In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life.
The mandate to get K–12 students reading more informational texts is the feature of the Common Core State Standards that has stirred up the most complaints. Bringing more nonfiction reading into students' lives will require many educators to stretch a little—from English teachers who love to inspire others through their favorite poems to science teachers accustomed to relying on textbooks to kids whose reading of choice is fiction, fiction, and more fiction. The November 2013 issue of Educational Leadership shows how to creatively make this stretch and how to help students think of nonfiction as challenging and fun.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer believes it starts with finding texts that present engaging style and content, rather than texts that hide "the good stuff." Kids need to be exposed to the best nonfiction and given the skills to delve deeply into it.
As part of the school team, school social workers share the goal of ensuring that all students receive a high-quality education. We work with students and their families to address personal, family, and societal issues that create obstacles for learning. The adoption of the Common Core State Standards will create a strong foundation for school social workers in our mission to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for all students.
Educators today face many exciting challenges: preparing students for life and careers in the 21st century and helping every student overcome obstacles and experience the joy of learning. To meet these challenges, every teacher and every administrator must work together within their schools and across schools, breaking free of their silos and collaborating. Just as principals can no longer stay in their offices, administrating behind closed doors, teachers also cannot seal themselves inside of their classrooms.
Research proves that when teachers collaborate effectively to analyze student performance, create interventions for struggling students, and continue their own professional learning, they can increase their efficacy. When principals empower teachers to do what they know is best for kids, children learn more and teachers find more satisfaction in their work. Collaboration creates a win-win-win situation for students, teachers, and administrators.
My name is Sandi Lauzon and I am the vice principal at Byrne Creek Secondary School responsible for technology. I try to attend the Computer Using Educators of British Columbia (CUEBC) conference every year, as it is without a doubt the best way to connect with like-minded educators who ultimately leave you inspired by the techno-risks they have taken in their classrooms. Their stories of innovative practices always start with a passion to shift learning and teaching in a new direction, but more often than not they include bureaucratic hiccups; creative work-arounds; young heroic teachers willing to take risks; and students who adapt, engage, learn, and, ultimately, teach us all.
At the end of the conference, I like to mill about and catch up with colleagues from other districts. With my iPad in hand, I asked one of the board members how the iPad Inquiry project was going. CUEBC lends out 11 iPads to teachers to use in their classrooms for a month at a time, and I had been following the project online. As it turned out, the iPads did not have a home for the following six weeks and I left the conference with them and a lot to think about before Monday morning. In my role at Byrne Creek, I had already been looking at how the iPad could be used with our English language learners, and now we had the opportunity to justify a purchase of 20 iPads if this pilot project was successful. All we needed was a passionate teacher with the skills to move beyond the apps, who could embrace the iPad as a powerful tool for student learning and was not afraid to jump in and explore the potential of the iPad as means of engaging, creating, and communicating.
Helen Erickson, without dipping her toe in to test the water, accepted the challenge and jumped right in. Here is her story.
Post submitted by Laida Falsetto and Mirella Gargiulo
Byrne Creek Secondary School has been and continues to be creative and flexible in designing varying programs to meet the needs of our current population. Over 60 percent of our student population does not speak English as their first language. As a result, we have worked innovatively to develop programs and activities that pave a way for individual success and celebrate diversity. But what is success? What makes someone successful? How do you know if you or your students have achieved success? These questions help guide our program development and are the building blocks that we use to create our classroom community each year.