Tagged “Reducing Barriers And Expanding Opportunities”

Melissa Mellor

Teachers and Principals Can’t Do It Alone

"As long as some children are routinely assigned the least-prepared teachers, attend schools in disrepair, make do with outdated technology and instructional materials, and have limited access to a broad and rich curriculum, our nation is still at risk," writes ASCD Executive Director and CEO Gene R. Carter in his recent column.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Leveling and Raising the Playing Field

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Addressing students' needs levels the playing field. Or rather, addressing students' needs is only leveling the playing field. If a child is hungry, then the need can be addressed by providing breakfast, lunch, and assistance as needed. The same applies if the child is unwell. Many schools have made great strides in addressing students' needs, but some schools have gone further. They have taken an issue that was initially a need and used it to enhance and improve what the school offers.

Milwaukie High School, part of North Clackamas Schools in Milwaukie, Oregon, and winner of the 2013 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award, is an outstanding school where each student is engaged in literacy, inspired by their cultural diversity, and ready for active citizenship. Milwaukie's staff works tirelessly to improve their students' academic, social, and emotional growth; to expand their educational practices; and sharpen the administration's focus on staff professional development, all to meet the needs of the whole child.

In this episode, hosts Sean Slade and Donna Snyder and our guests discuss how to meet students' and staff's needs, taking challenges and turning them into opportunities for all. You'll hear from

  • Mark Pinder, principal;
  • Michael Ralls, assistant principal for curriculum;
  • Tim Taylor, assistant principal for student management;
  • Donnie Siel, dean of students; and
  • David Adams, teacher leader (English and language arts).

How has your school or community taken a challenge and turned it into a win?

Klea Scharberg

Throughout April: Principal Leadership

Principals are the key players in developing the climate, culture, and processes in their schools. They are critical to implementing meaningful and lasting school change and in the ongoing school-improvement process. Principals who have a clear vision; inspire and engage others in embracing change for improvement; drive, facilitate, and monitor the teaching and learning process; and foster a cohesive culture of learning are the collaborative leaders our schools need to fully commit to ensuring each student—and school staff member—is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Join us throughout April as we look at what qualities principals in today's (and tomorrow's) schools need to fulfill their roles as visionary, instructional, influential, and learning leaders.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Student Voice: How a Community School Became an Oasis in South Central Los Angeles

Post written by Martin J. Blank and Ryan Fox, Coalition for Community Schools

Kevin Valiencia

Walking through the halls of John C. Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles with senior Kevin Valiencia, one finds an unexpected inner city public school in one of the most maligned neighborhoods in the country.

A climate of cooperation, enthusiasm, unity, and endless possibilities permeate throughout school. A strong juxtaposition with the surrounding community in which neighborhoods blocks apart from each other are often at war. Kevin himself has seen a friend stabbed, drive-by shootings, and police raids near his home.

It's not that the troubles found in other schools don't exist inside Fremont. Less than 40 percent of its students graduate in four years and test scores still lag behind state averages. But the angst and conflict found in many other struggling urban schools is minimal at Fremont. The suspension rate at Fremont is far below the rates at other high schools in the district. While the dropout rate is still very high, those numbers are gradually improving. Nearly 85 percent of those that did graduate in 2009 and 2010 continued on to a postsecondary education.

"There's unity (at Fremont)," Kevin said. "We're all in this together."

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John Farden

Giving Our Kids an Early Start to Success

John Farden - Save the Children

It is our favorite time of the day, right after the nightly bubble bath, just before bedtime—snuggled up in our rocking chair with a pile of story books.  As far as my 20-month-old son knows, this time is all about cuddling, telling stories, singing songs, and having fun. But I know better. The truth is, I am giving him an invaluable gift—a head start towards success in kindergarten, grade school, high school, then college and a career.

Despite our busy schedules, my wife and I have read to our son nearly every night of his young life. We do this because we have read the parenting books and research that say it is what we are supposed to do. But we also do it because we both have parents who instilled in us the value of education, starting by reading with us when we were very young.

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Fred Ende

Exceeding Needs Through a Partnership Perspective

As a coordinator of science for a number of districts in the northern suburbs of New York City, I have the opportunity to work with schools with a tremendous array of needs. For some, finances are the primary culprit in educational challenges they face. In others, high populations of language learners or mobile student populations make it difficult to provide for each and every student. In still other cases, a combination of factors makes meeting student needs an uphill battle.

What's the common denominator? That every district, especially in today's educational climate, is facing drastic challenges. What's different is how districts and schools are dealing with those challenges. Are they embracing and working through them? Or are they brushed under the carpet, in hopes that "magical thinking" will take care of everything?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Oregon High School Honored with ASCD’s Vision in Action Award

Vision in Action

ASCD is honored to present Milwaukie High School, located in Milwaukie, Ore., with the 2013 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. This special award recognizes schools that move beyond a vision for educating the whole child to actions that result in learners who are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, civically active, artistically engaged, prepared for economic self-sufficiency, and ready for the world beyond formal schooling.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Where Are We Going and Why?

Post submitted by Andy Hargreaves and Pasi Sahlberg

We are entering an age of post-standardization in education. It may not look, smell, or feel like it, but the augurs of the new age have already arrived and are advancing with increasing speed. [This] "Fourth Way" pushes beyond standardization, data-driven decision making, and target-obsessed distractions to forge an equal and interactive partnership among the people, the profession, and their government.

—Andy Hargreaves, The Fourth Way, 2009

Educational systems across the globe are under pressure to change. Many countries are focusing attention on additional accountability, school choice and competition, short-term outcomes, and data-driven decision making (what have been called the "second" and "third" ways). Many high-performing countries and systems, however, are reexamining their structures and policies to move toward greater collective professional autonomy from bureaucratic control, stronger active involvement of local communities, and diversified teaching to respond to today's widely varying populations of learners. This "fourth" way of educational reform heralds the next stage for educational improvement—a movement which reverts educational authority back from centralized bureaucracies to educators and communities, diversifies skills and content taught to suit each community and context, and is driven by the inspiring and also basic belief that there are skills and aptitudes that are just as critical as content knowledge.

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Klea Scharberg

Throughout March: Reducing Barriers and Expanding Opportunities

Addressing students' needs levels the playing field. Or rather, addressing students' needs is only leveling the playing field. If a child is hungry, then the need can be addressed by providing breakfast, lunch, and assistance as needed. The same applies if the child is unwell. Many schools have made great strides in addressing students' needs, but some schools have gone further. They have taken an issue that was initially a need and used it to enhance and improve what the school offers.

Join us throughout March as we look at schools that have taken a deficit and turned it into an asset. Some schools have used connections formed into and across the community to enhance and build on what they first envisaged. Other schools are forming alliances to improve a specific situation, and have then used those same alliances to improve the entire school. How has your school or community taken a challenge and turned it into a win?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Common Core Standards for Learning Supports: Looking for Feedback from All Concerned about Equity of Opportunity

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).

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