Teachers learn: Common Core Teachers in some districts are receiving training to prepare for Common Core. If yours is one of them, can you attend? Look deeply at how much training they’re receiving or have received. Is it enough, do teachers feel prepared?
Do they have the technology they need? Do they feel the schools are ready? If your teachers already have been trained, sit in on an English and a math class, what’s different? Have teachers explain what’s new and how it will help student achievement. Talk to principals about the changes.
Studies show that classroom management begins on the first day of school. Follow an elementary teacher or two from the first day as he/she sets the rules/expectations for the classroom. Talk to veteran teachers about this. Visit a couple classrooms to compare teachers’ techniques. How do different teachers handle this.
In the aftermath of a Los Angeles judge’s ruling that California’s laws on teacher tenure, dismissal and other job protections are unconstitutional, other states are following suit. Why? Who is backing these lawsuits? What does it say about the public perception of teacher unions? How would that impact your school district? How many teachers are, for example, actually fired before they get tenure? Are any fired for incompetence in the classroom?
At school board meetings, don’t tune out the public comment section. This can be invaluable for story tips; When you’re at school early in the year, talk to teachers and principals about summer learning loss: Have they seen it and what are they doing about it?
Every time you’re on a campus for a story, talk to a few more people, look around, ask questions, find a second story idea or do interviews for a longer-term feature; On a slow day, follow up with teachers, principals, anyone who helped you on a breaking news story or a feature; Read the teachers’ contract: typically it’s a long, complicated document but there can be great nuggets for stories.