Posts Tagged ‘
Chalkboard Project ’
The spring of 1978 proved to be a pivotal time shaping my career. These were the ten weeks I completed my student teaching at a small rural high school in Colton, Washington.
Fortunately, I was taught and mentored by a marvelous master language arts teacher, Diana Carlson. Our first meeting was memorable. “Mr. Jamison, I have good news for you. In the coming weeks you will become the Language Arts Department at Colton High School.”
With thirty-five years of distance and perspective since that spring, and wonderful experiences along the way, I am deeply grateful for the high expectations and rigorous regime framed by this fine educator. Diana required me to teach four different grade levels of high school English, business communication, a social studies class, and to assist in directing the high school play after hours. Working fifty to sixty hours a week, I planned, created, delivered, evaluated…breathed, ate, laughed, fretted and lived… with these students and classrooms consuming my life.
We all know the importance of strong induction and mentorship supports for our newest professionals. While I benefitted the following year from an equally strong teacher who mentored me in my first full-time teaching job in Independence, lately I have looked back on that experience in Colton for an entirely different reason. Increasingly, I am concerned we are not adequately serving and supporting Oregon’s rural schools. (more…)
What does my day look like at Tillamook Options Program School (TOPS)? Well, it is mind boggling—in a good way!
- It starts with teaching the expelled students in“0” Period on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 – 8:30 and mentoring meetings with a new teacher on Fridays 7:30 – 8:30. Tutoring students claims the rest of the week from 7:30 – 8:30.
- My day moves quickly to Home Room—I have home room of 10- 12 students (number varies) everyday for 45 minutes from 8:30 – 9:15. HIGHLIGHTS: I mentor and advise both academically and personally and teach leadership and teamwork.
- I teach Language Arts (grades 9-12), which I call the “Writing Club,” first and second periods Monday through Thursday. HIGHLIGHTS: I teach students who are emerging writers to write on a level where they can pass the state test, score high on the Compass test, and go to college.
- I teach Social Studies (government and world history this trimester) 3rd and 4th periods. HIGHLIGHTS: The class is completely differentiated and proficiency-based! While we have whole class lessons, each student is working at their own knowledge and ability level and pace. This takes tremendous planning time, and I am still learning and growing with it. (more…)
This post originally appeared on Huff Post’s IMPACT blog and can be read in its entirety here.
The recent passing of Margaret Thatcher signals the true end of an era — Thatcher, Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan all were powerful leaders in the 1980s. While Reagan is now known largely for his international agenda, his domestic policies remain a part of our national fabric.
The end of April will mark the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking “A Nation at Risk” education report issued during the Reagan Administration. No matter how one feels about Reagan’s viewpoints, there is no doubt the report’s stark introductory language is memorable:
“If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”
Thirty years on we are still struggling with those words and how we are failing students especially those who live in low-income neighborhoods.
The 1983 report kicked off a national education reform effort that picked up steam in many states. Massachusetts and Maryland in particular made great strides and now are considered to be the states with the highest education standards in the country.
Meanwhile, I must admit my state of Oregon has many great features but a strong K-12 reform agenda has not been one of them. On state report cards, we get an A for being bike friendly and an A+ for hazelnut production. But Education Week gives us a C on its report card and ranks us 43rd in the nation for education based on numerous factors including how we treat teachers. We received a D in the subcategories of accountability for quality and incentives and allocations.
I love statistics. As a former teacher of AP Statistics and a PhD candidate, I have had the privilege of using (and abusing) statistical analysis with the best of them. As a practicing classroom science teacher, I have had the privilege of introducing a great number of students to the fine arts of backing up an argument or an experiment with adequate data and statistical analysis. Used as a mathematical tool, statistics can be enlightening, even empowering; as a weapon, they are deadly and, as the old joke goes, half of the statistics ever collected are incorrect and the other two-thirds out-and-out lie! (My profound apologies to those readers who live and die by statistics; you know who you are!)
Of all the statistics I have processed in my role as professional educator and advocate for the education profession, the ones I have appreciated the most are derived from instruments like the MetLife Survey of the American teacher. I highly recommend this data set and subsequent analysis to anyone truly interested in an impartial examination of the state of education here in our nation. Much can be learned and inferred from the two-decade plus examination of data collected from teachers and principals throughout the United States. Indeed, twenty-nine years of non-partisan and non-political data has been collected from a “scientific” sampling of educators and administrations. I particularly enjoy executive summaries; they have a tendency to “cut to the chase” and distill out the highlights. This past year, 2012, is certainly no exception, with the primary issues associated with education and educational leadership being concerns that are totally beyond the control of any teacher or principal in her or his academic setting. (more…)
I know I have been in the teaching profession for a while because the pendulum is swinging back to where I started: the ‘90s. Just like a greatest hit, overplayed, buried and then resurrected, project-based learning (PBL) is seeing its resurrection. Project-based learning has been around for a while with a bulk of research done on its powers of motivation and higher level thinking done in the ‘80s. With the testing craze and research-based programs of the recent past, PBL was mostly shelved.
