Our Mission Remains Clear: Focusing on Student Results
In this world of uncertainty, where everything is changing by the hour—wait, by the minute!—there are crucial questions that need to be answered.
How do we continue to ensure that all students learn at high levels? How do we continue to ensure that we are focused on the right things? How do we continue to ensure that our actions and our values are aligned?
Many of us find ourselves reflecting on how practice looked pre-pandemic. Even if we had all the right things in place, those things may no longer work in our current environment or situation. At times, it feels as if we are gasping for air like a runner trying to make it through a tight-filled space where the air is filled with heavy smoke.
As we are faced with so many unknowns in the day to day, there continue to be many things we do know about our students and our outcomes. We have to continue to be intentional about our practices. It is our obligation to provide our students with what they need to be successful students throughout the school year.
What must stay in place?
As building and system leaders, we must continue to ensure that teams have the opportunity to collaborate. Without this collaboration built into our structure, it becomes difficult to meet our goals and support student success at high levels.
These collaborative times can easily be lost when trying to plan for in-person and remote learning simultaneously, or even how to provide support for those who may need it during this time. Teachers may feel stretched thin and that there just isn’t time, or they may lose sight of the purpose. Allowing time for collaborative teams to focus on the four critical questions of a PLC provides the opportunity to ensure all students learn at high levels.
Data-driven conversations continue to remain an opportunity to monitor student growth and needs within the classroom. How are we supporting students who may be struggling due to changes in instruction this past spring? How are we ensuring that students are continuing to show growth over time? What intentional conversations are occurring to support learning at all levels with all teachers, including both general and special education? Focus on the results, as data is our guide to hold us accountable and tell the story of our students learning. This hasn’t changed.
Design time within the school day to provide interventions and extensions for those students who need it. What is in place to build each student’s toolbox to allow for a deeper understanding of essential standards and even foundational skills? This time must be intentionally built into the schedule and monitored.
Just as important at this time is considering the bigger picture of the student, with a focus on both academic and social-emotional needs. What intentional conversations are occurring during collaborative time to consider the strengths and areas for growth with each child? Have conversations about how to find the time to make connections with students. These relationships matter and can be more difficult with the guidelines in place for health and safety.
While there is a lot of distraction in the world right now, we cannot lose focus on the needs of our students. We cannot lose focus of our obligation to provide all students with the best instruction that we are capable of, and ensure that each student is successful. We owe it to our students to stay laser-focused on their outcomes, even amidst all the uncertainties and discomfort of our own.