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The Young Adolescent Times
By: Jessica O’Toole, Ed.D.
The best part of education is that we get a new start every year. In August, we come into the school year feeling revitalized, energized, and excited for a fresh start with students. Each August, I feel a mixture of excitement and anticipation for the new year; I spend a lot of my time reflecting on the previous year and planning for the year ahead. After this last year in education during the global pandemic, I have been wondering what made last year feel so different from my previous 15 years in education. When I think of my work with teachers last year, I find myself thinking about a trend that I have noticed, all conversations centered on measuring our impact on student learning. Over the past few years, we were just struggling with figuring out how to keep moving forward when our classes went remote, or we were missing many students due to illness. As the world slowly returns to normal, I reflect on how to recalibrate our thinking so that we are starting to spend more time measuring our impact on student learning. I am committing this year to refocus on the basics, the solid instructional practices that produce results and enable students to succeed; I find myself shifting my perspective from the newest educational practices to how to measure the impact of teaching (Hattier & Zierer, 2018). When we shift our perspective to focusing on what our students understand and our impact on their learning, the instructional practices we choose become easier to identify.
Fisher, D., Frey, N., Almarode, J., Flories, K., & Nagle, D. (2020). PLC+ better decisions and
greater impact by design. Thousand Oakes, California: Corwin A Sage Publishing CO
Hattie, J & Zierer, K. (2018). 10 Mindframes for visible learning: teaching for success. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Little J. W. (1987). Teachers as colleagues. In V. Richardson-Koehler (Ed.), Educators’
handbook: A research perspective (pp. 491-518). New York, NY: Longman.
Popham, W. J. (2008). Transformative assessment. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Jessica O’Toole is a middle school assistant principal in the St. Vrain Valley School District. She has served as a teacher, instructional coach, and administrator. Jessica has her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Northern Colorado.
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