The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

“Experts”Speak About What Should Happen in Our Schools

on December 11, 2017

Recently a magazine for educators titled “District Administration” sought out educational leaders in several states to ask their opinions about what should happen in public education in the near future and how it is likely to develop. Today I shall quote those leaders without commenting, and then offer my own ideas for change. Incidentally, the first two opinions appeared in the artical without the names of the writers.

P.S. I’d like very much to hear readers opinions about which changes are most likely to happen in the near future, or which ones they most hope will happen. I will post your opinions.

Expert on Teaching:

Districts should be supported with the funding to retain their best teachers.

Expert Adminisrator:

Educators still need to upgrade their skills when it comes to teaching technology

Theresa Morris, mathematics assessment developer of Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity:

       Waiting for the one, end-of-year assessment is “archaic,”

Educators should shift to more frequent and varied assessments that judge students on assignments that require them to tackle real-life concepts.

States such as Texas, which is moving toward a frequent-and-varied assessment system, should provide proof of improved student outcomes to convince more states to make changes.

If what’s important is that the community is reflected in the classrooms, then you have to have the buy-in and connections that are missing in so many cases.

Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality:

We need a massive overhaul in pay and not just base pay, which is really low in some places. We also need differentiated pay.

States need to require more candidates to pursue special education credentials.

More districts should consider trauma-informed teaching methods and revise             disciplinary systems with practices such as restorative justice which focuses on repairing damage rather than punishment.

 Brian Eschbacher, executive director of planning & enrollment services of Denver Public Schools

Districts could provide more information to better help parents in the research process when choosing schools.

       How do we make getting into schools as equitable as possible?

How can we teach parents about schools so they don’t have to spend 40 hours doing research?

Tamara Fyke, author of Love in a Big World and SEL curriculum developer

Teachers need PD to blend SEL into everyday instruction, rather than offering it as a separate lesson

They need to see it as part of what they already do so they don’t see it as a burden,”

Jennifer Abrams, consultant, former coach for new teachers in several Silicon Valley public school districts

 Don’t abandon in-person PD for online programs

PD sessions also need to become more engaging and relevant than traditional “sit-and-get, rush-through opportunities about best practices or keynotes that talk at us about collaboration,

Educators need more training in communicating with parents, other community members and even political leaders.

Matthew Emerson, Federal programs specialist of Canyons School District (Sandy, Utah) 

I hope to see more curricular materials developed for older English language   learners as they work to grasp more complex academic concepts.

They require resources that engage them more deeply but still honor the fact that  they might be at a basic sentence level or might not have a single word of English in their vocabulary.

ELLs also would benefit if more schools adopted a co-teaching model. In his district, for example, a certified ESL teacher who speaks Spanish works in the classroom alongside science and math teachers to support students who are still attaining fluency.

Administrators should also consider creating bilingual, co-teaching schools that students could attend no matter where they live in a district.

René Islas, executive director National Association for Gifted Children

All states must develop policies geared toward equity in the identification of gifted and talented students.

States and districts need to establish clearer policies on allowing gifted             students to work at accelerated rates, including skipping grades.

 All teachers should receive more PD on gifted instruction as many gifted          students remain in mainstream classes.

Parents need the power to hold schools accountable for educating gifted         students through an IDEA or IEP-like process.

Kirk Langer, Chief technology officer of Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska

We’re still going to be in a position where we’re not leveraging the technology to its fullest capacity because we have not ramped up teachers’ skills and the pedagogical skills.

He also hopes to see even smarter digital textbooks.

.Amy Klinger, Director of programs at The Educators’ School Safety Network

 I wish we would see teachers and educators being classified or perceived as first responders.

Personnel will need to develop their skills in dealing with more common incidents, such as medical emergencies, non-custodial parents and non-violent intruders.

Brisa Ayub, Director of educational programs at Common Sense Education

 Educators must extend instruction in digital citizenship from a one-time lesson to a topic that is taught every day and integrated into other subjects.

Educators should also find games or other tools students use to experiment with social media and other online communications in simulated environments that aren’t broadcast onto the World Wide Web.

Educators should recognize that each student learns in their own way and own time frame, learning easily and quickly and retaining what seems important to them and  soon forgetting what is not important.

Joanne Yatvin, Retired teacher and school Principal

Teachers should emphasize small group learning for difficult subjects, recognizing   that all students learn better with a friend than alone.

Teachers should accept the fact that any student is likely to score differently on different assessments, and so they should grade students on the whole picture rather than individual test scores.

Teachers should provide assignments that produce things of value in the real world, rather than ones just produced for a teacher to grade.

Principals should become familiar with the work of teachers in a variety of         situations rather than basing their assessments only on formal classroom lessons.

A Principal’s main responsibility is to make the school a desirable place for           students, teachers and other school workers to be and to feel proud of their     accomplishments.






One response to ““Experts”Speak About What Should Happen in Our Schools

  1. Steve Buel says:

    Joanne, thanks for this. Some very good comments here. Steve


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