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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Breaking through the skepticism to find ways to elevate student achievement

It’s been an eye-opening first week for me at AllofE. I was excited step into this role working with school districts. “I am passionate about helping improve our education system,” I kept telling myself. So let’s do this.

The more I thought about it, that was just a blanket statement. It was too generic. Go deeper, George. Most people would say that. Who isn’t passionate about education?

I mulled it over, and I figured my excitement was coming from past experiences. I’ve been a reporter for eight years, and I’ve sat through dozens of school board meetings, both in Liberal, where I grew up, and here in Lawrence.

At times, those meetings aren’t the most exciting things to cover. (No offense, board members, but you know it can be true.) However, the ones that do stand out were the most controversial, like about budget cuts and school closings.

In the news, it was my job to highlight conflict, but that also led me to a mindset focusing on problems instead of solutions. Refreshingly, in my first few days here, I was able see how our products are making a real impact for districts across the country, especially with achievement the classroom.

A superintendent of a northern Ohio school district during a meeting last week about our assessment data analysis and warehousing software, Matrix, told us how huge it would be for a teacher to instantly have access to every single one of her students’ assessment scores from previous years by making just a few clicks. Later that same day, at a Matrix presentation for a Missouri district in the Kansas City area I heard several administrators rave about being able to quickly see the performance of a certain cohort of students over several years within a either specific school or the entire district.

So there we go. I felt like I was no longer swimming in generic thoughts about being “passionate about improving our education system” or focusing only on the problems that school board members, administrators and teachers face every day. I felt elated to find a real and tangible path that can result in helping schools improve teacher and student performance in the classroom.

Now I know why I was so excited, and I can’t forget that.

Because there is a lot of work to do.


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10/2/12, 9:52 PM  

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