Compartmentalized vs. An Interdependent Approach

Compartmentalized vs. An Interdependent Approach

I am thankful to be a part of a school leadership program through the Harvard Graduate School of Education partnering with the Harvard Business School. So far, most of the members in my cohort are school administrators. The first class that I am taking is Leading People

One of topics is a reflective piece on whether our schools are compartmentalized or take an interdependent approach. I love learning new ed lingo and learned a new catch phrase today. Compartmentalized schools are called Egg-crate Schools. Egg-crate Schools are schools that physically isolate teachers from one another. 

During the pandemic, we are all sort of functioning as Egg-Crate Schools. I am teaching at a virtual school and am thankful that I can teach virtually during this time. I was thinking about the Egg-Crates and then my mind wandered to my own elementary school. I attended Bellamy Elementary School in Tampa, Florida in the 1970s. The school was a big cement box with the American Flag Painted all over the building. When you went inside each grade was in pods. There were no walls from classroom to classroom. I remember waving to my friends in other classes and trying to make them laugh while they were in class by making funny faces.

I attended the school from Kinder to 5th grade. As the years went by, I noticed that the teachers themselves starting making their own barriers with bookshelves, etc. Then the portables arrived. In 4th grade, I was pulled from my main class to attend a gifted ed math class with the 5th graders in a portable. It was really uncomfortable. I did not want to miss any time with my friends from the block. Indeed, we are still friends today. Thankfully, my teacher Mrs. Glymph was amazing. She taught math in such a fun way and she made chocolate chip cookies for us each Friday!

Fast forward to my own school, my virtual school, are we compartmentalized or interdependent? As we are about to wrap up Quarter 1, I have to say that we are compartmentalized at this time. We are working towards becoming more interdependent. However, as special education teachers we have so much digital paperwork, that we don’t have collaboration time built into our schedules. I wish that we also could have collaboration time with the GE teachers. With one GE teacher, I did reach out to her and asked her if she would like to collaborate. She was only one out of the 20 GE teachers that I work with that we took the time of our own and designed a lesson together. 

The areas in my graduate classes we were prompted to reflect on are in the following areas: (1) curriculum, (2) discipline, (3) schedule, and (4) family engagement. 

I will continue to reflect and write more about this subject as I learn more. Have a great Saturday! :o)