2014 National Summit on Education Reform Highlights #EIE14

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This post reprinted and adapted courtesy of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Jaryn at the organization’s press office. Originally posted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) as a news release, “2014 National Summit on Education Reform Highlights,” on November 24, 2014.

On November 20-21, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), hosted the organization’s 2014 National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, D.C. At the nation’s premier annual education forum, lawmakers and policymakers were immersed in two days of in-depth discussions on proven policies and innovative strategies to improve student achievement.

Governor Bush opened the Summit with a breakfast keynote on November 20 and investigative journalist and author Amanda Ripley closed the two-day event. The rest of _MG_3093_with photo creditthe Summit included keynote and general sessions with national and international leaders and strategy sessions covering some of the hottest topics and latest innovations in education. Annually, this event provides lawmakers, policymakers, educators and advocates the opportunity to learn about successful education reforms happening throughout world and together build consensus and form solutions to shared challenges.

Summit Video Highlights

National Political Correspondent and Author Juan Williams
66th Secretary of State of the United States Condoleezza Rice
United States Senator for Florida Marco Rubio

What They Are Saying

Sun-Sentinel

Right Turn

Washington Post

Politico

Tampa Bay Times: “Bush opened his 20-minute address by telling the audience that 61 years ago Thurgood Marshall came to Washington – and stayed in the same hotel – to argue Brown vs. Board of Education before the Supreme Court. Barriers fell, Bush said, but black and Hispanic children still lag. ‘This is a civil rights crisis in every sense of the term,’ he said.”

McClatchy: “‘Too often the bar is set too low and too little is expected of children who could do far more,’ he said, speaking at the opening of a conference of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a think tank that he chairs. ‘What is in danger here is not public education but the core idea that defines America… As educational opportunity becomes harder to attain, so does economic opportunity,’ Bush said.”

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This post reprinted and adapted courtesy of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Jaryn at the organization’s press office. Originally posted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd) as a news release, “2014 National Summit on Education Reform Highlights,” on November 24, 2014. Discover more about the organization at its website http://excelined.org.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide all students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Five Quick Reads for the Week of #Thanksgiving: #Gratitude

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Across the United States today many of us are visiting with family and friends in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. As we “give thanks” and share stories of gratitude, this week’s Quick Reads provides a connection with a focus on gratitude.

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One of the 40 Inspiring Motivational Quotes About Gratitude shared via Inc., reminded me of the importance of not only recognizing high and solid performers, but re-recruiting them:

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson

3 Reasons You Should Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude via Entrepreneur suggests that gratitude shifts one’s mindset, creates solutions, and is contagious. Lots for leaders to think about knowing “gratitude has a ripple effect.”

The author of this Inc. article is “utterly convinced that the key to lifelong success” is gratitude. Why? Because, “People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life…” Read more of True Secret to Success (It’s Not What You Think).

“It turns out, giving thanks is good for your health” is how this Thank You. No, Thank You., The Wall Street Journal article starts out. What’s it mean for leaders? Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy… Check out the article for what it means for kids/students too!

“For some companies, gratitude is not a once-a-year occasion, but a value embedded in their company culture.” Read and learn more in Making Gratitude Part of Your Company Culture via Entrepreneur.

Quick Reads offers us an opportunity to share some of what we’re reading each week. Today is a day we often celebrate gratitude and giving thanks; we’re excited to connect the celebration with the many, many benefits that embracing gratitude individually and within an organization’s culture produces. Happy Thanksgiving!

Studer Education

 

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Let us know how you connect with the articles and share with us and WRIE readers what you’re reading.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

“I believe it is our duty to give back to those who have given to us” @UWF Graduate Denisha Merriweather

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In last week’s post “Education is a Difference Maker. Every Child, Every School district, Every Day,” we shared a bit from The Wall Street Journal article highlighting University of West Florida graduate Denisha Merriweather. Today, we share a bit more of Ms. Merriweather’s remarks to celebrate—give thanks—to educators who have pledged their lives to helping kids get a chance at a quality education.

