Posts Tagged ‘
professional development ’
We asked readers which Distinguished Educators Council recommendation they thought would have the biggest impact on making Oregon a great place to teach.
42 readers answered:
- Provide meaningful, ongoing evaluations of teachers that contribute to improved teaching practices and increased student achievement. (24%, 10 votes)
- Ensure that Oregon’s teachers can address the needs of diverse students. (24%, 10 votes)
- Ensure personalized professional learning opportunities tailored to teachers’ needs and the students they teach. (21%, 9 votes)
- Emphasize classroom experience and effective mentors in teacher preparation. (17%, 7 votes)
- Establish new leadership opportunities and career pathways for the most effective teachers. (14%, 6 votes)
As you can see, the results were pretty close. Providing meaningful and ongoing evaluations and ensuring that Oregon’s teachers can address the needs of diverse students were tied for the most votes. Below you can read a little about what the DEC is doing to move forward their recommendations: (more…)
You can read these words because someone taught you how to read.
You can do your job because over the years, everyone from your kindergarten teacher to your college professor to your mentor taught you how.
We become the people we are, as Mr. Rogers said, because of the people who loved us into being. In schools—big and small, city and rural—across Oregon, the love and dedication of thousands of teachers help millions of students become the people they will be. Scientists. Mechanics. Engineers. Doctors. Farmers. Inventors. And yes, teachers.
Take a moment and think about one teacher who helped you become who you are.
Not to brag, but our new video predicts the future, and we’re pretty proud of it. Check it out below.
Portions of the following essay were printed in “The Oregon Science Teacher” in their pre-conference edition in September, 2010. The theme of the conference was “The Pursuit of Excellence in Science Teaching.” Allan Bruner was the Conference Chair and Past-President of the OSTA when this essay was initially written. He currently serves this chapter affiliate of the National Science Teachers Association as the Comptroller.
Webster’s Dictionary defines “excellence” as:
The quality of being excellent; state of possessing good qualities in an eminent degree; exalted merit; superiority in virtue.
When we think about our roles in the science classroom, is this our perspective? What is it that we are doing and thinking about as we prepare our lesson plans, as we consider how best to differentiate our instruction to meet the needs of all learners, irrespective of learning styles, and as we think about assessment methods? Are we pursuing “excellence” in our professional lives, striving to be the best science teachers we can be? (more…)
Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon’s new Chief Education Officer, spoke at the Grantmakers Conference in Eugene on October 17th. About sixty representatives of Oregon foundations heard him suggest where Oregon should focus its energies and resources to help students grow and achieve—making sure all students can read by third grade, promoting STEAM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), better training and supporting teachers, and supporting stronger parent and community connections with schools.
As I listened it occurred to me that education officials and advocates know how to advance in all four of these areas. There are proven programs for teaching reading and raising literacy. There are effective models for engaging students in meaningful STEAM instruction and activities. There are traditional and non-traditional programs that are better equipping teachers to be successful in the short and long-term. There are exemplars in building relationships between parents and schools. We have a pretty good idea how to do all this; perhaps not with unquestionable certainty, but with enough confidence to move forward. We lack just one resource. (more…)
When Chalkboard applied for a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant after funding and implementing the CLASS Project privately for four years, we did so knowing that there would be certain strings that came along with federal funding.
Those strings, while limiting Chalkboard’s autonomy, have also allowed us, and our six partner school districts, to participate in the national conversation about education effectiveness. The ability to influence thinking beyond our state is especially important as the federal government looks to redesign the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind) and prioritizes spending on certain initiatives over others.
Chalkboard’s CLASS program established a solid foundation for our participation in TIF. CLASS is a comprehensive model for supporting the professional growth of educators. TIF adds emphasis to the compensation component of CLASS, but it does not do away with the other three components: educator evaluation systems, career paths, and professional development. We strongly believe that educators need comprehensive supports. Our TIF districts are meeting the federal requirements around incentives for educators while demonstrating the power of systemic, teacher-designed models. TIF does not require that teachers be deeply involved in the design and implementation of the models, but having teachers and administrators at the table together is a foundational component of the CLASS Project.
Sharon Baum spent thirty-three years in public education as a physical and health education teacher, a school counselor, an assistant principal and principal. She has worked in several districts in Oregon and taught high school in Winterhaven, California. She retired in 2010, and finished her career with the North Marion School District as the principal at North Marion Middle School from 2000-2010.
Alex Haley said that folks like to hear a story over hearing a lecture. He shares that you should start out by saying “I have a story to tell.” People like stories. I would like to tell my story.
