A "Snap Shot" of My Day at TOPS | Chalkboard Project

A "Snap Shot" of My Day at TOPS

Monday, April 29, 2013 Mary McGinnis

What does my day look like at Tillamook Options Program School (TOPS)?  Well, it is mind boggling—in a good way!

It starts with teaching the expelled students in“0” Period  on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 – 8:30 and mentoring meetings with a new teacher on Fridays 7:30 – 8:30. Tutoring students claims the rest of the week from 7:30 – 8:30.

My day moves quickly to Home Room—I have home room of 10- 12 students (number varies) everyday for 45 minutes from 8:30 – 9:15. HIGHLIGHTS: I mentor and advise both academically and personally and teach leadership and teamwork.

I teach Language Arts (grades 9-12), which I call the “Writing Club,” first and second periods Monday through Thursday. HIGHLIGHTS: I teach students who are emerging writers to write on a level where they can pass the state test, score high on the Compass test, and go to college.

I teach Social Studies (government and world history this trimester) 3rd and 4th periods. HIGHLIGHTS: The class is completely differentiated and proficiency-based! While we have whole class lessons, each student is working at their own knowledge and ability level and pace. This takes tremendous planning time, and I am still learning and growing with it.

I teach college prep (a language arts class)  5th period. HIGHLIGHTS: I get to see students who at one time didn’t even see a possibility of graduating high school prepare for, enroll in, and attend college. Three of my students did dual college enrollment this year with Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC)—the first students from TOPS to do so.

I have Community 101 6th period. HIGHLIGHTS:  I teach students in an alternative school to be community leaders! This is a class of high level junior and seniors. We have leadership seminars, and it is also their senior project. The class is part of the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) where the students get $5,000.00 to give away in the form of grants to non-profits.

Fridays are a little different. I teach Girls’ Health and P.E., which I call Girls’ Group.. HIGHLIGHTS: We access community agencies to learn how to grow into strong healthy adults, physically and mentally.

When do I get planning time? Well, I have 2nd and 3rd periods on Fridays for planning.

What else do I do at TOPS?

 On rotating Mondays, I take a staff turn cooking breakfast for all the TOPS students.

The College Prep class tours colleges. HIGHLIGHTS: I just took four senior girls to an overnight college visit to Southwestern Community College in Coos Bay!

A very important part of my “Snap Shot” day at TOPS is collaboration with staff. I am the mentor for a new TOPS teacher, and we meet when we can before school, after school, and occasionally on weekends. HIGHLIGHTS: I get to help a very skilled new teacher deepen her skills. 

We have staff meetings for 45 minutes after school. I attend if I do not have Community 101. HIGHLIGHTS:  One of the best parts of TOPS! We resolve so many issues and develop so many new plans.

I can’t forget our infamous “Morning Meetings” (Tuesdays during home room) and “Class Competition” (Thursdays during home room). I facilitate these activities on a rotating basis. HIGHLIGHTS: This is where we teach the TOPS culture and life skills to students.

I sponsor/advise two TOPS student internships: 1) topsTEACHERS—students work as teacher’s aides in elementary schools, 2) Latimer Textile Center—students work at the Latimer office.

I write all the social studies curriculum and lesson plans, as well as, curriculum and lesson plans for my own classes.

Just to make sure the “Snap Shot” REALLY reflects what it takes to be a quality teacher at TOPS, I have outside the classroom school activities.

I am in Portland State University's ESOL program. HIGHLIGHTS: I will finish the three year program this spring and will be a licensed ESOL teacher!
I am finishing a doctorate in education this year. HIGHLIGHTS: I am writing my dissertation over the impact of the Chalkboard Projects’ CLASS Project.
I am on the district’s Education Compact Committee. We are just beginning our work.
I have been participating in the district’s mentor training all year.
I am on the Chalkboard Projects’ Distinguished Educators Council. HIGHLIGHTS:  I get to have an impact statewide on improving Oregon Education. I have been meeting with government officials, ODE, TSPC, colleges, non-profits to finds ways to meet Oregon’s education challenges.
I am writing model curriculum for the Northwest ESD in Hillsboro.
I just became an adjunct instructor at TBCC.

And, yes, my “Snap Shot” day does also include lots of fun and renewal time (not that school isn’t fun). I spend my spare time relaxing and playing! This is why my desk is so messy—lots of school activities and lots of fun! 

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