Friday, December 2, 2011

What Makes A Great School?

Schools are rated in a variety of different ways. Tons of research has been done and millions of dollars spent to find out the difference between poor schools, average schools, and great schools. Countries, states, and systems are constantly looking for an edge that will make them rise above the others.

Multitudes of programs, and teaching methods have been tried throughout the years with varying degrees of success. For a while, schools were built in pods because that was going to be the thing that finally changed education. This trend came and left causing many systems to renovate round, open rooms to move back to a more traditional building.

Technology has changed drastically in the last ten years. Anyone that knows me knows I love technology and I truly believe technology used correctly is a great resource for teachers. We do our students a huge injustice if technology is not an integral part of what we do in the classroom. Having said this, technology itself is not the answer to public education.

I could go on and on about what I believe is important in education, but I can sum it all up by saying the most important aspect of education is the teacher. Research has shown what we intuitively know, which is that the teacher in the classroom makes all the difference in the world. A great teacher can teach in any shape room with any number of distractions, or no distractions at all, and the students will still learn. Great teachers take technology and really transform education. Poor teachers can have access to the same technology and it is useless.

I am not trying to lay the entire burden on teachers because they can’t do it by themselves. Parents, administrators, students, and society must do their part to help teachers. I am just trying to make the point that regardless of what takes place nationally or state wide, good teachers will continue to make sure students learn. We have gone through a difficult time financially and we all have had to tighten our belts and despite having hurdles to jump great teachers have prevailed.

We are very fortunate to have some great teachers at Ardmore and they continue to provide outstanding instruction to our students. We want to continue to improve because as it has been said, “When you stop getting better, you cease being good.” We are looking for ways to improve our school and it all begins with great teachers. I hope as you run into your child’s teacher in the grocery store or at a ball game you will tell them how much you appreciate what they do for your children. We have all learned from someone and we can only hope we had great teachers to guide us as we went through school. The lessons we learned can help us the remainder of our lives.

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