Midyear Check-in: 2023 Conversations#Leadership
by Erin WerraRead time:
Recouping learning lossesSummer is a fitting time to discuss these losses, as tradition demands we keep the summer slide on our collective radar as educators and edtech partners.
It’s estimated that most students lose at least some skills access in the summer. Even in schools that use competency-based models or decaying averages, which are more apt to measure progress over performance. Practice is key to keeping skills fresh, which may be a reason why schools send home Chromebooks over summer, though it might seem crazy to parents. At the very least, it’s one last tether to school, which as we know can extend far beyond the reaches of the actual schoolyard.
But of course, we’re not just talking about a regular old summer slide. We’re talking about catastrophic learning loss so deep it’s difficult to grasp how alarming it is. Not only that, but the loss of crucial social skills and relationship building.
One solution may center around re-instilling ownership and agency in students. When students can take pride in their work (and school), they feel belonging. Project-based learning is more self-guided with the teacher being able to act as a subject matter expert or wise sage. This skeleton key can also do wonders for our next conversation.
Staff burnoutCulture is the word of the year (🏆) in the employment space. With even a minimal investment in the words we speak, culture can change in an instant.
Having guiding principles like brand engagement and practice, mission and vision statements, and culture embedded in your district's About Us page make a world of difference when parents search for schools, whether inside your district or out. Geography isn’t as important as region and district these days.
What’s your leadership style?
Finally, deliberate low-cost high reward investments in leadership style have an impact on learning as well. Teachers who feel fulfilled in their identity aren’t bogged down by administrative chores. Some ideas may include:
Mental health support
PD and schedule flexibility
Investment in teacher salaries is the number one draw. Add in a great culture and people will seek you out.
Data and physical securitySchools know digital attacks are happening, and their IT teams are worried. The concern has grown steadily over the past decade, but a big part of the problem is the constant change in the ways threats can worm their way into school networks, along with budget constraints that make it hard to know how to invest in cost-effective security (hint: you’ll never regret a proactive approach).
One thing remains steady though: Everyone must work together to protect the digital boundaries of your school and student data. Here’s what you can do to keep up with trends because we need everyone to protect schools from ransomware as told by a certified cybersecurity professional.
A new school year is just around the corner, and the momentum gained from returning to classrooms is still building. Here’s to a fabulous 2023-24 school year.
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|Erin Werra Edtech Thought Leader|