Lets not forget why this has been a particularly difficult year. It started out that way, really. Harder kids with various behavior patterns that in my view and experience, had to do mostly with a sense of entitlement. Harder because of the wide variance in academic skills. Harder though, because it just started out hard. I blame it on testing.
Today is xtra recess for well-deserved 3rd graders, and for me it's reflection on (e)xams. Next fall might be different with one less standardized test (WKCE), but it'll undoubtedly feel like there's still testing throughout the fall and school year. With the new teacher evaluation expectations and the new Smarter Balanced tests, not to mention the age-old MAP testing, I admit I'm ending the year mired in what is yet to come.
It's a crazy system - here we are as a community, appalled and afraid of racial inequalities, yet there is no moving away from the tradition to quantify learning - the very measure that looks at our students to say, "You are here or there regardless of what you've learned." It's day x and as I get ready to exit another school year, I'm also getting ready to tackle this ongoing conflict of sorting kids based on their (e)xams. Part of my xtra recess during summer break is to look ahead to deepen my conviction that the status quo needs continual challenge, on-going reflection and discussion, and then - action.