Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Great webinar on 2/2!

Rethinking Discipline: Strategies at Work in Schools Today
Zero-tolerance policies, which require out-of-school suspension or expulsion for certain inappropriate behaviors, have become the go-to disciplinary approach in many schools, though research suggests they have some downsides. Two alternate approaches that are more focused on changing behavior are restorative practices and PBIS—Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
At Haut Gap Middle and other Charleston, S.C., schools, educators say PBIS has transformed student behavior and increased academic performance. At Christian Fenger Academy High in Chicago, the new restorative approach to student behavior teaches discipline through discussion, support, and "peace circles." Learn how each of these approaches work from the educators who’ve been using them.
  • Bob Stevens, school district PBIS coordinator, Charleston County, S.C.
  • Robert Spicer, dean, Christian Fenger Academy High School, Chicago

This webinar will be moderated by Nirvi Shah, staff writer for Education Week.
Underwriting for the content of this webinar has been provided by The Atlantic Philanthropies, NoVo Foundation, The Raikes Foundation, and The California Endowment.
Register now for this free live webinar.

Webinar Date: Tuesday February 5, 2 – 3 p.m. ET

Can't attend? All Education Week webinars are archived and accessible "on demand" for up to six months after the original live-streaming date.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Better Helping ELLs....

The North Penn School District in Lansdale, Pa., is using an instructional method called Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol to teach English learners their core subjects while teaching them the English language. Using a $1.7 million Keystones to Opportunities grant, the district trained 30 ESL and core subject teachers in the method. Strategies include having students work in small groups and repeat what they are learning in their own words to help them understand the subject content as well as develop their English skills.

North Penn takes new approach to teaching English

Thursday, January 24, 2013
By Jennifer Lawson

There are more than 50 native languages spoken among students in the North Penn School District, and this language diversity has been slowly expanding over the years.

The most common non-English native languages are Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese, according to Marilyn Loeffler, coordinator of English as a Second Language and Sheltered Instruction and Observation Protocol.

Some languages are so obscure, they’re spoken by only one or two students.

“There are many, many dialects within the continent of Africa, and many within India as well,” Loeffler said.

Families emigrate to the North Penn area for a variety of reasons, Loeffler said, including better educational opportunities and medical care.

The district will also get an influx of students from certain areas depending on what’s happening in the world.

“For example, when Egypt was going through unrest in the past few years, we saw an increase in students from Egypt,” said Donna DeTommaso-Kleinert, a 29-year veteran of the district who currently teaches at Penndale Middle School.

Not only do students need instruction in learning English, they also must be able to understand their mainstream content courses, such as science and social studies, which is often a bigger challenge, Loeffler said.

As a result of a $1.7 million Keystones to Opportunities grant, the district is expanding its practice of Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, which is a framework for planning and delivering instruction in content areas to non-native English speakers.

Last summer, 30 teachers — both ESL as well as content teachers — were trained in SIOP.

Due to the popularity of this approach to teaching, another 60 teachers will be trained this summer.

The principle behind SIOP is language is gained faster while learning content, because the language is placed in context and used in meaningful ways.

Using a planning framework, teachers modify the way they teach so the language they use to explain concepts and information is comprehensible to non-native English speakers.

“By sheltering, it’s sheltering them from failure,” Loeffler said. “It’s giving them the skills they need to understand what is happening in their content classroom. Reading and writing isn’t just used in reading and writing classes. It’s taking these skills an English teacher uses and bringing it across the board.”

A teacher that uses SIOP has more interaction with the students, Loeffler said, noting that sitting back and listening is not an effective way to develop language.

For example, a teacher might ask the students to look at the person next to them and explain a concept.

“A key concept of SIOP is the phrase, ‘You need to verbalize to internalize.’ If you can verbalize it, say it, explain it, it’s part of your being. If you can’t explain it, you’re never going to be able to get it.”

A teacher who practices SIOP will have clearly defined objectives for every lesson, DeTommaso-Kleinert said.

Then the teacher will “put scaffolding in place,” such as providing background information, showing pictures and graphs.

Students will often work in small groups, as well as independently.

SIOP methods aren’t just for non-native English speakers — they can be used in all classrooms.

“We’ve seen a lot of success [with SIOP] across the board,” DeTommaso-Kleinert said.

Non-native English speakers are in ESL classes for three or four years, on average, Loeffler said.

To test out, they must pass a state exam demonstrating English fluency.

North Penn School District students will be taking the test from Jan. 28 through March 1.

The results will be available in the summer, Loeffler said. This could be a way for the district to assess the effectiveness of SIOP.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Harm in Veteran Teachers Retiring....

Studies find student achievement doesn't suffer even when teachers take advantage of early-retirement incentives. Read on; I found this article very interesting!

No Academic Harm Found in Early Retirement of Teachers

San Diego
Boosting early retirement in cash-strapped districts doesn't hurt students' math and reading scores, according to new studies released at the American Economic Association meeting here, but pension-incentive programs may cost schools some of their most effective teachers.

Separate studies of teachers in California, Illinois, and North Carolina paint a complex picture of the choice increasingly faced by education leaders: Keep your most experienced—and expensive—teachers, or encourage them to retire to ease budget woes.

Cornell University researchers Maria D. Fitzpatrick and Michael F. Lovenheim, both assistant professors of policy analysis and management, tracked 54,550 Illinois teachersRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader in grades 3, 6, and 8 before and after the state's "5+5" pension- incentive program, which took place in the early 1990s.
The 5+5 program allowed any teacher age 50 or older, and with at least five years of experience, to qualify for pension benefits immediately if he or she retired at the end of the 1992-93 or 1993-94 school year and paid a one-time fee. The average teacher who took advantage of the program had 29 years' experience, compared with incoming teachers who had on average less than three.

Moving On
Immediately after becoming eligible for pension benefits, the most- and least-effective teachers in North Carolina are the first to leave, a new study finds. By six years out, however, more-effective teachers are much more likely to retire than less-effective ones.
Before the program, more than half the teachers in each of the three grades studied were veterans, with at least 15 years' experience. After, the average experience level at each school dropped by 2.6 percent for every veteran teacher it had before the pension buyout.

