Equity is essential for student success and should be a top priority
Equity is different from equality. It is the difference between fairness and sameness. In order to have fairness, there needs to be acknowledgement that all students are not the same, which is great; acknowledging and celebrating their differences leads to equity. Being culturally aware, for example, allows for both teachers and children to learn in new ways and understand why accommodations may be necessary. Improving equity then allows for closing the achievement gap (or how I would better illustrate it, the opportunity gap), a key goal within the Department of Education.
The St. Anthony-New Brighton School District should be known not for STEM education, but for STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics)
According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, I am an ISTJ. The “I” stands for “Introversion,” the opposite of “Extraversion” and I am an extreme “I.” If it were not for my 9th grade English teacher, Lita Malisci, getting me involved in Arts, I probably would not have gotten where I am at within Technology. While STEM and STEAM concepts were not prevalent when I was going to school, I believe that STEAM could benefit “I”s like me. Combining the discipline of “Arts” with the rest of STEM is critical in allowing students to thrive in innovative and creative ways. Plus, it allows teachers to plan collaboratively.
Early Childhood Education opportunities for all
Early childhood education is critical in developing a solid foundation for our children to learn, once they reach school age. Our first experience with a daycare provider was terrible; the children were placed in front of a TV all day, while given food and naps. Our second daycare provider, Cathy Lake, was wonderful, instilling early childhood education concepts for all three of our children. Since we were fortunate enough to have these opportunities in our home daycare, we did not take advantage of the services offered at St. Anthony. However, I understand the benefits of early childhood education for both parents and children. I believe that all SAV families should have the same opportunity to take advantage of these services to ensure that all children are ready for school.
Professional development opportunities and accountability for teachers in universal design for learning (UDL) and technology impacts in teaching and learning
We need to ensure that our teachers are being given the chance to have professional development opportunities to allow for continued growth. One concept that is related to equity, mentioned above, is universal design for learning. UDL allows for consideration of all learners from the start and allows for inclusivity. All teachers should be aware of these principles and should be applying them as such.
Regarding technology, the New Media Consortium (NMC) is an organization that releases an annual report on emerging technology trends within K-12 as well as among other institutions. I believe that using these reports as a guide can and will help ISD 282 to become an exemplar within Minnesota. The 2017 report is available; an Executive Summary can be found on pages 4-5 within the report.
In general, technology in the classroom can really enhance the learning experience and it is becoming very easy to use. For example, one of my favorite tools is Kahoot, which is a cloud-based quiz tool, that can be used on any type of device that has a web browser. It allows for comprehension checks, comparison polling, decision polling, as well as assessments. Try out this Kahoot math quiz that is aligned to Common Core standards!