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Ms. Merriweather’s remarks introducing former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, including the photograph and video, post were accessed and adapted from the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s website (here):

Good morning. My name is Denisha Merriweather. This year I graduated from the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social sciences. I specialized in children and society, which led me to work in a Dominican Republic orphanage over the summer. And there I learned how truly blessed we are to live in America. Next year I will enter the University of South Florida’s joint master’s program in social work and public health. After that I will let passion and opportunity be my guide. Maybe instead of just being the first member of my family to have a college degree, I’ll be the first to have the title Doctor in front of her name. You would hardly have guessed such an outcome from my childhood.

I was born into poverty in Jacksonville, Florida. My life was disrupted by constant moves. I was held back twice in school and felt out of place in classrooms with kids two years younger. I was disruptive and often got into physical fights with the other kids. I was failing in school because I hated school. All too well, I could see my future. I would drop out and spend the rest of my life trying to make ends meet.

But that didn’t happen because of something my godmother discovered called the Tax Credit Scholarship Program… [Finding the right school,] changed everything. The teachers there challenged me to make the honor roll and I embraced that challenge… For the first time in my life, I woke up in the morning looking forward to school. I graduated with honors, prepared for college because of dual course enrollment classes.

A video about Ms. Merriweather by Step Up for Students, the nonprofit organization administering the scholarship program, shares “Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program empowers parents who have limited financial means. This year, 68,775 students are taking advantage of it. The average household income is only 5 percent above poverty.” More about the personal aspect of the scholarship via Ms. Merriweather:

I believe it is our duty to give back to those who have given to us. So when Step Up for Students asked me to get involved, I said, “Where can I sign up?” And so I work with Step up for Students to be an ambassador for the scholarship program… [which empowers] thousands of children [to excel] in classrooms all over Florida. Children that now have hope for a better future. As I have… These are not kids from your neighborhoods but from mine. I implore you to stand up for children who don’t have the power to stand up for themselves. You can’t see them but you can see me. And so you can see what is possible when you give a kid a chance at a quality education, helping them to unlock their true potential.

In closing, Ms. Merriweather thanked former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for making the scholarship possible saying, “You gave me the chance to change my life. I am forever grateful. Thank you.”

Join us in celebrating Ms. Merriweather’s success and continued educational journey to serve others. Every day, as educators and leaders, we are challenged to open the future to students. Ms. Merriweather’s story provides us this connect to purpose and challenges us to connect with students in our classrooms so they may realize their purpose, feel worthwhile, and make a difference.

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Ms. Denisha Merriweather’s remarks introducing former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, including the photograph and video were accessed and included/adapted from the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s website. Ms. Merriweather is a graduate of the University of West Florida located in Pensacola, Florida. Discover your possibilities at UWF!

The Mission of the Foundation for Excellence in Education is “To build an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential” (here). Learn more about the organization.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Try This Tip: “Fail Fast” by Dr. Melissa Matarazzo

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This tip may not sound remarkably inspiring, but I encourage you to think of the alternative: failing to take healthy risks that will improve our organizations. This week’s tip came to me from George Ellis, Chief Financial Officer of the Studer Group. In a strategy session for our organization, he recommended that we be open to failure, as it’s one inevitable consequence of innovation and risk-taking. His point was to avoid the paralysis that comes when we pursue perfection too far; when our fear of failure prevents us from acting at all. Instead, he advised, try, risk, attempt, explore, experiment — and learn from any failure that occurs.

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I can think of a few examples of how “planning paralysis” sometimes occurs in our K12 school systems:

  • An endless strategic planning process that gets bogged down by fear of making difficult decisions to direct the future of the organization
  • A leader avoiding the challenging process of responding to an employee’s poor performance
  • A classroom teacher who learns a new instructional strategy but hesitates to implement it, worried that it won’t work with his students

As leaders, we must face the fear of failure and move forward. Let’s not let our desire for perfection — for never failing — prevent us from accomplishing great things for our students, employees, and communities. Go for it: fail fast.

