Year of the Snake
Pass The Chalk Editors
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 10:58am

If the Chinese zodiac is any indication, 2013 promises to be full of interesting twists and turns. We asked some of your favorite contributors to reflect on what they are most looking forward to in 2013. Here’s what they said.

Continuous Improvement

As a first-year teacher, my head is often thoroughly in the sand as I attempt to be the teacher my students need me to be. In that regard, I’m excited to take the last bit of 2012 to reflect on my work so far (and the vast threshold for improvement I have), along with my unit four plans (pen-pals, essay competitions and college applications, oh my!) (Blair Mishleau, Twin Cities Corps '12)

Read posts from Blair




Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Culturally-Responsive Teaching

I’m looking forward to the intersection of Common Core Standards and culturally-responsive teaching practices.  I think these two topics work off each other nicely, and I’m excited to see where parallel interests come together here. (Ursa Scherer Robinson, Teacher Leadership Preparation and Development)

Read posts from Ursa

Gun Control

I am hopeful that we are finally going to address gun violence. Not only because of the national tragedies that dominate cable news, but also because of the daily article in the Chicago Tribune—the one I check every morning—praying the children named within are not my former students. We can do so without lowering expectations, denigrating family structures, or demonizing communities. We can do so by not only making our schools safe, but making them part of the solution. We are all Columbine. We are all Chicago. We are all Connecticut. We are all responsible. (Lauren Secatore, Chicago '03)

Read Lauren’s post

Mental Health

The American Psychiatric Association will release the latest version (5th) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in March 2013, which will include new mental illness diagnoses and conditions. I hope that with this release will come a wave of awareness for mental health. (Carolina Cromeyer, Marketing and Communications)

Read posts from Carolina

New York City Mayoral Election

Though I’m a little nervous for what the outcome will mean as far as education policy and practice, the clarity will allow the city and organizations to plot a clearer long-term strategy. (Cara Volpe, Houston '03)

Read posts from Cara

Race-Based Performance Measures

Congress has continued to remain stagnant on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind).  This, coupled with the opportunity for states to seek waivers on accountability to Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), is leading to some disturbing policy “innovations” that can be easily read as cues that some students are more capable than others.  Most disturbing, to me, are proposals for race-based performance measures now gaining steam in a number of states. (Seth Saavedra, Connecticut Corps '07)

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Reform 2.0

The “reform movement” is no longer up-and-coming— it is here-and-now. While there are still many obstacles ahead, Reformers are at a critical juncture, re-envisioning themselves as a part of the “establishment” and no longer forgiving the mistakes of newcomers. How will CMOs address push-out rates or homogenous student populations? How will Democrats walk the line of being pro-union and pro-reform? Will Reformers have the courage to admit past errors while still pushing for much needed change? I’m eager to see what Reform 2.0 looks like—and to be a part of that conversation. (Seth Saavedra, Connecticut Corps '07)

Read  posts from Seth

Teacher Performance

There is ever-growing momentum around critically examining how we measure teacher performance and compensate them accordingly. I’m really fascinated to see what direction that takes in the coming year. (Bailey Hampton, Eastern North Carolina Corps '04)

Read posts from Bailey

School District “Portfolio Strategies”

There is gathering momentum around the concept of a school district portfolio strategy, “a continuous improvement model for districts that aims to dramatically affect student outcomes at scale.”  I’m curious to see how districts continue to adopt and grapple with the strategy, particularly as it relates to the district-charter collaboration work that’s happening across the country. (Cara Volpe, Houston '03)

Read posts from Cara

Category: Education News

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