I just applied for the Leading Educators program here in New Orleans,Louisiana. The application process was pretty lengthy, in that, I had to write two essays, and submit my resume, which I had to update. The essays consisted of the causes of the achievement gap and the solutions based on the causes.
Here are my solutions to eliminating the Achievement Gap.
While we cannot change the lives of children outside of school, we can greatly improve the conditions within the school’s domain. This can be accomplished by challenging teachers to strive to become teacher leaders in their school. A teacher leader is someone who strives to improve and support teacher and student success. Through my experience and practice, I am confident that a teacher leader can help to eliminate the achievement gap by modeling the most effective teaching practices, and believing that all students can learn regardless of past test scores and labels.
A teacher leader has enthusiasm that shines throughout his/her lesson planning and execution of lessons. This enthusiasm for teaching begins to not only spread within the teacher’s classroom, but throughout the entire school. Teacher leaders will begin to share their strategies and challenge their colleagues’ perceptions about high academic expectations for all students.
Teacher leaders hold high expectations for students by setting limits, providing structure and rigor in lessons, and pushing students to achieve.
They also prepare students for the world outside by engaging students in authentic experiences using technology or providing students with experiences outside of their everyday activities through field trips. These are just a few solutions to the social-economic causes of the achievement gap.
Technology integration challenges students to think critically, work collaboratively and prepare students for the world outside of school. Schools equipped with 21st century technology can engage students in a plethora of authentic learning experiences some of which may include Skyping, blogging, and game design.
Teachers can also enrich student’s lives by planning a field trip to the local library to use computers or other resources available, or a trip to a college campus so students can begin to see their future as something possible and begin to dream “BIG”.
Inadequate funding sometimes hinders the use of classroom technology and field trips, however, this should not be an excuse to stop trying
These and many other solutions are what we as teachers leaders need to strive for. Through the support and collaboration of teacher leaders within schools, closing the achievement gap is possible.
Are you a teacher leader within your school? What do you do to improve and support student success?