- There is a need for a sense of urgency as students return to school. We can focus on 11 areas by asking key questions mentioned below.
- Educators must focus on the unique needs of their school and the students they serve.
“Transformational leadership starts with a calling, it stands on a cause, and then it breathes with urgency at a time when it makes a difference.”
John C. Maxwell
During the past two years, students have experienced disruption in their lives and in their educational experience. If there has ever been a need for a sense of urgency, it is now. Educators understand the importance of helping students learn key skills and concepts. School staff will address trauma and social and emotional learning when students return to school in the fall. Teachers provide students with hope, an advocate, and a sense of stability in a chaotic world.
School teams must narrow the focus during the first quarter. If there are competing priorities, then it will be difficult to support learners. “In the midst of all of this, we must remember that it’s not our students who need to be fixed. Yes, the world has changed permanently, but our students’ capacity to learn has not” (Zmuda, 2020). In a school year where the attention is on the number of students and staff in quarantine, vaccinations, and mask policies, teachers and administrators can become distracted from the academic and non-academic needs of each student.Without a sense of urgency, school staff may become overwhelmed, discouraged, or focused on the wrong strategies. Educators must focus on the unique needs of their school and the students they serve. Click To Tweet
Educators Can Identify a Sense of Urgency by Focusing on the Following Areas:
How will we monitor and measure student understanding and growth for each learner?
Which systems and targeted interventions will we focus on in order to support students?
How will school staff use formative assessment data to inform future instruction?
How will each school support students and staff with mental health support and services?
What are the priority standards that each teacher will commit to teaching?
Response to Intervention
How will school staff respond when students need academic support?[scroll down to keep reading]
How will we help students engage in their work, persist in their work, and own the learning?
Social and Emotional Learning
What are the skills and SEL priorities for our grade level?
What can school staff do in order to create systems that address the needs of learners?
Tier I Instructional Strategies
How can school staff focus on high-yield Tier I instructional strategies in order to reduce the number of students who need Tier II interventions?
How can each classroom become a trauma-informed classroom that supports the needs of students?
Without a sense of urgency, school staff may become overwhelmed, discouraged, or focused on the wrong strategies.
Educators must focus on the unique needs of their school and the students they serve. Uncertainty creates multiple barriers for teachers and administrators. “We can lower the ambiguity threshold by saying: We know the one thing we’re going to do right now. We’re going to chunk this goal down to targets” (McChesney, 2020). Make a difference!
About Steven Weber
Dr. Steven Weber is the Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning with Fayetteville Public Schools (AR). His areas of research include curriculum design, formative assessment, professional learning, and school leadership.