Last night was the first Illinois Ed Chat. If you are interested, they are scheduled to be Monday nights at 8 pm CST. You can see the Storify transcript below.
The topic of the chat was the 5Essentials survey that is being given to schools in Illinois for teachers, students, and parents to provide feedback on their preceptions and experiences of their school. The survey is meant to be anonymous in order to get more honest and open feedback. While there was much discussion about the reporting of the data, what is will be used for, etc, there were two things that kept me thinking about this ed chat.
First was a comment by Ryan Bretag that questioned how an instrument designed for urban school settings would be appropriately applied to schools not in an urban setting. This is a question that never occurred to me because, although my school is technically in a suburb, we can easily be considered an urban setting. Ryan's school district is in one of the most affluent areas in the Northern Suburbs and, while there can be commonalities, have some very different issues than a school in an urban setting. His question is a valid one because of the original design of this instrument. He was not indicating that the instrument would be ineffective. The parts of the survey relating to rigorous curriculum, teacher collaboration, parent involvement, etc. are applicable to all schools.
The other thing that kept me thinking was from someone new to tweetchats. Rob Raphael is a teacher in Southern Illinois and wanted to learn more about the survey and how it will be used to help students. (For this reason alone, he is someone that should be followed on Twitter.) Unfortunately for Rob, this was not the main focus of the chat and he wrote a blog that described his disappointment. He then followed up that post with another indicating what he was looking for and what he wanted the chat to be. He provided some interesting points from a classroom perspective in his blog post that administrators can easily lose sight of. Hopefully, with reminders like his, I will not lose that classroom focus.
Long story short, continue to participate and communicate. As I told Rob, we can learn more from people with whom we disagree than a room full of "yes"-ers.