Monday, February 18, 2008

Professional Development

As Guernsey-Sunrise continues to find ways to increase student achievement, one of the things we are doing is to increase professional development for staff. There is research that shows that the teacher is a powerful influence on student achievement. Now an article in Education Week shows research that confirms that students of teachers that have had high quality professional development had higher gains on reading test scores.

One of the obstacles to providing high quality professional development tends to be finding time to implement such programs. It is an area that we will continue to look at improving and working with to enhance the achievement of our students.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

National Board Certification

I had the honor of attending a dinner last night celebrating the newest National Board Certified Teachers in Wyoming. Guernsey-Sunrise's own Kathy Watson was one of the 67 new recipients. Congratulations, Kathy.

Teachers that pursue National Board certification have to meet rigorous standards in order to achieve this designation. The task is not easy, but is well worth the effort as each teacher who goes through the process comes away a better teacher. The Ellbogen Foundation, the Wyoming legislature, and other partners realize the importance of the journey teachers take to achieve certification. Their financial support helps provide not only an incentive to partake in this meaningful work, but validation of its importance. This past year, the number of NBCTs in Wyoming increased over 300% from the previous year, they highest gain in the nation. I hope the growth in NBC teachers continues, as it can only help better the learning of the students of Wyoming.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Perkins funding cut

President Bush's proposed budget has eliminated funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. This would reduce the amount of money available for career and technical education as it takes away state grants that help fund those programs. This money helps schools develop programs that meet the needs of more students. In a time when the Wyoming workforce is in need of skilled workers, cutting career and technical education is not in the best interest of our students nor the state.

Click here to read about what other programs are proposed to be cut.

Contact your U.S. legislators to express displeasure with these budget cuts.

Senator Mike Enzi
100 East B Street, Room 3201 P.O. Box 33201 Casper, Wyoming 82602
Phone: (307) 261-6572

Senator John Barrasso
100 East B Street, Suite 2201 P.O. Box 22201 Casper, Wyoming 82602
Phone: (307) 261-6413

US Representative Barbara Cubin
1114 Longworth, HOB Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2311

Contact the White House:
White House Comment Line - (202) 456-1111
White House Fax Line - (202) 456-2461
President Bush's email -
Vice President Cheney's email -
White House address - 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500

Monday, February 04, 2008

Listen Up

A recent study  from Vanderbilt University found that when adults listened to 4- and 5-year olds explain their learning, the children's ability to transfer their knowledge to unique problems increased. If we want our students to be able to solve problems, asking for an explanation will help them get better. The same holds true for older students as well. Explaining forces a student to use the same skills they would use to solve a novel problem, thus enhancing those skills. So, if you want to help a child improve his or her problem-solving skills, have them explain their reasoning. 

Friday, February 01, 2008

Doing Right

Too many times, we read the newspaper and hear about things that are wrong with education. A brief article I read recently was about some kids in Maryland that are being honored for doing something right.

Fifth-grade students from Crellin Elementary School in Maryland will receive the National Civic Star Award from the American Association of School Administrators this month. The honor goes to the students for their work in getting an industrial site cleaned up near their school. The site was polluting their playground and a nearby stream and when students noticed they decided to do something about it. They worked with their teachers, families, the Department of Natural Resources, and Bureau of Mines to clean up the site.

By working together, a problem was solved. As educators, we need to be aware of the many opportunities to work with students to address issues in our communities. We can help our students make the news, in a positive fashion.