StuderEducation

 

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MatarazzoMelissa is an Evidence-Based Leadership coach for Studer Education, located in Pensacola, FL. Previously, she served as the Executive Director for Achievement and Accountability in the Charleston County (SC) School District. She earned her Ed.D. through the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Urban Superintendents Program, and received both a Masters in School Leadership and a Masters in Education Policy and Management from HGSE. Melissa has also served as a middle school principal in the Peabody (MA) Public Schools, and as an 8th grade teacher and assistant principal in the Derry (NH) Cooperative School District. Melissa has coached aspiring and novice leaders at KIPP Jacksonville, FL; supervised teacher interns at the College of Charleston, SC and instructed graduate students in administration at American International College in Springfield, MA. Follow Dr. Matarazzo on Twitter at @LrngLdr and follow Dr. M’s weekly post “Try This Tip” here.

Contact us for more information about our coaching for continuous leadership development and systems improvement. Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Why is the world interested in our continous improvement process? SDMF Part 2 of 2

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This post reprinted in its entirety courtesy of the School District of Menomonee Falls, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and the district’s Public Information Coordinator/Executive Assistant Mitch Maersch. Posted as “Continuous Improvement Article” on November 15, 2014 in the district’s newsletter Falls Pride.

SDMF CI1

I’ve never seen my students learn so much so fast,” said 20-year veteran high school teacher Dave Mahlum. The school district of Menomonee Falls’ continuous improvement process has made dramatic changes inside the classroom and across all departments of the district. Word of its success has spread, and the district holds two large visits per year to help others replicate the process. Educational leaders and quality improvement professionals hailing from places like Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and Sweden have attended. Check out what quality improvement professionals from Sweden had to say during their visit (video cite):

People are coming to see how teachers and students complete 10-day learning cycles using the plan, do, study act (PDSA) quality improvement method, allowing teachers to quickly adjust their learning techniques to be more effective.

Gone are the days of waiting for an update halfway through the quarter or looking annually at growth targets. Students now take more control in their own learning and know what they need to do to succeed.

“I’m giving all my students a voice in my classroom and allowing them to take an active part in their education,” said Nationally Board Certified middle school teacher

Julie Poetzel. “Each one of them is tracking their own performance and this allows them to see where they are strong and where they need to improve.”

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Teachers are seeing the difference in students. High school reading teacher Michelle Matter said she used to have a struggling student who didn’t want to come to school. Then the improvement tools kicked in. Grades and attendance went up in all classes.

“What I think has been different for him is that he can actually visualize the growth he is making. He sees his scores, a positive trend line, his articles getting more challenging, and he also knows which posted scores are his on our class graphs,” she said. “He can see his improvement.

Superintendent Patricia Greco, Ph.D., whose dissertation was on instructional practice and on organizational improvement, is leading the way to implement business principles of LEAN and Six Sigma in school.

“In two to three years the graduates of Menomonee Falls High School will be speaking the language of business,” said Joe Weitzer, Ph.D., dean for the Center of Business Performance Solutions at Waukesha County Technical College.

Beyond the classroom. The district’s improvement process has changed how it does business in all divisions.

“If we see something that’s not working right, our heads immediately go to, we need a better process for that,” said Human Resources Coordinator Sherry Jaeck.

“I think we get to faster and better solutions,” said Christiane Standlee, Director of Human Resources. Risk taking is encouraged, even if at first you don’t succeed…

“It’s not about failing. It’s about trying something to improve, and if it doesn’t work, making adjustments on the fly,” said Jeff Gross, director of Business Services. “If the adjustment worked, then you’re really focusing on the data.”

Even custodians are on board, seeing their suggestions on improving processes get implemented. “All of a sudden that gets their wheels turning. It just snowballs,” said Scot Weisbrich, Head Groundskeeper.

Menomonee Falls Logo

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This post courtesy of the School District of Menomonee Falls, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and the district’s Public Information Coordinator/Executive Assistant Mitch Maersch. Posted as “Continuous Improvement Article” on November 15, 2014 in the district’s newsletter Falls Pride. Discover more about the School District of Menomonee Falls from the district’s website at http://www.sdmfschools.org/ or contact Mitch Maersch, the district’s Public Information Coordinator/Executive Assistant.

Our mission at Studer Education is to help education systems achieve measurable results that produce positive outcomes in student achievement, employee engagement, support services, and financial efficiencies and productivity. Our goal is to help school systems provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Follow us on Twitter at @StuderEducation and visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the seventh straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

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