I wanted to make the most of my last post and touch briefly on 4 steps that I think are critical when launching a personalized learning initiative. This list isn't comprehensive, but I've yet to see a program succeed that didn't take these 4 steps along the way.
Decisions about data are fundamental to the process of defining and addressing student needs, but, from my recent conversations, school leaders often feel like they're drowning in it. Introducing personalization into the classroom necessitates protecting student information first and foremost. So how can a school ensure that students stay protected and still see the benefits of personalized instruction?
A new study in Educational Technology Research and Development examined how teachers integrate technology into their classrooms and how the professional development they receive supports that. In an ironic twist, the teachers reported that the training on this new technology (which would ostensibly allow them to personalize their classes more easily) was too formal and not personalized to the teachers' needs! So how does a principal avoid becoming a victim of habit and give personalized learning a real opportunity to succeed?
For the last few years, I've spent much of my time exploring how to help teachers and school leaders bring effective personalization to their students. Today, discussions of personalization seem to be focused on the specific challenges (and the promise) of the enabling technology. Understandably so. But as we're getting back into the familiar rhythm of buses and morning bells, I think it's helpful to step back and consider just how different a "personalized" approach can be.
As a proud NEA member and a US Department of Education Fellow, the most difficult part of my summer was watching my colleagues vent their serious frustrations at both the Secretary of Education AND their own NEA leadership. Neither side is the "bad guy" as both are depicted (depending on the lens through which you view education). But both sides have been wrong at some points and need to come together and be willing to change things based on common ground. So, where do we start?
This morning at 8:30am, I will be at Miller Park Elementary collecting a summer's worth of delayed hugs, commenting on shiny new shoes, and guiding skittish newbies to their classroom. Miller Park sits in a high crime area of Omaha, but we are knocking it out of the park in student learning, sports, and attendance. So why are we so successful while others struggle to achieve?
Yesterday I started at the 50,000 foot level talking about systemic change. Today, I want to get a bit lower and go into more detail about what needs to be changed and by whom. So let's start with an easy one - tenure (I know, I am so funny!).
What I'm going to share this week is the view I've had this summer as a teacher who has traveled between many professional worlds. I've talked with colleagues across the country, worked at the US Department of ED, participated as a delegate at the NEA annual meeting, and learned with the nation's best at the National Network of State Teachers of the Year annual conference. Let's start at the 50,000 foot level with "The System."
In education, we often hear that teachers are a crucial ingredient, and research shows that teachers are the most important school-based influence on student achievement. If teachers' presence in the classroom matters so much, shouldn't we pay more attention to teachers' absences? Let's look at three reasons to do so.
The Community Preventive Services Task Force's latest recommendations focus on two types of interventions: High School Completion Programs and Out-of-School-Time Academic Programs. Because academic achievement is linked with long-term health, implementing the recommended programs with fidelity and vigor in racial and ethnic minority or low-income communities is likely to improve health equity.