Unfortunately for today’s young people, PBL is what American kids needed all along. Recent technological innovations have made rote knowledge and the specific skill tasks demanded by our recent curricula almost obsolete. Now we can ask our phone what the capital of Delaware is or how many ounces are in a pound. What we can’t get from our phones are skills dished up in PBL.
PBL involves working with others to solve a relevant problem. There are skills to learn along the way, but the objective is a polished and presented product. Rolled into the project is the ability to work with others, discern what information is valid, and the critical thinking needed to solve a complex problem. (more…)
In the summer of 2012, Kaitlyn Delaney interned at Chalkboard Project between her junior and senior year at a Florida State University teacher preparation program. After Kaitlyn graduates this year, she will be teaching either elementary or special education in the Greater Boston area through Teach For America. She plans to teach past her two Teach For America years.
During my summer interning at Chalkboard Project, I spent time researching Teach For America. I knew that I had a campus recruiting job waiting for me back at Florida State University, where I would be completing the final year of my undergraduate career, but I was still unsure of whether or not I would be applying for the corps.
I was still unsure because a lot of the criticisms resonated with me. Here I was, spending two years in a teacher preparation program, but in my first two years of teaching, I would be working alongside college graduates who could have majored in biology or political science. How could we be held accountable to the same standards? I also worried about the “burn-out” rate I had heard about from a few vocal opponents of the program. These opponents stated that the five-week training did not adequately prepare corps members for the teaching profession, especially for the schools that TFA corps members are placed in. I was not worried about burning out, but I worried about any fellow corps members’ struggle. I did not want to see my peers consider themselves failures if they did not succeed in their classrooms right away. I wanted to be part of a program that inspires people to stay in the profession. (more…)
Dr. Andy Hargreaves, a name familiar to many in education policy and practice, spoke to a group of Oregon educators, academics, and business and nonprofit leaders in downtown Portland on February 4th of this year. As is often the case with education policy, the room had its fair share of curiosities, some preconceptions, and a mixture of confidence, humility, conviction, and reserve.
Dr. Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, has attracted significant support from across the globe. This is due, in no small part, to the fact that he considers educational philosophy and practice of countless countries and communities around the world to be absolutely significant. He brings with him both anecdotes and concrete data from his research and experiences. This is beneficial not just because it’s inherently valuable to pay attention to the world around us, but because this approach encourages us to look at education not by itself, but as one component of many. This is at the heart of Dr. Hargreaves’ particular rendition of “social capital.” (more…)
Nicholas Sowa is a fifth grade teacher at St. Mary’s Public School within the Mount Angel School District. He is the project manager for the Mount Angel School District CLASS Project grant and has been a teacher in the district for the past 6 years. He is currently enrolled at George Fox University in pursuit of administrative credentials. He also obtained his BS degree from Eastern Oregon University and MA in teaching degree from George Fox University. Nicholas plans to continue to offer his knowledge of teaching to students who speak English as a second language and ultimately obtain an administrative position in an elementary setting. Nicholas is supported by his wife of 12 years and three young children. He has a passion for creative instruction, empowering his students, and implementing technology in his classroom.
Through our work with the CLASS Project here in Mt. Angel we have had some interesting discussions focused on career pathways. In particular, our discussion continually touches on the fact that there is no “new money” within the foreseeable future. The task we are then charged with is how can we create creative career pathways for educators without adding to our already tight budget? Furthermore, how can we ask teachers to continually do more with less? (more…)
Educators throughout the nation and state are strengthening the profession by recruiting a more diverse and talented pool of candidates, improving preparation, and improving ongoing support for teaching and learning. We seek a more seamless, efficient and effective system. In this blog post I will specifically address two ways we are improving teacher preparation.
Portland State University and many other universities with high quality teacher preparation programs are making many changes in the clinical experience and two are of utmost importance. First, we are moving away from placing student teachers individually in random schools and classrooms to systematic and strategic “clustering” of four to eight student teachers in schools where they can gain an optimum clinical experience AND contribute to the success of the P12 students in the school. (more…)
Dr. Andrew Dyke is a Senior Economist at ECONorthwest. He specializes in program evaluation and applied microeconomic analysis. He develops and applies sophisticated econometric models for many policy areas, including crime, education and labor economics. His recent project work includes student achievement growth modeling for Chalkboard Project’s federally funded Teacher Incentive Fund grant, an evaluation of Oregon’s Employer Workforce Training Fund, and regional economic modeling for TriMet and the Puget Sound Regional Council.
We all know this: Improving education to promote student outcomes—academic, social, and otherwise—is hard work, and it requires risk-taking and experimentation to succeed. Unfortunately, it’s also all too easy for individuals—educators and researchers, alike—to assume that they have found the magic bullet, if only everyone would sit up and listen… As a result, the “next big thing” often gets oversold as proven technology, implemented too quickly, and frequently discarded before the final results are in. Good ideas as well as bad can suffer the same fate. (more…)