Good Afternoon! I am writing to you from Albany, New York where it is cool and rainy.I am here at the AERO Conference, while the weather is gloomy, my report is not.
I am going to highlight the workshops I attend, and report on the state of education in the United States. I admit, I am skeptic, when it comes to conferences but so far, I am feel optimistic that we can change the climate and political structures surrounding our educational institution and I will give you a hint- change has nothing to do with merit pay or testing. Want to know more?
Teacher Professionalism At Risk- Â Â Â Â Â Susan Ohanian
I attended the above referenced workshop by Susan Ohanian.Â Please note that my commentary is reflective of her talk and other information and not a direct quote unless noted.
I learned something new today, something beyond NCLB, Race to the Top, the 2009 Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Listen, it sounds good, but given Arne Duncan’s strict adherence to high stakes testing and standards, I highly doubt the ability of this or any act to address poverty.Â While I believe in the alternative education movement, I stress that it is not a model.Â There are few models that can be moved from one context to another and see similar or even a close proximity to the original results.Â Models can serve as a starting point from which organizations and schools can begin to build their own curriculum.
I have bolded a sentence in section A, a1,Â and a2.
- Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform. ARRA funds should be used to improve student achievement. In addition, the SFSF provides funds to close the achievement gap, help students from all backgrounds achieve high standards, and address four specific areas that are authorized under bipartisan education legislation â€“ including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the America Competes Act of 2007:
- Making progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, including English language learners and students with disabilities;
- Establishing pre-K-to college and career data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement;
- Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers for all students, particularly students who are most in need;
- Providing intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest-performing schools
The standards movement is under much criticism, though in New York, I have found that good teachers can work within the context of the standards, while still meeting the needs of the whole child. Personally, while I find the high stakes standards to be part of a broken system, having broad standards that can be truly individualized to meet the needs of the community, are in and of themselves, not bad. However, the need for National Standards that track students from pre-k to college is a disturbing relatively new plan. In some states, they are even considering tracking prenatal to college. (I have written about this in the past).Â So my question to you is, “can standards that are nationalized, meet the needs of the whole child in a culturally, respectful way?”
It is time to dig deeper and really question why the Obama administration and those who have gone before him, find competing in the global economy to be the most important factor for school reform.Â I believe we are ignoring the real issue, which is poverty.Â How can a child who has no home, no food or no access to resources going to care whether he/she can compete with something they will never see, hear or taste?
So while this subject wasn’t directly addressed in Ohanian’s talk, the general discussion revolved around what children should be able to do and know, which is a pivotal part of the greater National Standards movement. Should all children do and know exactly the same information regardless of geographic location?Â Will the above referenced information help to close the achievement gap?
How DO Children Learn Mathematics-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Gilles Laverdure
What can I say about this workshop? Wow!!! I can honestly say, I love Math now! If you know me, you know I can do everyday math well (you know grocery budgeting, cooking etc) but why I can do those things has always been a mystery to me.Â Math is a conceptual discipline, it is about how we learn new ideas and how we connect these ideas to existing knowledge. This is the kind of math, I can get behind.
Looking at the evolution of math through history, the sequence of numeral concept development is critical to our understanding of how to teach math.
AERO’S Start a School Workshop-Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Jerry Mintz
Important Points to remember when starting a school:
Set up your network, keep them updated and included regularily. Use website, email and social networking sites.
Do not go into debt.
Get yourself out there, get into every children’s magazine, newspaper etc but make sure you lead the media, do not let them lead you.
Get a lawyer on your board.
Know the law and refer to it.
Advertise in kindred circles but don’t rely on them for your client base.
Visit schools, lots of independent schools and observe how they operate.
Once the school is running, allow children decompression time. This is especially true for children who have been in the system for many years.
Sell yourself, use your strengths.
Create a one sentence description of your school that highlights the core of your program.
This workshop was empowering! I met with several people who are starting schools just like us and have similar questions, concerns and tons of energy. I am blessed to have a supportive network, a supportive family and a great co-teacher and co-owner.
Points for the school to work on:
1. Create and memorize our one sentence description
2. Use the Starting SMall Project as our main component, as well as the nature aspect.
3. Decide what titles we will use, co-owners, co-teachers, co-directors?
4. Enhance our website, use facebook more and get more media time
Payroll and Taxes-Â Â Â Â Â Scott Nine and Jack Mesplay
I want to thank Scott and Jack for demystifying the tax and payroll process for me!
I now have the tools we need to make informed financial decisions.
Posted on June 26th, 2009 by karen
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