If you are a Superintendent, Business Director, Human Resource Director, work in grants, or any area using data, complying is a crucial issue when officials come to check on your records. Is it enough to be compliant to have materials in order, student records in order, lesson plans ready, when is being compliant just not enough?
One of the Superintendents I worked for looked forward to our yearly opening meeting when the Regional Superintendent could proudly announce our district was compliant in all areas. He never wanted to have anything out of place; he had high standards for us to live up to each day. We would not be on a list showing we did not complete something.
In a previous blog, I mentioned a poem called “Pretty Good,” which reminds us that it is not always good to be okay. “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a recipe for failure. Your school will get results only when you and your staff shift your collective mindset from “those poor kids” to “our gifted kids.” Stop thinking remediation and start thinking enrichment.”-Eric Jensen, Teaching with Poverty in Mind p.g. 94.
We think about what our staff, families, and students have all went through during this global pandemic with variations in instruction delivery to students. These times have created what many are reporting as large gaps in learning and development for students. Many are worried about how to approach learning loss.
The approach always in education should be when our students have less, we provide more in whatever we do. In these terms, we look at all areas, including food, curriculum, activities, and all areas of need. When we keep our vision and mission statements at the center of our focus, we work to accomplish them.
Time is an element we can not get back or waste. Our students cannot afford to take a remediation approach. I understand there are foundational skills needed to master areas. It is essential to meet children where they are but let’s not start them where they are not. Enhancing the environment for all establishes high standards but not unattainable.
I want to ask you not to measure only the test scores you get as a success. Please include other areas to celebrate that will help impact each other. Examples are Attendance, Discipline, Teacher-Student interactions, Peer-Peer interactions, Volunteer projects, and others.
As we finish our SHARE school approach for Teaching with Poverty in Mind, we end with Enrichment Mindset. Establishing this for staff and students is the best approach to take. Various ways help support this mindset. Let me provide a few examples of a few things my team did to support enrichment.
Held an all-school reading day. Each student received a copy of the book that they could take home to add to their home library.
We completed 12 days of giving as a countdown to Christmas. Students met acts of kindness each day as we worked together. (Cards for Veterans, Kindness tags for grocery bags, Positive Placemats for Nursing homes, Bookmarks with compassion for libraries, and so much more)
College and Career days when staff shared their college information, relatives came in to talk about their careers (plumbers, construction, nursing, hairdresser, landscaping, many others)
They were encouraging staff to think outside the box to try different approaches like Flipped classrooms, changing grade levels, making classrooms operating rooms to teach “Order of Operations” as students dressed in scrubs, Having students create their classroom as a giant cell to give tours, Engaging students in hands-on projects and designs and much more.
After school programs, chess, music, drama, and many other activities. The staff and community help to keep enrichment alive in our school. We outperformed the other middle school with the drive we had to maintain this mindset. School Enrichment Mindset (SEM) sets the expectations, climate, and culture for success. Children need all of us to be at the top of our performance to help them reach theirs,
Begin to look at how your school will approach learning.
What programs do you have or can add to support enrichment? Do not lower expectations in programs or remove them. Change practices, instruction, and curriculum to meet the needs of all.
Review SHARE and begin your plan.
Thank you for being part of the solution daily!