Some middle schools even ended up replacing their exiting teachers with fewer teachers overall.
Yet the less-experienced teachers didn't lead to lower test scores, Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Lovenheim found. In fact, 8th grade scores in both mathematics and reading improved slightly, but the difference was significant.

Moreover, the poorest and lowest-performing schools saw the biggest test-score gains.

"We were very surprised; it took us a while to convince ourselves this finding was real," Mr. Lovenheim said. "I don't think it has been highlighted as a policy question to look at the end of teachers' careers, but these findings suggest that it may be an important thing to look at."

The Illinois results are bolstered by another new study, this time of California teachers, also released at the economics conference Jan. 4-6. Kristine M. Brown, an assistant professor of economics and labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that teacher retirements between 1998 and 2001 in the state were associated with increases in the proportion of students achieving above the national median in math and reading by 2 percentage points, on average.
In both states, "these teachers who are very close to retirement are just not as effective as younger [incoming] teachers," Mr. Lovenheim said, raising the possibility that pension systems that backload benefits or require a set number of years of service might demand an "educational cost of keeping teachers who want to retire in the workforce."

Raising the Middle?

However, average test-score gains may cloak the loss of some of a school's institutional memory, according to Patten Priestley Mahler, an economics doctoral candidate at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville.

In a separate study of nearly 62,000 educators in North CarolinaRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, Ms. Mahler found a teacher's likelihood of retiring jumped 17 percentage points after he or she became eligible for pension benefits, compared with just two years earlier, even though teaching positions often have younger minimum retirement ages than other professional careers. She agreed that many teachers may feel "pulled to stick it out a few more years" in order to receive their full pension benefits, even if they are no longer interested in teaching.

When teachers become eligible for their pensions, the financial incentives to stay reverse themselves, Ms. Mahler said: "They look at it and say, 'If I quit teaching, I can get 60 percent of my salary, so I'm only getting paid 40 percent to work the same 40 hours a week. My time is not as valued.' "

Yet in North Carolina at least, teachers did not respond equally to early-retirement incentives. The most- and least-effective teachers (as judged by their students' previous math and reading test scores) were 5 percentage points more likely to retire after qualifying for their pension than were teachers whose students had average performance.

Moreover, Ms. Mahler found lower increases in turnover for urban and high-minority schools.
"Those are the schools that are hardest to staff; they have people leaving all the time. These pension incentives just might not be keeping them around as strongly as other teachers," she said, "but then the ones who actually stick around and stick through it for long enough to be eligible for the pension may have other reasons to be teaching that aren't affected by the pensions."

Because so few teachers work under nonpension retirement programs, Ms. Mahler and Mr. Lovenheim both said it is hard to gauge how strongly teachers weigh financial versus other reasons to teach, such as altruism or enjoyment.

Jesse Rothstein, an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not associated with either study, argued that teachers are not good at identifying their own effectiveness, making it difficult to target incentive systems to encourage only less effective teachers to leave.

States vs. Districts

Mr. Lovenheim also cautioned that the test-score increases found in the California and Illinois studies aren't substantial enough to make pension changes a major force for school improvement, particularly as they can set up a showdown between districts and equally cash-strapped states, which are left footing most of the bill for early teacher pensions.

"Hey, any increase in test scores is good if you can do it for low cost," Mr. Lovenheim said, "but this is not necessarily a low-cost change, because of the dramatic increases to the state budgets. I'm not sure the test-score increases are enough to pass the cost-benefit test."
Related Blog
Even without early-retirement incentives, more than a third of educators in the classroom today are older than 50, at or approaching retirement age. Teacher-pension funds in 41 states do not have enough money to meet their obligations, according to a study released in December by the National Council on Teaching Quality. The group estimates a $390 billion shortfall nationwide in 2012.
More states have been pushing back against district early-retirement promotions, the council found. Since 2008, half of states have increased the retirement age for teachers, 22 have lowered retirees' cost-of-living increases, and 21 have both reduced benefits and required teachers to contribute more to their plans.

Teachers may retire just to avoid dealing with district belt-tightening, even if they don't get a golden parachute.

For example, the research organization WestEd's Regional Educational Laboratory West found, in a separate 2012 study of California teachers, that for every $1,000 cut from per-student spending, teachers in the state were 4 percent more likely to retire.

Vol. 32, Issue 18, Pages 1,16
Related Stories

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We all need professional development!

Like it or not, as teachers, we are professionals, and like every other profession, we must find ways to learn, grow, and develop every year we are in the classroom. When evaluated, we must have specific professional development plans that speak to our professional goals, areas of strengths, and desired areas of improvement. 

January 2013 | Volume 55 | Number 1
Arts Education Matters Pages 8-8

Message from the ASCD President

Professional Development Must Be Part of Teacher Evaluations

Debra Hill
If you've followed the news during the recent Chicago teachers' strike, you know that teachers have voiced concerns about the key issue of teacher evaluation. The Education Week article "Straight Up Conversation: Teacher Eval Guru Charlotte Danielson" by Rick Hess states, "There's been a heavy emphasis of late on teacher evaluation, with states and districts making it a pillar of their efforts to rethink tenure, pay, and professional norms. States and districts have adopted systems that rely heavily on observational evaluation to complement or stand in for value-added metrics."
A survey of teacher evaluation systems in 14 large U.S. school districts, the results of which the New Teacher Project shared in the widely read 2009 report The Widget Effect, concluded that 98 percent of teachers were evaluated as "satisfactory." Based on such findings, many have characterized the old evaluation checklist system as somewhat flawed.
Several states have begun rethinking their teacher evaluation systems. These revised evaluation systems seem to have moved from using checklists and the approach developed by Madeline Hunter to an approach with multitiered models, such as Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching. The systems, which identify what good teaching looks like, are geared toward subject-area competency as well as teacher effectiveness. Many of these models incorporate professional development as a key component for continual growth for all teachers and are designed to have teachers engaged in their own learning.
If we are serious about developing highly qualified teachers, we need to recognize that high-quality professional development and teacher evaluation can be symbiotic—that is, depending on each other to endure and thrive—and therefore mutually beneficial.
Findings presented in the 2010 report The Status of Professional Development in the United States, by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, show that "sustained and intensive professional development for teachers is related to student achievement and gains."
Thus, changes in evaluation systems should move from either being a punitive "gotcha" or deeming everyone "OK" to ones that are designed to help teachers improve their craft and effectiveness through collaboration; self-reflection; and sustained, high-quality professional development.
Based on the knowledge about human growth, development, and adult learning we've acquired in the last decade, we know that when teachers continue to learn and grow through professional development, so do their students. Let's increase resources for teacher learning and revolutionize the way we approach teacher evaluation. 
Copyright © 2013 by ASCD

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Are our students ready for college?

