Panel Discussion – Education These Days
Posted by rpjr on Jan 11, 2017
This thought-provoking, informative discussion was moderated by Rotarian/A.H. Chamber Exec. Jon Ridler. “School is complex. It is further challenged by the complexities of Children. Add technology and Social Media….” Panelists were former principal and consultant Dr. Deb Cross (right), principal Ms. Christy Campbell (center), and parent Mr. Randy Recklaus (left). Brief biographical information along with key points can be seen by clicking on “More”.
Jon described the presentation as discussing “the nuances of elementary school, K-6”. Because the topics and comments touched on a wide range of topics, this summary will simply be in bullet points. The comments aren’t attributed to any specific participant; if you have questions you might want to contact any of them or Jon. Contact information is at the end of this article. Education is important to most of us. Please keep in mind that your “scribe” is presenting them points mainly as “food for thought” about an important topic. The material hasn't been proofed for errors or misinterpretations.
- Changes (very generally speaking):
- There are more problems associated with paying attention and focus in kids these days
- They have a need for quicker gratification.
- Less sense of initiative, independence and persistence. There’s more “hand-holding”.
- The kids are more challenging and have more physical and cognitive “issues”.
- There seems less of an emphasis on school education; instead, there has been an increase of other activities (for example, traveling teams and time away from school)
- Good teaching is most important, even with the technological changes we’ve seen.
- There’s a balance needed between digital equipment and its on-line access...and what’s appropriate.
- Kids seem to find it a challenge to be present in the moment, and have high anxiety about one-to-one interactions.
- The schools seems to be doing a good job in helping children transition from Elementary to Middle School. Arlington provides both good teaching and good use of technology.
- Some demographics/make-up at Edgar Allen Poe elementary school – 51% are second language learners, come by bus from throughout the district. 49% are kids from the surrounding neighborhood. There's an effort to have the groups mingle and accept one another as fellow students there.
- There’s also an effort to provide social and emotional learning as well. Kids’ lives are more structured these days, with little time for unstructured interaction, little time to negotiate childhood things on their own, so the School tries to help.
- The process of education is more complicated these days for staff and principals.
- A result of large districts is that they often result in things becoming more complicated, and with less autonomy; smaller has more freedom to respond to needs.
- There are more governmental goals and more parental involvement. More transparency often leads, for fear of being sued, to more policies and bureaucracy.
- There are more emails and communication, and these require more time, workload and more concern about wording in communication – it is very challenging.
- Standardized testing – has gone overboard; need to be able to bring more creativity into teaching.
- How can parents be more supportive ?
- It’s hard for them not to get involved, in part because there’s an “echo chamber” effect within the groups of parents and a resultant pressure to be concerned too.
- It would help if parents would relax, “take a step back and breath”.
- So would more unscheduled time for their kids.
- All would benefit by considering “the other”.
- Useful to keep in mind that operating business "customer service" departments where the customer is always right” is different from governmental and educational entities dealing with tax payers.
- Good solutions can come about when the union and administration collaborate.
- What makes for a good school board candidate? The motivation to work for the kids, not just on one issue. Often, a good candidate has been engaged in the community.
- Dr. Cross was a Principal in the Barrington elementary school system for 17 years. She is serving as a leadership coach for the Consortium for Educational Change, working directly with Principals. Deborah holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Drake University and a M.S. in Special Education at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She has a Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration and a Doctorate (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Campbell is Principal at Edgar Allen Poe Elementary School here in Arlington Heights. She was formerly Assistant Principal at MacArthur Middle School, Dist. 23. She’s a graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Education, Special Ed and Teaching, and has a Masters of Education from National Louis University. She can be reached at email@example.com
- Randy is a parent in the Arlington elementary school system, and “parents” our town as Village Manager! He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Moderator Jon Ridler is at email@example.com