal's reservation is that I have never taught in a public school and he keeps warning me that it is intense and demanding. The position is for Language Arts/Literacy Resource room. Should I be scared? I'm thinking maybe I've oversold myself.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Thia
     
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  3. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jul 10, 2013

    You're overthinking this! They are lucky to get you. You have 14 years of experience teaching. That's enough experience to be able to handle whatever the public school hands you. Good luck!
     
  4. Thia

    Thia Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2013

    Maryhf....:) Exactly what my husband said....but he's a banker. The principal had said this to me at least 10 times, so it got me worried. I don't have the job just yet....but it something I'd want....
    Thanks
    Thia
     
  5. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Jul 10, 2013

    What kind of district is it? Suburban? Urban? Poor? Rich? All these things make a difference. I would venture to say most private school kids will be more like suburban, upper class public school districts. I know this is not the case for all, but if you're entering a poor, urban district, there will be quite a few differences.
     
  6. Thia

    Thia Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2013

    The last school I worked in was a private special education school. I must admit, there wasn't any structure in the program. Everything was done haphazardly, which bothered me. There were no "benchmarks" or system in place. It was one reason why I had been looking to find another place of employment even before I was laid off.
    The school I'm applying to is in a very affluent district, with high standards. It was named one of the top nine middle schools in NJ. I am self-motivated and driven, therefore, I can't see any reason why I wouldn't be able to meet the benchmarks and fulfill the job duties.
    I don't know what the benchmarks are, and this is what has me nervous. It would be embarrassing if I fell flat on my face. I live in the town.
     
  7. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Jul 11, 2013

    You obviously have the experience. Before you meet with the super, I would suggest that you do a little more homework with regard to the district. What can you learn about their curriculum and expectations from their website? I know that my district has a bit of information on the website. Another source of general benchmark/standard information would obviously be your state department of education. Good luck!
     
  8. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Jul 11, 2013

    If the benchmarks are well designed, they will just be testing your state standards, and probably look a lot like your yearly state assessment.
     
  9. catlover

    catlover Rookie

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    Jul 12, 2013

    One way it can be intense and demanding is that students receiving special services are one of the sub-groups whose state test results must be reviewed separately for AYP. So it is indeed possible that a very high-performing school could still miss AYP, or come close to missing, solely because of the performance of students in the special education program.

    I heard of one case where a high-performing school missed AYP because they had too high a percentage of students ARDed to take modified state assessments. Apparently the federal government only allows you to have a certain percentage of students taking non-regular assessments. I think it is 2 percent. If I remember correctly, once that percentage is met, any additional non-regular assessments were entered into the AYP calculations as failures. Similarly, a school could have, say, 96% overall pass rate on state assessments, but 76% pass rate for special education.

    In those types of situations, even if the school is overall high-performing, there could be a lot of pressure brought to bear on special education teachers to somehow fix it. Given the way the system is set up right now, I think special education is one of the most charged areas to teach in. At least in public schools.

    One thing you might do is find out how to view the school's AYP results. You can probably find them on the website for your state's department of education. If they didn't make AYP for students receiving special services, or if they came close to not making it, you could be under a lot of pressure.

    Also, I agree with the other posters that the school would be lucky to get you, and that you would do a stellar job. It might be something of an adjustment, though, to have people looking over your shoulder with some degree of intensity.
     
  10. Thia

    Thia Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2013

    catlover-
    I have looked at the school report card and they are 9th in the state...including the SE students.....a very high standard. The principal sent me the CCCS for the grades/subjects I would be teaching. He had referred to "benchmarks" that I would have to satisfy during the interview. Should I assume that these CCCS are the benchmarks? There are 15 pages. :eek:hmy:
    I have convinced him that I can do this job and the work it requires (they have officially hired me), but still, I'm a bit "scared".
     
  11. catlover

    catlover Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Well, that sounds good then. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to look at their test scores for the past 2-3 years and see if their special education scores have been holding steady, improving, or getting worse. If they're #9 in the state but have declining scores for your population, it could be stressful.

    I think things work differently in NJ than in TX, where I am. In my district, "benchmarks" are district-written tests we administer throughout the year. But I looked it up, and in NJ a "benchmark" seems to be specific pass rate the state mandates you to achieve each year. Each year it goes up. I don't think I have the posting privileges here to post a link, but if you do a search on "Understanding Accountability in New Jersey for 2011 State Assessments" you'll find the PDF I was looking at.

    The CCCS the principal sent you would be important because the test your students are supposed to pass will be based on what's in there for your grade. Let's take figurative language as an example -- if the state says to do hyperbole and idioms in your grade level and then similes and metaphors in the next grade up, imagine what would happen if you focus on similes/metaphors, briefly mention idioms, and don't even cover hyperbole. That would be a case of someone teaching good stuff, but not in a way aligned with the state standards.

    As far as the 15 page document -- to meet the benchmarks the principal mentioned, you need to know what the student expectations are for your grade, plus how that integrates with a grade or two above and below. But you mentioned you'll be teaching resource reading? That could be a different kettle of fish.

    I hope that helps! It is hard to know exactly how things work in a different state. Maybe some NJ teachers will come by this thread and help out.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Try posting that link, please, catlover.
     
  13. catlover

    catlover Rookie

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