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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 9, 2012

Salman Khan: Teacher to the World

My selection this week is not an article; rather it is a video segment that recently aired on 60 Minutes.  This segment tells the story of the Khan Academy, the impact it is having on education, and its plans to revolutionize the way our business works in the near future. 

I’ve shared information about the Khan Academy in the past, and some of our teachers are beginning to use his video lessons and/or create their own to “flip” the classroom.  If you haven’t watched this segment yet, it’s worth your time to learn more about the guy who “is determined to transform how we learn at every level.”  And some, like Bill Gates, believe Khan is “giving us all a glimpse at the future of education.”

Click here to watch the segment:
The Best Ideas for Our Schools
My selection this week comes from Eric Sheninger, Principal, New Milford High School.  Within the article, Sheninger discusses the need for change in the educational experience for today’s students.  He highlights five key components (Respect for each learner; Authentic problems; Real tools and materials; Expanded opportunities; and Collegiality) that need to be present our student’s experiences.  I felt this proved to be a great parallel to the experience we are creating for the students we serve in the Hilliard City Schools. 
As we know, change is not easy, but it is necessary to prepare our students for their future.  As Sheninger states, “As leaders, whether in the capacity as a teacher or administrator, it is our duty to be agents of change. We must collaboratively develop and implement our own ideas to improve the learning process in a way that emphasizes our student's cognitive growth, passions, and strengths, while challenging them to push their own boundaries.”
More States Retaining Struggling 3rd Graders
ODE recently released a summary of the state's Mid-Biennial Review (MBR).  In that document, we see that a "Reading Guarantee" at the elementary-level is being revived.  The clause of the MBR states that any child who is not proficient in reading by the end of third grade will be retained.  I recall a similar mandate at least ten years ago that remained in legislation until it was time to retain children. The guarantee was omitted at that time due to the high number of children that would have been forced to repeat the grade-level.  
Everyone agrees that strong reading abilities are necessary for future success in school and life.  The argument is on how best to correct weak reading skills for struggling students.  Retention is a polarizing position because of the negative research associated with it. Students who are retained often do not maintain academic improvements several years later, struggle with poor self esteem, and have a higher likelihood of being high school drop-outs.    
This week's article caught my eye because it tells about other states implementing a similar Reading Guarantee, as high as 8th grade.  I think it is important for us to pay attention to the legislative changes occurring across the U.S.; we can be certain that Ohio's decision-makers will be influenced by the educational changes in other states.  
Mass Customized Learning: The Key to Education Reform?
The future in educational reform lies in redesigning the process so that “mass customization” can be ensured.  Our current educational system worked well in the Industrial Age where only 25% of the work force needed to be skilled employees.  In a time when all students need to be college/career ready, our young people need to have instruction that is tailored to their needs and interests.
“Students learn by doing, anytime, anywhere.”  One way to accomplish this is through the use of technology, and  there are many free resources available to customize a 24-7 learning environment.

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