Today’s Contributor: Tracy Machu
I am in my 13th year as a Special Education Resource/Inclusion teacher at St. Elmo Elementary and my 3rd year as CIC.
The 2018-2019 school year has brought change to my campus in the form of a new principal and a renewed focus on BLEND. Over the past few weeks, we have been working to develop a plan of expectations for teachers and to build our new Campus Community BLEND course.
Last year, I started a BLEND Staff course to share a campus calendar and post professional tech tips for my campus. A couple of the teachers used it, but most did not. This year, our new principal has made it his goal to post a weekly bulletin in BLEND. I imported all the grade level YPGs from the Commons and added links to those as well. Our secretaries have also been given the role of “teacher” in the Staff course to help maintain the campus calendar. I’m hopeful that this will encourage teachers to slowly get into BLEND a little more.
We also wanted to try out the new Campus Community BLEND course. In the beginning, I struggled with how to achieve this. We wanted each grade level team to have a page in the course, but most of our teachers still are developing an understanding of BLEND, so I was reluctant to give everyone “teacher” roles in the course. After discussing my concerns with my TDC, I met with each grade level team individually throughout staff development week and the first week of school to discuss responsibilities and options. I created a template page for teachers to build off of. Most of the teams opted to create their pages in their BLEND Sandbox using my template. Then, they added me as a “teacher” in their sandbox. From that point, I could import their page into the Campus Community Course and edit the style as needed to maintain a uniform look within the course. One grade level did request to have their team leader added as a “teacher” in the Community Course. They wanted the option to update their page monthly. We also gave our secretaries “teacher” roles in the course so that they could send out announcements and add events to the calendar as needed.
We are making progress, and I continue to meet with grade level teams as needed to build and update pages. I also still need to find a way to publicize the community page to parents who haven’t used BLEND before and share the value of this resource, but I’m hopeful that slowly but surely everyone will come to embrace these new changes.