Why do U.S. students still lag behind students from other nations with their rates of college graduation? How can we better prepare K-12 students for the rigor, challenges, and expectations our institutions of higher learning have? Shouldn't it all begin today?

January 2013 | Volume 55 | Number 1
Arts Education Matters Pages 2-3,6,7

Create a College-Going Culture

Willona M. Sloan
Resources and Tools to Inspire and Inform
College and career readiness have been the focus of education policies and discussions for several years, yet U.S. students lag behind other nations in college completion. The infographic in the next article highlights the crisis at hand. Although many U.S. students may aspire to go to college, they sometimes find that they do not possess the necessary academic background to be successful in college-level courses, nor do they have the financial resources required or the emotional and social support needed to help them persevere.
Although college may not be the end goal for every student, K–12 schools can create environments that foster interest in college matriculation and offer students the appropriate information to assist them in planning their academic schedules and extracurricular activities so they will have necessary course credits and qualifications to be competitive college applicants. Creating a college-going culture means explaining the benefits of higher education to students and instilling in them the skills they will need to overcome challenges.
The following resources from nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, and K–12 programs are designed to inspire, inform, and motivate students and put them on the path to college completion.

College Board

"A college-going culture builds the expectation of postsecondary education for all students—not just the best students," says the College Board website. "It inspires the best in every student, and it supports students in achieving their goals."
College Board provides the guide College Ed®: Creating a College-Going Culture, which covers the basics of how to establish an environment that values college aspirations and offers administrators several strategies for designing and implementing a large-scale program to support these aims, as well as tips for conducting community outreach and talking with parents. CollegeEd® is the College Board's college-planning and career-exploration program for middle and high school students.
College Board also offers the interactive website for students You Can Go to College, where young people can watch testimonials from college students who discuss how they navigated the labyrinth of the college admissions process. The website also provides a directory to help students locate nearby colleges and a step-by-step tool that walks students through planning for college.

Jobs for the Future: Early College Strategies and Resources

The recent study Taking College Courses in High School: A Strategy for College Readiness from Jobs for the Future looks at the effects that dual enrollment programs, which allow high school students to take college-level courses, have on student achievement. Researchers analyzed data from tens of thousands of Texas students who completed college courses in high school, and found that these students attended and completed college within the state at much higher rates than students with similar backgrounds who did not take college courses in high school.
According to the report, "A growing body of research suggests that allowing students in high school to complete even a single college class could significantly increase their chances of attending college and eventually graduating." The report offers strategies for states and school districts looking to implement such initiatives.
Jobs for the Future also offers a state-by-state analysis of dual enrollment programs and strategies aimed at preparing low-income students for college completion. Find out how your state is doing.
Also check out the comprehensive Early College High School Initiative website at to learn more about how to create programs that blend high school education with college coursework to compress the time it takes students to earn a high school diploma and complete the first two years of college.

Pathways to College Network

The Pathways to College Network is, according to its website, "an alliance of national organizations that advances college opportunity for underserved students by raising public awareness, supporting innovative research, and promoting evidence-based policies and practices across the K–12 and higher education sectors." The network promotes the use of research-based policies and practices, develops new research, and attempts to align efforts across middle and high schools and higher education to promote college access and success for underserved students.
The Pathways to College Network is directed by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, which is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access and success in postsecondary education around the world. Pathways offers research on topics that include college access outreach programs, college readiness, and state and federal policies regarding college preparation.

Public Agenda

Administrators looking to assess their guidance counselors' efforts to move students on to the path for college will benefit from the Public Agenda report Can I Get a Little Advice Here?: How an Overstretched High School Guidance System Is Undermining Students' College Aspirations.
Public Agenda also offers an infographic on the college completion crisis. According to a Public Agenda survey, only 4 out of 10 young people earn a college degree by the time they are 35. Of the "non-completers," 7 out of 10 respondents said they did not know what a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is. The infographic also includes policy recommendations from completers and non-completers, such as allowing part-time students to qualify for financial aid.

Sallie Mae Fund's Kids2College

The Sallie Mae Fund's Kids2College program offers guides and tools for middle and high schools that hope to instill an interest in college in low-income and minority students.

The University of California, Berkeley's School/University Partnership Program

The School/University Partnership (SUP) program is designed to foster a college- and university-going culture in schools and communities in California's Bay Area. Through outreach efforts, innovative initiatives, and teaching and learning tools designed for kindergarten through community college classrooms, the program works with schools to inform students of the steps they must take to be ready to attend college in the California higher education system. The program works with school districts and elementary, middle, and high schools to increase access to the University of California and other California colleges and universities for students who have not traditionally been eligible to attend.
The Believing The College Dream curriculum created by SUP provides a plan for helping students understand why they should aspire to go to college and how to plan for admission and matriculation. The curriculum is designed to show students that college is attainable, and it aims to help students believe in their ability to succeed in school. For families, the curriculum provides information about how to set a college-bound attitude and support their children. The free curriculum and resource guide are available at
Although the SUP-created College Tools for Schools web-based tool kit is designed for California high schools that are eager to expand college attendance rates, these resources are relevant for schools in any district. The kit includes an explanation of the financial aid process, a four-year academic planning guide to help students map out the prerequisites and course requirements needed to be eligible for college, and career exploration guides.

