I am one lucky educator-creative. Partnering with Arlene to deliver the International Baccalaureate curriculum to a substantially diverse student population at the boarding school where we alone comprised the English department, we discovered we are pedagogical twins. We concurrently chose to step away from our posts this year to support families tasked with making challenging educational decisions. We believe the how of learning is as important as the what of learning.
Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of partnering with Arlene to capture her headshots, and I am fully supporting her newest endeavor as literacy consultant. Arlene truly cares about learners, and she has the educational pedigree to bring expertise to action on behalf of her clients. Arlene Sullivan is the real deal. (I know . . . cliche . . . but true!)
In Arlene’s words, the lynchpins of educational reform begin here:
1. Graduate our teachers, especially elementary teachers, with masters-level knowledge of literacy
development and graduate all teachers as special educators. How has it become the norm to matriculate educators who have little knowledge of HOW to teach their students? The bottom line is our teacher education has to change if we want our student outcomes to change.
2. Promote sustainable systems of growth and validation for our teachers that foster continued professional learning and incentivize growth within their field.
3. Pivot from punitive and biased assessment practices to standards-based assessment that measures success based on a clearly communicated goal and allows for a tight feedback loop. It’s not the grade that matters, it’s the process and the feedback for students and teachers. The grade is just a symbol.