Time to sing a new song


Christmas Musical Hits and 1,2,3 and a 4!

What does this have to do with Education?  There has not been a new Christmas themed pop hit for at least twenty years.  Compare that to the fundamental recent changes in Education.  When many of us began our careers twenty or so years ago what was the classroom like?  The issues were ever present; they just seem to have become more complex.  Technology and computers? DVD Players? Formative Assessment and testing? Poverty? Broken Families?  Data?  Merry Christmas? Many facets of education have changed but I worry about the pace, the research base, the exhaustion level of many of our colleagues.  What has changed for me are the stakeholder’s expectations. Change is difficult.  The response to all of the recent changes is understandable and yet we ask for more.  I don’t want to forget about the past, but as we approach these ideas with an open and professional mindset the future looks promising.  There are pieces of the new agenda that are helpful if we are willing to sing along!

Benefits of technology – Why is there a reluctance to share our personal knowledge of these amazing devices/software with our children.  I am hoping we can move from using this tool – to engaging learners who actually use these devices for innovations, inventions and thoughtful inquiry. Hopefully it can become just a natural progression of what we do. Let’s take some risks. Make something new!

Benefits of assessment – Can we learn without a percent? I think if children can see themselves in the curriculum or embedded in the assessment they will learn at a more successful rate.   Posing engaging, insightful questions that causes us all to deliberate will spawn deeper thinking and learning.  Memorization vs. Automaticity!  Try eliminating the scores and just provide some rubrics and write some “lyrics”.  This tends to improve achievement and provoke some greater motivation.

Benefits of data – Hoshin Kanri, Graduation rates and testing of our students.  When the question is answered people become more at ease – Data: How is it going to be used?  I think for our organization, it’s all about student learning.  I am confident that we are interested in providing services to those who really need it.  If we can meaningfully come together as an educational community and help students from FN/M backgrounds, immigrant students, enrichment and differentiation situations we will succeed.   We do have plan in reading, writing and math and it is about all students getting better/improving. These will be our Christmas gifts.

Circumstances change and as they become more complex, the way we react to them is all about our integrity and character.  Maybe we should open our minds to embrace some of these new evidence based decision making strategies.  The benefits outweigh the discomfort some of us are feeling.  For me as a superintendent, it’s not about questioning our staff’s professionalism it’s about counting on it! Potentially one of our students could digitally produce that “new” Christmas hit; a hit that we all can embrace.


December 23, 2013Permalink