Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#NYCSchoolsTechChat: #ISTE19 - Thursday at 7 p.m. EST

Join us for our monthly #NYCSchoolsTechChat on Thursday, July 5th at 7 pm EST. 

During this month's chat we'll reflect on past #ISTE experiences and prepare for #ISTE19 taking place in NYC's backyard right in Philadelphia, PA.  

#NYCSchoolTech teacher Eileen Lennon moderates with me throwing in my two cents. 

You can prepare for the conversation by thinking about answers to these questions:

  1. What advice do those who’ve attended #ISTE have for #NYCSchoolsTech newbies? #NYCSchoolsTechChat
  2. Here’s a fun question. #ISTE19 is in Philly. What must we do, see, eat?
  3. Call for proposals begins in August. What kind of topics might you submit? Share here and maybe you’ll find others who want to collaborate. https://conference.iste.org/2019
  4. If you could only attend one day or two days which are most important? Why?
  5. #ISTE takes place during the school year for #NYCSchoolsTech staff. How can you convince your supervisor to release you? #NYCSchoolsTechChat
  6. #ISTE is expensive. Best ideas for funding? Also, who wants to share transportation and housing? Shuttle bus? Air B&B? What are your best suggestions? #NYCSchoolsTechChat
  7. Check out what others said they may want to propose. Any interest in collaborating? Connect. Share what interests you! #NYCSchoolsTechChat

Chat details are below:
Date: Thursday, July 5
Time: 7:00 pm
Topic: #NYCSchoolsTech Summit
Your Host: @eileen_lennon (@NYCSchools)
Co-Host: @InnovativeEdu (@NYCSchools)

Remember to respond using the hashtag #NYCSchoolsTechChat and include the number of the question you are answering in your response i.e. A1 and your answer.

We hope you can view the chat live, but if you are unable, please visit our archive at https://www.participate.com/chats/nycschoolstechchat. You can also participate in the chat at that link or if you have an iPhone download the app at https://www.participate.com/apps.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Gates & Teacher Effectiveness: Duh

If you're an innovative educator, the news about teacher effectiveness having little impact on student achievement is no surprise. The Gates Foundation spent a whooping $575 million buckaroos, when they could have just been listening to teachers who knew better.  
The work that is necessary to support student learning is easy to understand and hard to implement.  It begins with Maslow's seminal work on human motivation.  Any good teacher knows his hierarchy by heart.
Gates mistake was moving directly to the top of the pyramid. The foundation neglected to acknowledge that we are teaching so many children whose basic needs are not being met.  First, we must address that. It is unacceptable that in districts like the one I work there are staggering numbers of homeless children. In every city, but especially one of the wealthiest in the nation, it is unacceptable that having a home is not a right. There are large numbers of children that are being raised without a father. The men need to step up. There are also many children not being raised by their mother or father. Hundreds of thousands of children bounce from home to home to group home to residential treatment center in foster care.  Of course, children who live with their parents may be suffering from abuse or simply the high level of anxiety school pressure puts on many students today.

Help comes in the way of providing the basics for our students: Stable homes. Safe and security. Food. Climate control (i.e. heat and air conditioning). Time for naps if necessary.
It means revamping teacher preparation and professional development to include: Supporting children living in trauma. Guidance counseling. Psychotherapy.  

But it doesn't end there. 

Even after we do all the work it takes to provide the basics for our children, many schools still don't have it right.  What's next is belongingness and love.  Devoid of that we will continue to see kids in gangs and victims being murdered. 

There are several school models i.e. Agile, Big Picture, or Democratic Schools that know how to achieve this and the answer is simple!  

Smaller student to teacher ratio. Period.

And, it's not just class size, but also class load. Research tells us that no teacher should ever have to teach more than five different classes. If they do, it is impossible for them to help students develop that relationship or belongingness. 

Our students and colleagues should be our family. In Big Picture Schools they outline the keys to student successSmall size, intimate advisory system, and insistence on parent participation all lead to making the school feel like a family and several features extend these connections and family feel even after graduation.  

It is not until we understand that as education leader Chris Lehmann says, "Our job is to teach kids, not subjects," we can begin the work we need to help our children succeed.