American Education Week: A Time for Celebration

American Education Week: A Time for Celebration
Posted on 11/12/2015

By Dr. Jerry Wilson, Superintendent of Schools

Annually we celebrate American Education Week the week before Thanksgiving.  During this week, we invite parents and community members to see the outstanding education that our teachers offer students every day.

We are exceptionally grateful to our community for the strong support provided for all aspects of the education that we provide children in Worcester County.  From the time a child steps on a bus, to entering our safe and well-maintained schools, to the teachers who direct their learning in a wide variety of content and methods, to the lunchroom, to the afterschool activities including academies, extracurricular and sponsored events, WCPS is proud of the quality of the education provided to each child.

Each year, our teachers participate in many professional development activities to ensure that they are utilizing the most up to date research-based practices in the classroom.  We closely review how students perform and customize instruction to help students learn what it is that is expected.  When parents observe classrooms, they will see their children working in groups or individually on common learning targets.  What they may not notice is the degree to which the teachers provide learning experiences that allow the students to learn at the level at which they are ready.  Teachers carefully plan their lessons so that students working at different levels can demonstrate what they know and are able to do and then the teachers work to extend their learning accordingly. 

Increasingly students are utilizing digital devices in their classroom learning.  Whether a laptop, a chromebook computer, or an iPad, teachers are able to better individualize students’ learning experiences and allow students to have a more personalized learning experience.  We find that when students use the devices, they engage more and find their learning more relevant.  Having devices available in the classroom permits teachers to use the devices when the instructional activity is best suited for the device, rather than waiting for the availability of a computer lab.

We are also fortunate to be able to hire high quality instructors and leaders for our students’ education.  Research shows that the quality of the teacher is the highest predictor of student success.  The second highest predictor is the leadership in the school.  Our teachers and principals are tremendously dedicated to assuring that the students have multiple opportunities to be successful.  They demonstrate time and again that they care for the students like they were their own children.  John Dewey challenged educators to teach all students like they were their own children.  As you visit our schools, I expect that you will see examples of where our educators take that principle to heart.  You will see our educators helping students to make connections and extend meaning; to celebrate the positive application of a concept; to learn new skills and aptitudes; and to grow into the citizens who will lead our community and country in the future.  We have much for which to be thankful!

For more information on American Education Week or any of the programs or initiatives mentioned above, please contact me at 410-632-5021.