To create change in education, utilize proven individuals
The cable news cycle has become increasingly fixated on the public’s apathy and cynicism with the school system, chronic budget woes, testing and testing reform, and less experienced educators and teachers. Time is running out for proven success stories that promote and reaffirm that education is the most important platform upon which the next generation of leaders will drive America’s success.
This article is for those educators and students hoping to create change in the education system by creating strategies that are disruptive, experiential, and using the best solutions out there to create a positive impact. The best ideas for education change usually come from educators, students, business people, civic, and philanthropic leaders, and can change mindsets, raise awareness, and increase advocacy within our educational system.
I want to share with you five examples of educators, students, and leaders who have been working diligently to create change in our education system for decades. The ideas, leadership, and lessons of these leaders have impacted millions and continue to influence society. Hopefully, their lessons serve as inspiration for those who wish to do the same.
The First One : Booker T. Washington High School for Mathematics and Science in Houston, Texas . Located near the nation’s busiest airport, the career and technical high school has shaped its learning environment to focus on science, technology, engineering, and math as well as civic and civic engagement. As per the principle’s vision, “The students who graduate will become creative problem solvers. They will become leaders. They will become connected leaders.
“…These people who come from many different lives will have a common passion to make Houston’s future stronger, stronger and stronger,” according to principal Cathy Trimble, who delivered the commencement address at each graduation for more than 20 years.
With a 96 percent graduation rate, 53 percent of the graduating class went on to higher education, including college. Nearly three out of five alumni will obtain some type of certificate or degree. Trimble ran a color coding system that helped teachers find students with the perfect scores in math and English. Additionally, she began an innovative education video contest where students had to get their thinking cap on and raise the profile of the Houston school system through footage of the city and its activities.
“I love school! This is my life, it’s my passion. It’s good for a kid. That’s what it takes,” Trimble shared with the Houston Chronicle. “It’s not going to help that kid to say, ‘the school is bad,’ and then work to change that.”
That conviction and drive is what makes teachers great.
The Second One : Marta Mack, Administrator, Siemens Children’s Wellness Center, Los Angeles, California. Inspiring our leaders by doing something about the schools they attend, Dean Mack reached out to her high school students to have them incorporate technology in the wellness programs at her school. This resulted in 100 percent of students taking active roles in the wellness space, resulting in less referrals to the hospital, improved attendance, and more students maintaining wellness.
“Technology helps our students stay on task, stay hydrated, and empower them,” Dean Mack explained. The school has also partnered with healthy living and eating organization CEED and GE Center City.
The Third One : Miriam Sorkin, CEO of MathWorks Inc, Athens, Georgia. Ten years ago, Miriam Sorkin took over the leadership of her middle school and integrated technology into all aspects of the lessons and learning. In 2009, her middle school inspired the American Journal of Mathematics to highlight a school with 100 percent 3-year-college graduation rates and awards of over $28 million in research funding.
The fourth One : Andrew W. Occhino, Jr., N.Y. State Education Commissioner, New York, New York. In 2013, Occhino began adopting new programming guidelines for the State Standards of Learning (SOL), New York State assessments, and K-12 reforms. Soon after the new set of guidelines was announced, educators across the state mobilized, giving the commissioner a hand in creating guidelines that compliment and support local teaching and learning.
The fifth One : School Boards, Local School Board Administrators Association (LSABA), Arizona. The LSABA and School Boards of America’s Arizona Chapter developed and passed board action plans that created a permanent framework to mitigate performance gaps across the state’s schools. The initiatives helped students to move from Level 1 to Level 4 learning gaps. Now, 2,487 of Arizona’s schools are taking Level 4 learning gap remediation courses.
By focusing on what they have control over, these educators and students changed outcomes and changed careers. It