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education's College Completion Toolkit was released in response to President Obama's American Graduation Initiative, which established the goal that by 2020 the United States will regain its position as the nation with the highest percentage of its population holding postsecondary degrees and credentials. Geared toward governors and state leaders, the tool kit highlights strategies for increasing college completion rates.
The tool kit suggests that policymakers set college completion goals, develop an action plan, use data to drive decision making, embrace performance-based funding, align high school standards with college-entrance and placement standards, and make it easier for students to transfer between colleges.

Woodrow Wilson Early College High School Initiative

Developing a College-Going Culture in a Middle School: A Toolkit, from the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School Initiative, was created with WestEd to aid middle schools in this making culture shift. The tool kit includes materials such as student and parent survey forms; protocols for interviewing teachers, principals, and guidance counselors about schools' college-going culture; a case study that looks at a middle school's efforts to instill this initiative; and a directory of college-going culture resources.

Additional Resources

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Importance of Arts Education

I firmly believe that arts education should continue to be an integral part of a well-rounded, 21st century education program that serves to educate the whole child for success in school and beyond. Read on....

January 2013 | Volume 55 | Number 1
Arts Education Matters Pages 1-4,5

Ten Reasons Arts Education Matters

Elliott Seif
Arts education should continue to be an integral part of a well-rounded, 21st century education program that serves to educate the whole child for success in school and beyond.
K–12 education budget cuts have forced schools and districts across the United States to limit or eliminate arts instruction. Also, because the artistic disciplines are not evaluated through high-stakes testing, these classes are often vulnerable when time is precious and funds are limited.
Elliott Seif, an educational consultant, author, Understanding by Design® cadre and ASCD Faculty member, and Educational Leadership contributor, shares 10 reasons why we should strengthen and expand arts education in a 21st century world, not reduce or eliminate it.

Arts education can increase student engagement.

Let's face it—for the most part, children like arts education. It is hands-on, has immediate rewards, focuses on positive achievements, develops concrete products, and fosters collaboration. The arts provide many opportunities for students to show off and demonstrate their skills through authentic performance. The arts enable children to grow in confidence and learn how to think positively about themselves and learning.

Children learn positive habits, behaviors, and attitudes.

Learning a musical instrument, creating a painting, learning to dance, or singing in a chorus teaches that taking small steps; practicing to get better at something; being persistent; and being patient, even in the face of adversity, are important for children's growth and improvement. Students gain confidence as they try to accomplish things that don't come easily. In other words, learning an artistic discipline helps young people develop character. Students learn habits, behaviors, and attitudes that are necessary for success in any field of endeavor.

The arts enhance creativity.

Imagine classes in which students create original artwork filled with color that displays a creative use of space, they develop their own rhythms, or they write and produce their own plays. These classes provide a wonderful environment for fostering creativity, which is an important skill to have in a rapidly changing world.

Students sharpen their critical intellectual skills.

The arts foster higher levels of thinking that carry over to learning other academic subjects as well as to life outside of school. Through the arts, children learn to observe (What do you see in a painting?); interpret (How should we play this music?); see different perspectives (What is the artist's perspective? What is your perspective?); analyze (Let's take apart this play and study each part separately); and synthesize (How do all the parts of the dance fit together to create a whole?).

The arts teach students methods for learning language skills.

As students learn to read notes, compose music, play an instrument, memorize dance steps, create a painting, and act in a drama, they are also learning how to develop new concepts, build vocabulary, and understand a new language.

The arts help students learn mathematics.

The arts require measurement, number manipulation, and proportional thinking, all of which foster mathematical thinking. Students also learn patterns (musical rhythms and dance patterns), spatial and geometric relationships (visual art patterns), and three-dimensional skills (making clay models).

The arts expand on and enrich learning in other subjects.

Works of art provide a visual context for learning about historical periods. Music, painting, drama, and dance help literature come alive. Graphic designs and drawings, such as those made by inventors and engineers, complement learning about scientific and technological principles and innovations.

Aesthetic learning is its own reward.

The arts teach young people about beauty, proportion, and grace. Students can examine conflict, power, emotion, and life itself. The power of the arts is in its wondrous ability to give us joy, help us understand tragedy, promote empathy, and make the written word come alive.

Students practice teamwork.

In developing a theatrical production, group performance, or any type of collaborative artistic endeavor, students practice the fine art of teamwork. As they work together, they learn to understand differences and diversity and realize the ways that teamwork contributes to a great performance. By also teaching students how to live and work together, the arts contribute to making schools safer and more peaceful learning environments.

Arts education is just the beginning.

The arts provide an important avenue where children can develop a passion for learning. Many children discover their talents and interests through the arts and are inspired to pursue careers in artistic fields.

Arts Education in Action

I just gave 10 reasons why we need to support arts education, but the proof that arts programs work is illustrated by the success of arts education programs in the real world. Recently I visited three schools in the Philadelphia, Penn., area in which the arts are making a huge difference both for individual fulfillment and academic success.
In one local suburban school district, which has a mixed ethnic and minority population, the arts are thriving. The district is committed to implementing arts education at all levels and makes the arts a priority for its students. Even in today's tough economic times, the district budget funds multiple teachers of the arts in every school.
At the elementary level, children in this district learn about well-known artists and their work, create their own artwork, and share their artwork on Artsonia, a website that describes itself as "the largest student art museum in the world." Every child in the district's middle schools has the opportunity to either play an instrument in a band or orchestra or be in a choral group.
Every year, the middle schools and high school produce student theatrical events that almost rival Broadway productions. Although this school district is not devoid of problems in other areas, its arts programs stand out as beacons of excellence that enrich student learning and help children succeed academically.
I recently observed another program in Philadelphia designed for returning dropouts. Students gain confidence that they can succeed and develop critical skills through participation in arts courses. Amazing student artwork hangs in the school's hallways and on classroom walls.
In another Philadelphia high school that I work with closely, students designed a beautiful mural for the library and they regularly compose music, hang their artwork throughout the building, and put on shows for parents and outsiders.

