Monday, April 26, 2010
One and a Half Years (1.5)
I've been reading a lot of information lately about reinventing schools that can be responsive to societal demands while maximizing relevant experiences for kids that they can be passionate about. This juggling act is under way at my new school, and I truly believe that they hold the keys to something that could truly be transformative for many other places. Certainly, there are rough edges to polish and debris to clear from the messy work of getting to this point, but the types of learning and understanding that kids truly need are sitting in front of us. There is one piece of information that I can't seem to run away from though, and this is the idea that the best teachers, the truly great ones are able to grow kids by 1.5 years in 1 year of schooling. These are the teachers that are closing the learning and knowing gap of students below proficiency and stretching the top learners to new places that they didn't think that they could go. This 1.5 years statement is a confusing one that I am trying to figure out how to discuss. What does it mean to grow a student's technology literacy by 1.5 years or have a student grow 1.5 years in social studies or science? It is easier in literacy and numeracy to measure this, but if we truly want to be a school that defines its success beyond test scores, then we really need to figure out what 1.5 years of growth means for the things that we deem as important. I want to be the leader of a place that has each teacher growing his or her students at this rate. This would be a measure of having an excellent place of learning, one that cares about kids so much that we aren't happy until we are growing minds, hearts and souls at this rate.