As school districts actively pursue the goals of their strategic vision, they tend to look outward for a spark of innovation. Unfortunately, there is a limit to the amount of “new” a system can take. It is common, within a single district, there can be multiple initiatives happening at once. Over-indexing new initiatives can lead to information overload, miscommunication, and burnt-out educators. That is why the most impactful approach is often to look inward to seek alignment on existing innovations.
When students take ownership of their learning, it can transform the school experience for both students and teachers. Cultivating academic agency among students is not a quick process, but by implementing a few small practices consistently over time, educators can foster a culture of student-led learning. Here are some simple yet effective ways to build your students' investment in their own education, one step at a time.
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As school leaders, we know how difficult it can be to change the culture and reputation of a school. It takes dedication, hard work, and a team of educators who are committed to making a difference. These ingredients were in place to achieve transformational success at Hall Success Academy (HSA) in Aldine ISD. We can all learn important lessons about how to implement successful shifts by learning about the story of the HSA campus redesign team, including teachers, school principal, assistant principal, working alongside our Education Elements team.
Prior to becoming a consultant for Education Elements, I served as a Middle School Math Teacher. It was a tough but rewarding job, and I absolutely loved it. Math is a passion of mine, and I adore the raw, sarcastic, hilarious moments that often come from interacting with middle school students.
More than three years after the onset of the global COVID-19 health pandemic, researchers are only beginning to scratch the surface of understanding how acute the long-term effects of the shuttering of schools and a shift to virtual and hybrid learning environments are having on students. Recent data suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic halted more than two decades of momentum in math and reading achievements. Another nationwide survey indicates that K-12 reading skills across the country have dropped to a thirty-year low on average. Educational inequalities were also exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among students with limited access to financial, social, health, and technology resources, many of whom were already struggling academically before the pandemic. One effective method for combating learning loss created by the COVID-19 pandemic is for teachers to implement Personalized Learning in their schools and classrooms.
The bright morning sun floods in through the yawning glass windows and casts long shadows in the front of the classroom. My colleague and I and about ten-odd teachers sit huddled at the desks near the back; some of them are poring over resources on their screens, others using markers, pens, and paper cutouts on small chart paper. INDEPENDENT PRACTICE, the text underneath one of these cutouts proclaims. The teacher draws an arrow to the right, as though to sequence the steps, and then draws a sort of three-step cycle that takes up most of the space. THREE STATION ROTATION, the teacher then proclaims in green marker and proceeds to describe in small writing what students are expected to do in each station during her 9th grade English class.