When I taught in St. Louis, I held a leadership role in the Teacher Services Committee of the Independent Schools of Saint Louis. This group provided professional development for teachers in independent schools. One of the most popular offerings we created was regular affinity group meetings for different constituents in the schools. We would have whole day workshops in which a specialist would present in the morning, there would be a social, working lunch, and that would be followed by best practices work within the group. This would be small groups, roundtable, or another sort of group work. The art teachers and music teachers loved the chance to get together with others like them, especially when they were the only ones in their school. I participated in the fourth grade group because at that time I was a fourth grade teacher.

Last year, two educational technologists started MEMSET, Massachusetts Elementary and Middle School Educators using Technology. This is an affinity group for teachers who use technology. Both IT specialists and classroom teachers participate. It has been wonderful to feel that energy and connection again, but this year the group slowed down. I agitated for a meeting and started calling people to get the numbers up. I hope this has helped the efforts of others in the group to re-energize  the group. Several of us have added some organizational elements. Tuesday night’s meeting was very good. We had a great talk about iPads, we set an agenda and location (and a loose date) for the next meeting, and we did a little organizational work as well. I am really looking forward to the next meeting in which we will take a swing at looking at standards and scope/sequence documents. We wanted to look at how to create them, how to implement them in the classroom, and how to keep them living documents.

It feels great to start building this network amongst the IT professionals in the area independent elementary and middle schools. They are a wonderful group of people with whom to spend a Tuesday evening.

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