Give Students a Chance for Success

By reducing or eliminating the arts from our educational programs, we are reducing the likelihood of student success. We lose programs that motivate children and provide them with skills that help them succeed in school. We create an education system that "fails" more students. Our students lose a significant part of the educational experience that enriches their lives and helps them examine what it means to be human.
Teachers, boards of education, superintendents, principals, and the community all need to make a commitment to preserve and expand arts programs rather than reduce them. We can do this in many ways: train teachers how to incorporate the arts into their classes and curriculum; use members of the community and local arts organizations to help foster arts education; find grant funds to support the arts; and, ultimately, fund adequate numbers of arts educators in every school and every program.
Arts programs make a difference, and every child should have the opportunity to participate in a strong, multidimensional arts program. The reality is that the arts have a powerful influence on children and learning, and they can make a significant difference in children's lives. It takes understanding, commitment, communication, and hard work to make sure that the arts are an important and meaningful part of schooling. 
Copyright © 2013 by ASCD

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Romancing the Wind Video - A must-see!

This is truly amazing…have a look when you get a chance…
The guy flying the 3 kites is in his 80s, and he's from Canada. He comes to the Washington State International Kite Festival every year. His skin is like leather as he normally flies with his shirt off. He is deaf, so when he flies we hold our hands up and wave them for applause. He flies 2 with his hands and the 3rd one is attached to his waist. 
You must watch to the end to see the amazing landing of that last kite! I'm sure most of us would have those kites so tangled up, you could never get them separated again! And of course, make sure the volume is turned up because the music is wonderful and totally reflects the soaring of the kites.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Aren't teachers worth more than test scores?

I think so. So do others. Read on....

It truly underscores the folly of trying to measure teacher proficiency using test scores…

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Become a Detroit Future Schools Teacher!

Hello Everyone!

We are excited to invite all teachers to apply for one of the most transformative and effective professional development opportunities of a lifetime.

Detroit Future Schools needs innovative, passionate, committed teachers to apply here! Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The first round of applications will be reviewed in April 2013.

This is an open invitation to all educators in Metro-Detroit to apply for one of a few positions available for a year-long initiative to empower young people in our classrooms and communities by integrating the following into your classroom:
  1. Digital Media Arts
  2. Problem-Posing Pedagogy
  3. Community-School Interactions
  4. Documentation & Evaluation

Through your participation in this year-long program, you will be partnered with a digital media artist and you will explore several key questions:

  • What role can media and technology play in building Detroit's Future?
  • How can we ensure equitable access to the tools of information, creation and collaboration?
  • How can the integration of media and technology into the learning process increase student agency and connection to community?
For further information, please visit our website! Want to know what DFS might look like in a classroom? Take a look at this classroom visit in our youngest DFS classroom!

Here are some testimonies from the DFS Crew of 2012!

Feel free to share this information far and wide.

Thank You!

Ammerah Saidi
Detroit Future Schools Program Coordinator

Some teachers are like, “You Gotta change.” But how are you gonna change if no one steady on you?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gun training for teachers??

Gun-rights advocates say teachers can act more quickly than law enforcement in the critical first few minutes to protect children from the kind of deadly shooting that took place in Connecticut. (Associated Press)

Gun Group Offers Training for Utah Teachers

Cori Sorensen, a fourth grade teacher from Highland Elementary School in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training with a .357 magnum from personal defense instructor Jim McCarthy during concealed weapons training for 200 Utah teachers on Dec. 27 in West Valley City, Utah.
—Rick Bowmer/AP

West Valley City, Utah

English teacher Kevin Leatherbarrow holds a license to carry a concealed weapon and doesn't see anything wrong with arming teachers in the aftermath of the deadly Connecticut school shooting.
"We're sitting ducks," said Leatherbarrow, who works at a Utah charter school. "You don't have a chance in hell. You're dead—no ifs, ands or buts."

Gun-rights advocates in Utah agree and were offering six hours of training Thursday in handling concealed weapons for 200 Utah teachers in the latest effort to arm teachers to confront school assailants.

In Ohio, a firearms group said it was launching a test program in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers. The Arizona attorney general is proposing a change to state law to allow an educator in each school to carry a gun.

The moves come after the National Rifle Association proposed placing an armed officer at each of the nation's schools after a gunman on Dec. 14 killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

There are already police officers in some of the nation's schools. Parents and educators, however, have questioned how safe the NRA proposal would keep kids, whether it would be economically feasible and how it would alter student life.

Some educators say it is dangerous to allow guns. Among the dangers are teachers being overpowered for their weapons or students getting them and accidentally or purposely shooting classmates.

"It's a terrible idea," said Carol Lear, a chief lawyer for the Utah Office of Education. "It's a horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten idea."

Utah educators say they would ban guns if they could, but legislators left them with no choice. State law forbids schools, districts or college campuses from imposing their own gun restrictions.
Educators say they have no way of knowing how many teachers are armed. Gun-rights advocates estimate 1 percent of Utah teachers, or 240, are licensed to carry concealed weapons. It's not known how many do so at school.

Gun-rights advocates say teachers can act more quickly than law enforcement in the critical first few minutes to protect children from the kind of deadly shooting that took place in Connecticut.

"We're not suggesting that teachers roam the halls" for an armed intruder, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, the state's leading gun lobby. "They should lock down the classroom. But a gun is one more option if the shooter" breaks into a classroom, he said.

The council said it would waive its $50 fee for the training. Instruction will feature plastic guns and a major emphasis will be for people who are facing deadly threats to announce they have a gun and retreat or take cover before trying to shoot, he said.

"Mass shootings may still be rare, but that doesn't help you when the monster comes in."
At the class, teachers offered their fingerprints for a permit as an instructor in the "psychology of mass violence" kicked off the gun class.

Related Blog

"I just bought a bra holster," said Jessica Fiveash, a 32-year-old Utah teacher and wife of a retired Army sergeant who grew up shooting and said she had no hesitation packing a gun at school. "Women can't really carry a gun on their hip."

Utah is among few states that let people carry licensed concealed weapons into public schools without exception, the National Conference of State Legislatures says in a 2012 compendium of state gun laws.

Leatherbarrow said he often felt threatened while working at an inner-city school in Buffalo, N.Y., where he got a license to carry a pistol. He moved less than a year ago to Utah, where he feels safer.
But he said gun violence can break out anywhere. He said he was highly trained in handling guns—and was taking criticism from parents who don't appreciate his views on school safety.