I was a middle school administrator for 16 years. Two of those years were as an assistant principal, and the remaining 14 years as a principal. Prior to that, I had been a teacher and a counselor. I went into administration because I wanted to be a teacher of teachers, and I felt that the time I spent as a counselor helping teachers with students and observations would benefit me as an administrator. I felt I had a good foundation in observational skills and I loved to observe teachers teaching, and help out where I could in improving the delivery of curriculum. I kept abreast of all the teaching strategies through professional development activities, workshops and books, and felt I had a good handle on how to help others be the best they could be. I also loved having conversations with students about the importance of learning and finding their niche to embrace their own style of learning.
I had lunch recently with an American friend working in Singapore. I explained to him how I conduct an international trade simulation with my economics students, and in the simulation, Singapore is one of the economic powerhouses. I asked him about the Singapore government, and whether it helps or hinders economic growth in that city-state.
He replied that government is one of Singapore’s strengths. How do they do it, I asked, when in much of the world government is viewed, at worst, as helplessly corrupt, and at best, inept.
It’s simple, he said. The Singapore government pulls the best and brightest from their high schools, sends them all over the world for top-notch higher education, then obligates them to serve in the government in exchange for the education, albeit with handsome salaries and benefits. The education, he explained, is to keep candidates beholden to the state, while the salaries are to keep them content and above reproach. The result, he suggested, is one of the most efficient and effective governments in the world.
Interesting model. Why not apply it to education?
Why can’t we fix the teacher evaluation system? Maybe our newest tool, the 2010 Model Core Teaching Standards from the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Committee (InTASC) will be the fix. These standards, adopted as the evaluation tool for graduates of Oregon Colleges of Education and the proposed basis for teacher evaluation in all Oregon school districts, may help. The process, though, can have both positive and negative consequences.
First, the positive. A set of “professional practice standards, setting one standard for performance that will look differently at different developmental stages of the teacher’s career” (Council of Chief State Officers, Model Core Teaching Standards, p.1) can develop a common language for K-12 educators and teacher preparation programs. Such a common language would be helpful to the many mentor teachers who so carefully guide our novice teachers through their first student teaching experiences. Right now we in the Colleges of Education have forms that reflect TSPC (Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, the licensing agency) requirements with descriptors that often do not parallel those used in the daily practice of classrooms. How much better it would be to have the new teacher, the veteran teacher, and the university supervisor speaking the same language.
The standards for judgment also could become clearer if those standards reflected “stages of development.” Instead of the student teacher equating the evaluation scale with a grade (“I want a 6 because that means an A”), the scale could reflect teachers’ growth process as an educator. Too many people assume that, because both the new and the veteran teacher have job descriptions that are exactly alike, all teachers at initial licensure will perform exactly like a more veteran teacher. While more years of service do not guarantee greater proficiency, allowing for well-described and well-understood standards of development should open doors to better evaluation and enhanced professional development. Just as state standards for curriculum have allowed for a more common understanding among teachers of what an average third grader or tenth grader should know, the application of these standards can allow better conversation about teachers’ work.
Now, the negative.
I love reform. I’m excited that as a state and nation we are looking at making changes to public education. But sometimes in moving forward, it’s good to look back.
I’ve been moved to look back at my earlier career by the publicity around Jose Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and product of the California middle school where I taught. I’ve been thinking about the Jose days (mid-90s) and the staff and organization of that school. Of course, he is only one student, but there were many new immigrant kids who did quite well there. So what were we doing there that worked?
One thing that we did have was lots of faculty communication across the grade levels. I taught an intense and rigorous program partly because it was jointly developed by all the teachers on the 5th grade team. We met every Wednesday during prep, opened our plan books and shared. As a 5th grade teacher in a 5-8th grade school, I was reminded in staff meetings and in passing about where kids needed to be in order to be successful in later grades. There was a mindset that we were preparing kids for college. It helped that we were a Silicon Valley school sitting in the shadow of Yahoo, Netscape and SGI, where innovation and hard work were cultural norms in the neighborhood.
The summer weather has finally arrived in Oregon and summer vacation is in full swing. Some kids are camping, some are at summer camp. Many teachers are taking a much-needed break, while others are enrolled in summer courses.
Summer vacation has been a tradition in the United States since the mid-19th century, but as the students of the United States fall behind in reading, math and science, the trend towards year-round education is gaining momentum. Is it possible that summer vacation is a tradition that is doing more harm than good for our children? Could year-round school be the key to improving our struggling public education system?
Public schools in the United States haven’t always had a long summer vacation; in fact, in the 1800s different areas of our country had different school schedules. In the city schools were open as many as 48 weeks a year while rural areas had a summer and winter term for school and a fall and spring break allowing children to help with planting and harvesting on the family farm. In the 1840s, popular educational reformers like Horace Mann proposed a blending of the two schedules citing the belief that year-round school was over-stimulating to children’s minds, but that 2 semesters wasn’t enough. And so it was. The “traditional” calendar was born: a 9 month school year with a long summer break. (Source)