Moving out of the Exploration Phase and the Power of Honing In..

Today’s contributor: Stacey Smith

I am  a Library Media Specialist at Govalle Elementary. This is my 3rd year as a CIC and my 20th year in Austin ISD.  Recently the quotes of Frederick Douglass inspire me.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.


This is the time of year where educators reflect on what went wrong and what went right. We begin dreaming new dreams about how we will do things differently next year.  Indeed, the reason I enjoy being an educator on a school campus is the challenge of always being able to hone ideas and try out new ones with the kids.  A larger challenge is trying out new ideas with adults who are stretched to the limit.

At Govalle we have an amazing team of educators, TAs, support staff.  These folks give up lunch to meet with small SEL groups. They stay after hours, paid or unpaid, to tutor kids. They take parents to the hospital if they don’t have a ride to the emergency room. They sometimes get cussed out by children. They plan for hours on the weekend. They attend their students’ birthday parties and athletic events.  The dedication is humbling.

These same educators are on a continuum of innovation: from dabbling with a few tools to diving in head first with innovative ideas:  First grade bilingual teacher, Mrs. Mendez, is trying out SeeSaw, Special Ed teacher, Mrs. Fox,  is developing an amazing BLEND experience to teach kids to progress monitor their reading fluency, and 5th grade bilingual teacher, Mrs. Clemens, has created multiple, interactive experiences, most recently, 5th grade voice/choice passion projects that they will present to younger classrooms for their final presentation of the year.

As the CIC, I dabbled, developing a BLEND course for the library with videos of kids demonstrating library skills needed to be successful.  I worked with Screencast-O-Matic, Google Classroom, attended the Thinkery Ed Exchange, one of the best-organized PD experiences I have had,  which  led to 2nd grade stop-motion animation projects.  In addition, I was inspired by the BLEND Summit sessions, particularly the Leadership Pathway Educators who are committing to new learning and implementation within their classrooms.

It has taken a couple years of struggle and exploration to get to this point, but with stabilization of key staff members, and clear ideas/advice from our amazing TDC, Erica, I believe our campus is ready to develop a clearer innovation/personalized learning vision for our kids and school.  I am positive about our school’s progress, hopeful about our pathway forward, and confident in my  (or someone else’s) ability to guide our ship in the stormiest of seas.

Govalle 1 Ms. Clemens QR code/Youtube book projects

Govalle 2Ms. Gonzalez NPFH BLEND Course

Govalle 3Govalle Library BLEND page

Govalle 4Ms. Fox’s Fluency Review BLEND page

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