"I'm in agreement not everybody should be carrying firearms in school. They're not trained. But for some parents to think we're cowboys, that frustrates me," he said. "I wish parents would understand."
Vol. 32, Issue 15

Monday, January 14, 2013

2 Pi: Rhymes And Radii

Heard this on the way in today. He was also profiled in the Washington Post a while back. Pretty awesome!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Interesting article to check out...

Education for Peace and Social Justice

By Vito Perrone

Remarks from Fourth Annual
Global Citizen Awards Ceremony, 1998

Dr. Vito Perrone was introduced by Deborah Meier, educational innovator and author of The Power of Their Ideas.

Deborah Meier

I've known Vito Perrone for more than 25 years. I met him when I was "just" a kindergarten teacher in a Harlem school. We met at a time when the brave and bold work being done by early childhood educators across the country, led by giants such as Vito and Lillian Weber, were confronting another reform movement heading in the opposite direction. This second movement was bent on a return to precisely the bad practices that had caused us to launch the progressive reforms of the '60s. The counter-attack came to us under auspices of the need for more accountabilitya very different concept of accountability than Vito and Lillian were championing.

Deborah Meier
Debbie Meier

In short, we were being challenged by proponents of standardized testing of five- and six-year-olds as the only fair measure of our work. Sound familiar? Fortunately, the attack was blunted by the outcry from parents in Head Start. But it made its mark. It didn't go away. I've just spent the day watching eleven-year-olds prepare for a test designed to fail most of themthe exam to get into the city's prestigious exam high schools. They're as bad, or perhaps worse, than ever, precisely because they make it harder, not easier, to be accountable to our own communitiesthe children, their families, and our fellow citizens.

Vito pioneered accountability in the best sensegiving an account of one's work to those whom one served. For the 20 years that I've been at this full-time, my friends and I have been fighting to embed a different picture of the learning human being than the narrow mechanistic picture at the heart of standardization. This different picture rests on acknowledging that our best learning takes place when it is most embedded in meaningful, satisfying, and joyous work where the extraordinary efficiency of the human mind to learn is not ignored, where ignorance is seen as a provocation to learn, not a hole to be filled.

We learn by the company we keep, including the books we read, the authors we are in conversation with. We learn from those we can imagine being with and wanting to beand in such a setting we are remarkable learners.

It turns out then that it's far more critical to encourage youngsters to enjoy reading than the hard-nosed realists and inventors of rigor have acknowledged. They've often bullied us into shying away from the word "joy"as though it were a fatal weakness, a romantic fallacy. Joy, they argue, isn't measurable.

We wearily accommodate to the latest fads at our peril. We can hold out only if there are heroes in our midst, like Vito. Vito has some kind of radar for staying the course, for ignoring fads, for sticking to old-fashioned language, for remembering our common history. He reminds me that our ideas are actually based on old verities, and the ones we're so alarmed about are actually the latest version of an old gamethe effort to do away with the orneriness of our fellow humans. But our orneriness is our glory. It makes us, in the end, hard to brainwash, hard to permanently subdue. It makes us ultimately human.

This current fascination with trying to make every schoolhouse like every otherreplicable reformwill soon pass. Vito's generous confidence in our ability to grow, our openness to change over time, and our toughness in the face of adversity makes it easier to go the course, to dig in for the long haul when necessary. That's how one feels when one leaves his presenceready to take on tough tasks. That's what has made him such a staunch ally, and someone that I've turned to over and over and over.

Vito was, as tonight's award reminds us, never "just" an American hero, or just a leader of educational reform. He was a leader in many other causes. He was a spokesperson on issues of justice and peace. He saw that a peaceable community could only survive if we learned to cherish each other's strengths and each other's differences. The very qualities of respect for others that make him so special as an educator make him special as a global citizen, as a man of all places and all times.

Vito leads quietly. On occasion one might not notice how firmly he sets the course and how demanding that course is. I'm told that Vito was a wrestler in his youth. At first I found it surprising and then I decided it's where he learned how to fight strategically, sometimes even sneakily; he disarms with his quiet and patience. He diverts our attention as he leads us down a better path.

While there are aspects of Vito that remain private and hidden, the friend and mentor I know is, I suspect, all of a piece, consistent in his demands on us all and on himself. Vito's life itself represents a standard of excellence, a standard by which so many of us in this room measure ourselves.

Vito Perrone:

Our Continuing Imperative: Education for Peace and Social Justice

I come before you as an educator and historian of education concerned about children and young people, their families and teachers, their communities and schools.

Vito Perrone
Vito Perrone

At the end of the last century, the newspapers and journals were full of accounts of progress, especially in relation to industry, technology, and commerce. The twentieth century was previewed as a time of peace and social justice. The new century obviously brought accelerated growth in various technologies and industrial output, but in so many of the things that truly mattered, issues of life and death and matters of the human spirit, the twentieth century has been on the other side of what was predicted. The ravages of war and human displacement, of great hunger and human suffering, have been of overwhelmingly unimagined proportions.

While the large and powerful nations have avoided in the past half-century a full-scale military encounter, the surrogate conflagrations and struggles with new nationalisms have been every bit as devastating as the earlier wars and a peaceful world seems far removed from the peoples of Kosovo, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Liberia, the Congo, Losotho, and the Middle East, and I have hardly covered the globe.

Additionally, the social and economic gaps are enlarging: hunger and inadequate medical resources remain a genuine threat for many millions of people, educational opportunity is far away for large numbers, and religious and political freedom and human dignity are not sufficiently the rule. Even in countries like ours, the economic disparities are growing, poverty is a way of life for too many, educational opportunities are far from equal, homelessness is all around us, and hatreds remain potent.

Our need in the years ahead, certainly in the coming century, is to make a break with those habits of mind, beliefs, and actions that have permitted such conditions to exist, that have left us as individuals and societies so impoverished morally, lacking the will and capacity it seems to imagine other, more equitable, more powerful, more generous possibilities.

