Guest Pedro Noguera, from New York University, kicks off the episode by describing how society's inequalities have a significant effect on schools but stressing that schools shouldn't be the sole solution for addressing those inequalities. He says that the United States should take a cue from countries like Canada, Holland, and Singapore that have policies in place to broadly support children. Noguera also claims that efforts like universal preK, health care for all children, and extended learning time can bolster school efforts to reduce inequities and help all children learn.
Next, Yvette Jackson, executive director of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, describes the importance of building the confidence of urban schools so that they truly believe in all students' potential to achieve at high levels. She says this requires them to break free from marginalizing, unsupportive policies that focus on weaknesses and deficits instead of strengths and possibilities. Once schools embrace the belief in the ability of students to learn, Jackson says, schools can put in place strategies and practices based on higher expectations and can help students understand how learning connects to their success in the world outside of school.
New Leaders for New Schools—an alternative preparation program for principals—has been in the news a lot lately because CEO Jon Schnur has been mentioned as a possible player for President Obama's education team. This episode of the Whole Child Podcast closes with New Leaders for New Schools graduate Tatiana Epanchin, principal of Monarch Academy in Oakland, Calif., who describes how she helped Monarch become recognized as the most improved school in the state last year. Among other efforts, Epanchin uses data to empower—not punish—teachers and spends a majority of her time in classrooms providing students and teachers with feedback. The school has improved its API score by 150 points, is meeting AYP, and was named a U.S. Department of Education Title 1 Distinguished School. Even better, Monarch students are becoming critical thinkers, excellent writers, and articulate presenters.
Do you know of any urban districts or schools that have efforts in place to support the whole child? Are these districts or schools seeing results?
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