The first workshop focused on the idea of root causes that plague our local education system and trying to figure out the true reasons for their existence. Through thorough discussion and thought process answering numerous questions of "why" four or five levels deep, a number of us separated as individuals or small groups to to focus on particular topics (if interested, download the attached file below).
The focus I eventually chose has a lot to do with my current status as a new teacher in Philadelphia: teacher recruitment and retention. One of the things I was constantly told at the outset of my teaching career is that I would become less and less idealistic as I gained more experience within the system. I kept responding that I would be different and believe I have proven that by feeling more idealistic now than I was 3 years ago.
That being said, it is a shame that new teachers are often thrust into situations that make them uncomfortable, unprepared, and unsupported. As I read more and more about this issue it becomes clear that it is not as simple as giving teachers higher salaries or providing "new teacher coaches" in your first three years of teaching. There needs to be a concerted effort on the part of a School District, the Administration within a school, and teachers on a staff. If policy cannot match the needs of our new teachers there will not be enough veteran teachers out there soon enough.
I am hoping to use this forum to get feedback on the workshop series I am attending and to leverage my personal learning network to help craft a policy suggestion that majes sense for Philadelphia. More to come.