Of course, Thanksgiving is about much more than lounging and having fun. It’s also about giving thanks for the many great and wonderful people and events that shape our lives.
I’m thankful for a lot and not just for me, personally. Our schools have also seen a lot of change. Even still, as we travel across the country to gather with family and friends, it’s a good time to reflect on what’s gone right in schools this year.
Below are three reasons to give thanks for schools.
The best teachers and school leaders on the planet!
The education landscape is changing, as well as the roles of teachers and school leaders.
In a world where students can find the answer to any question at the push of a button, our teachers are being challenged to rethink the very nature of education and many of them are embracing this challenge.
Instead of preparing students with facts and figures, educators must now teach students how to apply knowledge to deeper concepts and problem solve. It’s a new way of teaching that has evolved beyond the stagnant curriculum!
Adding to those diminishing resources and competition that continues to rise, it’s easy to understand how even the best educators might become overwhelmed.
However, despite these challenges, teachers continue to push forward relentlessly, putting forth new strategies to engage students in innovative ways.
Our teachers suffer from abuse and criticism daily, but through these obstacles, the best among them work hard every day to put students first and that’s something to be thankful for!
Higher student graduation rates!
This year we have seen the fruits of educators’ hard work. The U.S. Department of Education reported the highest national graduation rate of all time.
In 2014 (the most recently analyzed year), education officials reported a national graduation rate of 82 percent. What’s more, 2014 was marked as the fourth year in a row that the national graduation rate increased.
What’s even more promising, the academic gap between Caucasian students and African-American students narrowed by 3 percent.
We still have a long way to go to level the academic playing field to help scholars achieve their full potential, but a steadily increasing graduation rate is happy news which causes a need for celebration.
At a better glance, student achievement!
Few people, I think, would disagree with this statement: Over the last decade, our schools have focused too heavily on test scores as a means of assessing student achievement. Much of that emphasis can be attributed to standardized tests written into the now defunct No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the NCLB replacement with plenty still to prove, school leaders are re-framing the lens to change their view on student achievement.
New indicators such as social-emotional learning, college and career readiness, school climate, and experience have encouraged educators to look beyond the assessments and consider the full scope of school experience.
The jury is still out on ESSA, but at least for now it appears the law and the states that are charged with implementing ESSA are open to embracing a more holistic approach. If that’s not progress, at least it gives us hope.
Many challenges ahead
Let’s be thankful for all that we have achieved within this school year.
The questions and challenges are endless but I would like to say CHEERS to all of our staff working together and to all our teachers to keep the focus on what really matters: Student Achievement.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Life Source!