Nobel Prize recipient and last year's Global Citizen honoree, Oscar Arias, made clear in this particular venue, as well as an earlier Harvard commencement address, that a willingness to take risks is always a prerequisite for change because the conventions, the constancies, are so deeply ingrained. He encouraged us in this regard: "Don't ever fear the risks you will have to take to build a different world ... [because] accomodation with the old world where you see violence and injustice, poverty and submission, offers no reward." I accept this premise for the world as well as for our educational institutions.

How might those of us who care about education, who still believe that we can educate for a more democratic and humane future, think about this? Let's put ourselves in the 1840s in the United States and hear again the evangelizers of the common schools describe these emerging institutions as settings in which "all of America's children could meet, democratic life could be nurtured, strong character built and economic and cultural growth guaranteed."

Listen to Horace Mann: "If we do not prepare children to become good citizens . . . imbue their hearts with the love of truth and duty, and a reverence for all things sacred and holy, then our republic must go down to destruction." We would do well to recapture some of that language, to consider our schools as democratic centers, with students and teachers aiming to make their communities and the world better places in which to live.

I believe with Carlos Fuentes, a Mexican writer and diplomat, when "we say justice, we say development, we say democracy; words won't bring them, but without the words, they will never exist." We need the words more than ever.

Unlike so many of his contemporaries at the turn of the century, John Dewey understood that the Industrial Age was producing changes that demanded an education of greater power, that had embedded in it a stronger moral tone, a more extended sense of citizenship, and greater community consciousness. How, he asked,would the growing excesses of individualism be moderated? How would the dignity of the human person be maintained in an economic system that fostered anonymity, alienation and materialism? We should be asking such questions today. Conditions are not so different.

"Be careful how you describe the world, it is like that."

In Dewey's terms, we need to see education as a critical path to imaginationthat distinctively human capacity to envision a world of greater potential. Because the world has been so violent doesn't mean that we can't imagine a world that is at peace, in which nations, like individual families, find ways to reach out to others in need, who see their well-being resting more fully on the well-being of others. We don't have to live all the zero-sum formulations. Moreover, because inequities have existed for so long doesn't mean they can't be moderated, even eliminated. To speak of imagination in these terms is to bring forward Erich Heller's often quoted admonition: "Be careful how you describe the world, it is like that."

I wish also to acknowledge Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, who has provided considerable intellectual inspiration for the work of the Center. As a contemporary of John Dewey, he expressed similarly provocative ideas. As he understood it, schools need to be places that nurture creativity, happiness, cooperation, a oneness of spirit, connected more fully to the world, to "real life activities." Makiguchi noted in relation to these aims: "I have to admit to myself that the results of this line of thinking may not be realized in my lifetime. Nonetheless, I have come to burn more and more with a fever to do something, and the sooner the better." That sense of burning for the better should be within all of us.

He wrote his first transnational, pacifist tract at the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. He was at it again as the militarist government began to mobilize in the 1930s. Faced with a requirement for silence about the dangers of militarist rule and demands for an education supportive of military expansion, Makiguchi chose to resist. His story, which culminated in death in prison in 1944, is inspiring, a symbol of moral courage. We know, by the way, large numbers of names of those who have directed various campaigns of war; we know far fewer of those, such as Makiguchi, who have given over the years voice to peace, to non-violence, to the resolution of conflict. An education for global citizenship and global responsibility should change that circumstance, making the peacemakers at least as important, as recognizable, as the warmakers. That, too, should be one of our imperatives.

The United States is often described as a "microcosm of the world." Mr. Ikeda, by the way, speaks of the U.S. as the "miniature of the world." Early in the next century, the majority of school-age students will come from Hispanic, Asian, African, and African American families. We should be celebrating the rich possibilities of this diversity, relishing our place as the crossroad of the world, where people of many nations are converging. The potential for learning would seem to be enormous. Our task is to make this American house work to the fullest for all who choose to live here. That could be, by the way, our greatest contribution to what is defined as global citizenship.

There are pressures to separate students by perceptions of ability, talent, or gift. Such separations, often called tracking, are a means of perpetuating inequities, pitting students against each other, mostly by race and classwhich are the primary determinants of academic groupings in the schools. They also lead us to accept the message of test scores rather than to go beyond them.

What if our children and young people learn to read and write but don't like to and don't? What if they don't read the newspapers and magazines, or can't find beauty in a poem or love story? What if they don't go as adults to artistic events, don't listen to a broad range of music, aren't optimistic about the world and their place in it, don't notice the trees and the sunset, are indifferent to older citizens, don't participate in politics or community life, and are physically and psychologically abusive to themselves? And what if they leave us intolerant, lacking in respect for others who come from different racial and social backgrounds, speak another language, have different ideas or aspirations? Should any of this worry us?

If we focused attention here, much might change. Schools might become places that ensure that children and young people possess the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that will enable them to change the world, to construct on their terms new paths. What if we asked in regard to everything done in our educational institutions, how will this help our students be in a position to change some aspect of the world? Such a focus would raise the stakes greatly. But we don't tend to ask those kinds of questions.

"Are students helping create a genuine commonwealth?

I ask often: Are our children being provided a basis for active participation in the life of their communities? Are they learning the meaning of social responsibility, of citizenship in the broadest sense? Are they gaining ongoing experience in helping make their communities better places to live? Are they adding something important, something lasting to their communities? Are they helping create a genuine commonwealth? When we don't keep such questions firmly in mind, making them a part of the ongoing discourse, schools tend to lose their potential for becoming the centers for inquiry, authority, and change they need to be.

When I think of schools and citizenship, I often go back to the work of Leonard Covello and his Benjamin Franklin Community School in the early part of this century. This New York City public school committed itself to preparing students to be in the world, seeing themselves as genuine stewards, as real citizens. It is not surprising that students at Benjamin Franklin were involved in citizenship training programs, established community libraries, designed and constructed neighborhood parks, worked on housing drives and land use studies, and conducted health surveys. Why isn't that the norm in our current schools?

As we move toward the twenty-first century, I wish we were in a better place socially and educationally. The democratic society we need and desire is not yet with us. There is still too much silence about matters of race and class. The languages and actions of fear and hatred, of self-consciousness and guilt, of privilege and discrimination remain with us, still needing to be better understood, spoken about, moved away from.

