Technology and analtyics are increasingly shaping our interatctions with government, companies and each other. Without an understanding and appreciation of what's going on 'behind the curtain', it will be impossible to be good and effective citizens, consumers and employees. Yet, very few students leave high school knowing how to write even a simple bit of computer code or with an understanding of even basic probability. Learning to create a PowerPoint presentation or build an Excel worksheet is not sufficient background in computer science and statistics is are more useful and immediate than trig or calculus. The beauty is that both computer programming and statistics are relevant to every field of study and could be incorporated in ways that deepen students' appreciation of their fields of interest while imparting critical skills and knowledge at the same time.
It seems that the current Special Education program is very rigid. It is not flexible at all and it is my impression this is mandated by the school district. I would like to be able to collaborate with the special education team to have my students receive support that is connected to what we do in the classroom. The current lack of continuity is very frustrating and a change would be a "game changer!"
I promise not to post any more ideas (at least not tonight...)
If a teacher or teachers are being highly successful with a technique, curriculum or intervention, does the district know who they are and what they are doing? Since we have a limited amount of time with our students we need to make every minute count with the most effective instruction possible. We test our students many ways MSP, MAP, MBA. The district can analyze this data to see where students are making the greatest gains. They can observe or interview these teachers to find out what they are doing that makes them more successful. Is it something that can be implemented easily, then share it. Help teachers apply it. The more we can share and work together, the better off we are.
I don't see the district currently doing this. For example, when I started teaching 5th grade our science MSP scores were low. I met a 5th grade teacher at a different school and found out that test scores were high at her school. I asked her what she did. She graciously sent me her binder of engaging experiments they had developed at her school. It was a great help to us. We have since added our own experiments, homework assignments, and developed science units. Our students have improved every year but we have never been asked what we do or had a way to share it.
I am sure there are lots of similar success stories to ours out there whether it be how to best communicate with families, get kids to learn their multiplication facts, do their homework, improve their writing skills. Who is doing well and what are they doing?
For years I have lamented the lack of involvement in PTA activities of our Hispanic and other non-native parents and families. Now Hispanic students are a sizeable proportion of our school population. I would like to find ways to help them feel more comfortable coming to school and participating in events. We currently have a family liaison who speaks Spanish which is great, but I would like to do more. Last year we made a concerted effort to welcome Vietnamese families but it fell a little flat. I am wondering what other schools are doing on this front.
There are so many studies that prove that when kids have access to arts education: music, visual arts, performing arts, test scores improve. When children are engaged they are more likely to stay in school and do well. Not every child in engaged by playing sports or doing homework. Access to the arts allows more kids to succeed by encouraging their talents and sustaining involvement. This is not a budget issue, as there are many talented professionals and organizations within our community who would volunteer to bring more arts education into the schools. This is an issue about time and importance. The district needs to make arts education a priority within the curriculum so that we can create stronger schools, better students, and a more successful school district.
I think this will encourage the children to actually eat their lunch verses putting it aside to run out and play. Probably not game changing, but this might allow the children to increase their nutritional intake and ability to focus the second half of the day.
We need tutoring for all students no matter what income level they are at. If a student is struggling it should not matter if their parents do not qualify for free or reduced lunch, they should be given the extra help.
I don't know the cost of the edline system and probably don't want to know. It was undoubtedly a sizable investment and there are teachers and schools that do not make full use of it. As it stands, it is a prop that the district can point to and claim that parents are aware and informed of their child's progress.
Unfortunately, some teachers don't use edline at all or only update it once or twice a quarter. If it isn't going to be used universally and regularly then save money and dump the system.
We have many undocumented student immigrants in our schools through no fault of their own. Why not devise a plan where these students can earn their citizenship while in high school as part of the national immigration reforms?
I think the ESL programs are wonderful, but it is a disservice to children who only speak English not to also teach them a second language begining at the elementary level (Spanish being the obvious choice). These children will be at a disadvantage once they graduate as they have not started learning a second language at an early age. As our country becomes increasingly bilingual they will lose out on job opportunities as a result of not being bilingual. I believe this is an equity issue that needs to be addressed.