At Helianthus LLC (www.helianthusonline.com ), we see the Education Audit more as a call to action rather than a specific roadmap to education transformation in West Virginia. Change is needed, yes - but taking traditional steps and implementing failed strategies will not yield the highly transformative actions needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century learner.
In the spirit of social media, I have reduced lengthy briefs on schooling initiatives into info-snippets reflective of issues raised (or not raised) in the recent education audit.
- Teachers cannot educate the kids if they don't participate - we need to create learning environments that attract students and parents, supporting their interests/passion on their journey to graduation and beyond.
- Schooling environments need to embrace the new "3 R's": Relevance, Rigor and Relationships.
- Engaging and authentic learning activities. School reform has focused on three areas: assessment, curriculum and pedagogy. It's time to start talking about pedagogy - now!
- Support comprehensive extended learning programs.
- Extended learning: before/after school, Saturdays, extended year.
- Arts-based learning and creativity.
- Arts-based learning can re-energize classroom instruction for students and teachers. Place ABLCIS's in all schools: Arts-Based Learning and Creativity Integration Specialists.
- Good teachers want to teach in a learning environment where support is consistent and open. Salary is secondary.
- Year-round school is a good thing -schooling "refusers" can use the online school to graduate.
- Instructional practices should be implemented that engage students with relevance, rigor and relationship building.
- Amend 18A to allow state recruiters to offer contracts and bonuses to educators - recent grads and veterans (offer yearly fellowships to master teachers): bonuses, transference of sonority for retirement, moving expenses, housing, degree advancement/compensation of tuition and costs, classroom instructional autonomy and leadership opportunities.
- The state aid funding formula is inherently unfair.
- The county system of funding schools is constitutionally linked to the distribution of funds.
- Consolidation only helps urban districts, financially.
- High-speed broadband connectivity for every classroom - priority given to the most rural and isolated settings
- Stakeholder empowerment and transformative leadership.