This past weekend, I visited my 94-year-old former high school English teacher in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (my hometown). Mrs. “V,” as she was known to her students, worked tirelessly and enthusiastically for her students. Her passion was Shakespeare. Hence we ended up talking about summer references of the Bard, remembering phrases such as “Now is the Winter of our Discontent/Made Summer by the Glories of the House of York” from Richard III or “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” from the Sonnets. She loved her subject and passed that love to each and every one of her students. But, as important as the academics were to her, Mrs. V’s mission was much broader: she instilled in us a sense of wonder and agency in the broader world and reminded us of our responsibility to make it better.
Fast forward 40 years. The best part of my job is seeing amazing educators teaching and inspiring students as they equip them for the future. Earlier this month, I had a chance to spend time with Baltimore teachers at a site visit. These teachers, all involved in continuous improvement work sponsored by their district, brought persistence, innovation, and joy to the work. This week, I visited ISTE and saw hundreds of teachers reconnecting with the broader education community, collaborating with and learning from each other, and sharing plans and dreams for how they will use experience with technology to reinvent parts of their practice. It was incredibly energizing!
We have endured multiple winters of discontent. Summer is here both physically and metaphorically. I hope you are all enjoying a little bit of quiet after the chaos of another tumultuous year. Take time to celebrate! Whether it be formal holidays, like the recent Juneteenth and Pride, or more informal, with a picnic or reunion, take time to rest and recharge. Read, hike, and spend time with your friends and family. We will not make it without you this fall– you are critical to making the world better. I know that very personally.
Thanks Mrs. V. “And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade…"
Director, K12 Education
How Florida school districts tackled COVID learning loss in mathIn response to COVID-19, Impact Florida created a learning cadre to help Florida school districts respond to the crisis and strengthen their long-term capacity to address opportunity gaps. The COVID Recovery Cadre brought together four Florida school districts with Harvard’s Proving Ground, an expert in continuous improvement methodologies, to address achievement gaps in pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. A new, free set of resources inspired by the cadre – Workouts for Continuous Improvement – is now available for download. The workouts are self-facilitated activities designed to help education teams strengthen their use of data and build a culture of improvement in schools. Read more about their work here.
New RAND Research Report on High Quality MaterialsThis comprehensive report aggregates findings from the RAND American Instructional Materials Survey (AIRS) with rich information gleaned from the practices that states are applying to encourage the use of high-quality instructional materials and professional development in districts and schools.
Cal State Teacher Prep Transformation Center Elevates Black Teacher Candidates and Black StudentsWe are proud to support a teacher prep transformation center in the Cal State University System. One of their campuses, CSU Bakersfield, has been using this support to, strengthen their residency program which recruits Black teacher candidates and helps transform the education system for Black students by introducing them to content and coursework that celebrates the histories, cultures, and excellence of Black people. Check out more here.