Thoughts on School District Practices

Two seats are open for the November 2018 election. Last year’s candidates spoke about testing, teacher retention and academic achievement.

My thoughts:
1. Testing. Standardized testing is a money maker under the guise of being an assessment to ensure students are learning content. There is no application component. We are not teaching our students to be complex thinkers. We are giving them practice in being assembly line “yes” people. True assessment, called authentic assessment, includes students presenting portfolios and research-action projects.

2. Teacher retention. The assessments created for rating teachers is also not authentic. The National Board Certification process is more thorough, but even then, it is a series of hoops to jump through, to be eligible for a bonus check in October. Are there some reasonable and useful components? Yes. But to have been a teacher in the classroom for 20 years, kneel down to speak with a student on hownto improve their writing, and then to be marked down on an evaluation for not recognizing student needs? Absolutely ridiculous and frustrating for the teacher. How do we increase teacher retention? We treat them as professionals. We give them the ability to use personal days and sick days as mental health days. We give them the ability to donate sick days to colleagues. We give them the ability to purchase products through “non-approved vendors” like second hand stores where you can get a steal on previously owned items. We give them student aides and foster grandparents for classrooms. We support them when they send a student out of the classroom. We give them time for properly preparing for their lessons. We give them professional development opportunities over the summer in areas of interest, in partnership with Universities, to earn continuing education units. We give them opportunities to advance in their teaching posts. We provide support people — translators, counselors, aides, tech support. We listen to teachers’ ideas.

3. Academic Achievement. Learning how to fill in a bubble is easy. And boring. We must challenge our students. We must listen to their interests. We must be teacher facilitated, and student centered. We must not only focus on STEM programs, but we must also provide home economics, social and political awareness and engagement, community projects. We must commit to helping our children become complex thinkers, self-motivated learners, effective communicators, responsible citizens, able to work with their community, and research the better solutions. We must commit to teaching and modeling compassion and empathy. We must commit to common sense, outside the box, inside the box, no box, individual perspectives. We must help our students understand that we are each a piece of this puzzle of life.

Viva! (La revolucion)
❤ Felicia
#DontThrowTheBabyOutWithTheBathWater #LearnFromMistakes #LetsGo

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