Our needs today, as they were at the beginning of the century, continue to rest around matters of equity and more supportive social and economic environments for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientatoin, language, or culture. The democratic society we need and desire is not yet with us. Education is not the whole of our future and the many imperatives that face us, but it is a central element.

What is the likelihood of schools actually serving students, families, and communities at more powerful levels? It is hard not to have a genuine sense of possibility kept alive when faced each day by the students that I am privileged to work with, whose intellectual and moral commitments are so large. When I add to that the many thoughtful teachers I see in our schools, and the parents I meet everywhere who are so devoted to an education filled with power and decency, and the young people I observe in the schools who are so caring and so responsible and crave a genuine education, even as they receive little support from adult society, my optimism soars.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Critical Exploration in the Classroom

Saw this article, which made me think of critical exploration in the classroom:

My sense is that one obvious link is the SEED program's professed use of "the Socratic Method'. What is fascinating to me is the length of time that the program has been around. One of the early premature 'understandings' of critical exploration some of my students had a was simplistic identification and with and mapping the Socratic Method approach to teaching onto critical exploration, or vis versa. The always grew out of this simplification but the linkage has long intrigued me nonetheless.

What is even more fascinating and interesting to me is how established the program is in the educational establishment! I am wondering if there is any potential for piggybacking T440 stuff into such an established program!

This work likely emerges from Magdalene Lampert’s work. Lampert has been at University of Michigan (though may be staying on in Boston now, where she has been on sabbatical this past year) and is one of, if not the, most well known figure/s in this area. Her book, Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching is quite well known among math educators. Eleanor knows her from her MIT days, I believe.
In Susan Mayer's book, Classroom Discourse and Democracy: Making Meanings Together, she distinguisesh between Lampert’s approach, which she cites as an example of what she calls co-led learning and critical exploration in the classroom, which she cites as an example of student-led learning.
I agree that we absolutely need to understand our links to this work in the world of mathematics. It is a deeply related line of research and practice.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Message from our Superintendent

I thought you might find this message interesting, especially as it relates to teacher evaluation. Enjoy!

A Message from Superintendent Joshua Starr

Description: Starr Portrait
Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you had a restful winter break and the New Year is off to a good start. I wanted to update you on the status of our Professional Growth System (PGS) and its alignment to changes in state law under the Race to the Top program.
In response to the Education Reform Act of 2010, approved by the Maryland General Assembly, and the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), approved by the Maryland State Board of Education, Montgomery County Public Schools, and the other 23 Maryland school systems, were required to submit a Teacher and Principal Evaluation (TPE) plan to the state superintendent of schools on December 26, 2012. The superintendent of schools, on behalf of the Montgomery County Board of Education, the Montgomery County Education Association, and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals, collaborated to revise and align the Professional Growth Systems for teachers and principals with the new statutory and regulatory requirements and submitted the plan to Dr. Lillian L. Lowery, state superintendent of schools, on December 21, 2012, for her consideration and approval.
Maintaining the integrity of our PGSs is critical. We cannot agree to any changes that would in any way jeopardize these systems. We have emphasized in previous communications to the state superintendent that our Teachers’ PGS is nationally recognized as a model because of its comprehensive assessment of teacher performance. We believe our exceptional student results are due in large part to the high quality of our professional workforce. We are able to maintain this top caliber workforce because of PGSs we have in place, which place emphasis on helping our employees improve their craft.
The new state regulations indicate that TPE performance evaluation criteria must:
  • be based on those measures mutually agreed to by the Local Education Agency and the exclusive employee representative;
  • yield, at a minimum, an evaluation of effective, highly effective, or ineffective;
  • address professional practice for teachers to include planning, preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibility;
  • address professional practice for principals to include the eight outcomes in the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework; and
  • measure student growth, which for teachers and principals:
    • should be a significant factor in the evaluation;
    • should be based on multiple measures; and
    • may not be based solely on an existing or newly created examination or assessment.
Montgomery County Public Schools did not agree to participate in the Race to the Top application that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) submitted to the United States Department of Education; therefore, we are not required to submit an evaluation plan that has a 50-50 split between professional practice and student growth measures for both teacher and principal evaluations. We are required to submit a plan in which student growth is a “significant component” in the evaluation. Another regulatory requirement is that teachers be evaluated each year for student growth measures and every three years for professional practice. The requirements for the TPE plan focus on classroom teacher and principal evaluations and not other certificated educators, which is why the terms teacher and principal are used throughout the submission to the state.
In response to the requirement to include student growth measures, we have committed to being more consistent in our use of data on student growth as a significant component of the evaluation systems and one of multiple measures. MSDE has defined student growth to mean “student progress assessed by multiple measures and from a clearly articulated baseline to one or more points in time.” In alignment with these requirements, we have identified how student and school progress will be delineated and utilized in the evaluation of teachers and principals. We have outlined how the student and school measures will be used as a significant component of the evaluation.
In response to the requirement of a three-tiered rating system, we have agreed to modify the Teachers’ PGS by proposing a four-tiered system including an “emerging category” as well as the “lead teacher” designation that will be attained through an application and selection process within the Career Lattice program. For principals, we have agreed to modify the current system and create a “highly effective” rating.
In response to the requirement of a three-year evaluation cycle, we have agreed to study next year how to modify the current Teachers’ PGS to address this requirement. We also have agreed to modify the principals’ evaluation system and limit the number of years between evaluations to no more than three.
We believe that the changes we have proposed will allow us to maintain the integrity of our PGSs. We also believe that we have met the statutory and regulatory requirements and are prepared to begin implementation for the 2013–2014 school year. A great deal of work will be required to incorporate student growth measures into our existing systems and to complete the development work. In addition, we will have to develop and implement a training plan. We must begin this work now. Therefore, it is imperative that the state superintendent of schools approves our plan as soon as possible.
It is important for everyone to understand that we have done what we believe we need to do to comply with the new requirements while maintaining the integrity of our PGSs. We have to work collaboratively to implement these changes to our systems while never losing sight of the complexity of our work to improve teaching and learning for every student every day.