An effective school culture is established by the work we do together on a daily basis, with values determined through a synergistic process. Our culture defines us and our ability to positively impact students and their learning. So how do we truly shift our school cultures toward positive changes that align with supporting the whole child? And how do we develop a collective mindset that leads to dynamic changes and, ultimately, sustains school improvement?
Here is a mantra worth considering: Students first, than standards, than curriculum.
Post submitted by Paige Jaeger, coordinator for school library services with the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (N.Y.) Board of Cooperative Educational Services, and Sue Kowalski, president of New York State Library Association's Section of School Librarians, on behalf of whole child partner American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Connect with school library professionals on Twitter @AASL and the AASL Blog.
As school librarians, we love the Common Core State Standards. Its focus on rigor and relevance are commendable and necessary to educate the Millennial generation and help the United States become competitive in a global society. Across the United States, simultaneous with the launching of the Common Core standards is the requirement to have annual professional performance reviews (APPRs) defined for classroom teachers in order to meet Race to the Top (RTTT) criteria. It's RTTT that is this year's thorn in the flesh.
Until now, principals have been the overlooked constituency as states have sought to gain acceptance of the standards from rank-and-file classroom teachers while simultaneously working with district-level leaders to create systemic supports and reforms aligned to the standards.
Post written by Howard Adelman, PhD, and Linda Taylor, PhD, codirectors of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School Mental Health Project/Center for Mental Health in Schools. This post was originally featured on the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute blog, The Intersection.
When policymakers introduce another initiative for education reform, the press to implement the new initiative often draws attention away from other essential facets involved in improving and transforming schools. Currently, this is happening with the Common Core State Standards movement.
Efforts to revamp schools cannot afford to marginalize any primary and essential facet of what must take place at schools every day. As those who have followed the work of the Center for Mental Health in Schools know, we are moving efforts to improve schools from a two- to a three-component framework (PDF).
Post written by Karen McDaniels, an associate regional executive director for the Florida Department of Education where she provides literacy support to the most struggling schools in the South Florida area. Connect with McDaniels by e-mail at Karen.email@example.com. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.
One of the greatest joys for parents is to see their child graduate from high school and head off to college. However, realizing their child's first semester of college is provisional and may consist of remedial courses may rob a parent of their joy, not to mention their dollars. Unfortunately, for many high school graduates, remediation, at least, is the short-term reality: "One out of every three college freshman in four-year institutions needs remedial classes" (Goldman, House, & Livingston, 2011, p.3). As K–12 educators, we have an obligation to adequately prepare students to meet the demands of college upon entering. High schools especially must create a scholarly climate where sophisticated thinking is routinely stimulated through reading, writing, and discussion.
Teachers, students, and administrators are aware that any major changes to ESEA could have a huge effect on their school districts. Issues such as common core state standards and waivers are among the many policies that could be affected. Even without reauthorization, ESEA (currently known as No Child Left Behind, or NCLB) affects districts across the nation in numerous ways. Despite the issues ESEA presents, educators are still doing their part to ensure students get a good education.
ASCD and more than 25 other major education organizations (including several whole child partners), representing a wide array of subject areas, are promoting consensus recommendations for how federal education policy can better support subject disciplines beyond reading, math, and science. The recommendations are a response to proposals that could threaten schools' and districts' ability to provide students with a comprehensive education that prepares them to graduate from high school ready for success in college, careers, and citizenship, and that narrows the definition of such readiness to only the Common Core State Standards.
Post written by Naomi Thiers, associate editor, Educational Leadership
What would it take to make all the children we serve strong readers?
It's a bold question to ponder as you prepare for the coming school year. Sadly, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, U.S. students are not all strong readers. But authors in ASCD's Educational Leadership (EL) summer issue, "Strong Readers All," share stories of how they successfully helped all learners improve their reading skills—by using nontraditional approaches at every grade level.
What does "college and career readiness" mean? The Common Core State Standards suggest some clear and reasonable criteria. Consider the example of critical thinking. The Common Core documents suggest that students must be able to examine claims, arguments, and evidence and determine whether or not the evidence supports the claim. In addition, students should be able to advance arguments and support their ideas with evidence. The Common Core also places a heavy emphasis on informational writing, a need highlighted by college professors frustrated by the poor writing skills of even high-achieving high school students.
Discover the kinds of formative and summative classroom assessments that best coordinate with the new generation of testing consortia for the Common Core State Standards. Join ASCD author Susan Brookhart in a discussion of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments and discover how to create classroom assessments that form a balanced system that supports student learning and aligns to the Common Core State Standards.