Saturday, January 30, 2010

High Expectations = Achievement

This week I really challenged my Career Explorations class. Over the course of the week students completed a college comparison webquest, began to fill out their FAFSA, started ACT and Acuplacer prep within our class, and completed their initial brainstorming for their personal biography. What impressed me most was not what my "at-risk" students had completed in class but what they had initiated on their own outside of school hours due to the expectations that had been set within the class. After a week of discussing how they wanted to live their lives and how education was the key to obtaining the standard of living that they desired, the students took some big steps in preparing for their future. These students who had seen very little success in the "general education" setting were now talking about college and taking the ACT. Discussion had spread home where they were asking their parents when they would file their taxes so they could complete FAFSA. Students were not only completing applications for various college's and trade schools but were even setting up appointments to meet with officials from the schools. Prior to this week many of these students had very little direction and were quite confused about what graduating from high school would bring. This really made me think about my students and the low expectations that may have previously been put on them. Had anyone ever encouraged them to think about college? Had their lack of prior success lead them to believe that college was not an option? Did other teachers as well as parents believe in them?
In order for schools to reach each and every student and strive for academic and social success we must establish high expectations for all students every day and provide the support necessary for them to achieve these expectations. How can we do this? We must begin by working to improve academic achievement through clear expectations and encouragement from all stakeholders. We must encourage student, teacher, parent, and administrator participation. The most powerful way we can meet the high expectations within our buildings is through the personal relationships we develop with the students. If students do not see adults that believe they can achieve then why should they?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Are We Leaders?

It has been way too long since my last post. I have been busy with many things going on in my life but a particular quote came across my Twitter PLN today that made me think I needed to make time to blog about it. Thanks to Ron Karr who tweeted "Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it." -John Naisbitt. The quote really made me think. As teachers are we being leaders to our students? Are we displaying great character traits, strong work ethic, a passion for learning, civic responsibility, and high standards for all? As aspiring principals are we being leaders to our colleagues? Are we collaborating with staff members to improve instruction, mentoring, promoting positive relationships within our building, and striving to get everyone "on the same page" to meet our school mission and goals? As we enter our schools lets all take a moment to reflect on whether or not we are truly being leaders and doing what it takes to accomplish our ultimate goal of academic success and character development for ALL students.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How Are Students Learning?

The picture above is just another example of a great resource that I have obtained because of my PLN via Twitter. The photo and quote really made me think about how teachers are integrating technology to enhance student learning inside the classroom and how students are learning when they are not inside school walls. Not sure why students are not engaged and excited about learning within some classrooms? We must encourage all in education to embrace these tools and to show them how they can be used to increase academic achievement, student engagement, and interest in course content.