Message from…Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody
FINDING OUR WAY BACK TO THE MIDDLE
Seems everyone is seeking a more reasonable balance to life. As the pendulum swings in our education world, we have gone from teacher created expectations to high stakes testing. We seem to have a hard time finding the middle, something more reasonable, something more balanced.
CHECKING FOR MASTERY is important. But, giving students lots of high-stake standardizing tests is not the only way to check for mastery. Student exhibition of their work or product should be valued at the same or higher level. And, students should have lots of opportunity for feedback on their work without fear of failure.
TECHNOLOGY DEVICES, SOFTWARE, AND THE INTERNET can provide information, clarity, and help us personalize education. But, students also need hands-on, direct instruction, and opportunities to work collaboratively to solve problems and produce authentic products. We need to be sure we provide a variety of ways to learn new material.
CHOICE in how a student presents their learning is motivational. But, clear direction and a focus on the standard helps students organize their thoughts. When we give students more choices about the ways in which they can demonstrate mastery, we make opportunities to demonstrate unlimited learning.
COMMON CORE STANDARDS provide us with learning goals that students need at each grade level. But, the number of standards in each subject is too many. We need to prioritize the essential standards that will bring the most value and spend more time on fewer standards. Focusing on the essential standards allows us to concentrate on timeless learning elements.
GRADES can help a student and their parent understand where the student ranks. But, students need to have their work critiqued from more than just their teacher. Peer critique is much more realistic to the work world. And learning to critique and accept criticism can be very valuable. This is a skill that actually needs guidelines and practice. Self-critique is equally important.
FINALLY, SEEING THE BEAUTY IN THE WORLD, making friends, giving service to others and just breathing in needs to be a part of everyday. Learning to be a kind person might just be what is needed most in this world.
I’m not for “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” But, I am for trying to find our way back to the middle.