How are you?
Thank you for subscribing to the Irby Review and sharing your thoughts with me each month. Here are some interesting articles I read recently that I think would be of interest to you.
The education columnist for the Washington Post brings our attention to teachers who stand out in their careers. In this article, Mr. Jay Matthews profiles the brilliant, Ms. Julie Jackson, President of Uncommon Schools. Uncommon Schools is a charter network of 55 elementary, middle and high schools. While she was enrolled in African American studies in graduate school, Ms. Jackson had never given any thought to teaching until she attended an orientation at Teach For America, and unexpectedly landed in an 8th grade classroom with kids who desperately needed her instruction and leadership. Most of the class was from low-income families. She drew from her disciplines as a college athlete and the guidance she received from her Black professors. Building a connection with the students and truly caring about them earned their respect and trust. She was known to ride the school bus, sit with kids at lunch time, visit parents at home, seek out their interests and delve into their emotional well-being. There may not be another Ms. Julie Jackson, but those who hired her, train the teaching recruits in everything Ms. Jackson did when she starting her career in the classroom. Read More
Have state governments begun to discuss summer classes or repeating the 2020/2021 school year for educationally marginalized students? COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and Pacific communities according to an analysis performed by McKinsey & Company from testing K-8 students. The assessment data came from Curriculum Associates; the reports from NWEA (a research-based non for profit) reached similar findings. The declines were in both math and reading, subjects which require more direct teaching support. Absenteeism and failing grades escalated since the spring of 2020 when elementary school students began learning remotely. Black and Hispanic students continue to be more likely to remain remote and less likely to have adequate access to the internet and sufficient learning devices in the home. Is there a post-pandemic plan to address the challenges? Read More
Who is Michael Pratt? Assistant Principal at a magnet high school, and son of a librarian and former acting mayor of Milwaukee, Mr. Pratt’s credo is to engage Black men in young Black boys’ reading experiences. Most of us know how challenging it is to get high school students to read. Mr. Pratt got creative and peaked the teens’ interests by reading himself during school hours. Professionals tell us that if children don’t read proficiently by fourth grade, achieving academic and career success become a lot more difficult. Mr. Pratt knew reasons why Black children tend to lag behind their peers in early education, but he wanted solutions! “Black boys need to see more Black men reading” he said. With few Black educators and a scarcity of Black men overall in education, Mr. Pratt created “Fatherhood Fridays” and reached out to local elementary schools in Nashville to find out who wanted men to read to children at school. Read More
“On Teaching” is a series which focuses on the wisdom of veteran teachers. The author of this article reflects on his early teaching days and his experience in the classroom following the attack on our nation on 9/11. Controlling the students behavior was drilled into Mr. Emdin’s and other educators’ teacher training. And on September 11th and during other national crises, Mr. Emdin kept on teaching despite the children’s feelings and chatter among them in the classroom. Today, this veteran educator introduces the readers to “Reality Pedagogy”, the concept of teaching students where they really are by connecting academic content to events in the world that affect them. Lessons learned from his students? Listen, instead of silencing them! Learn all about them. Create a space for dialogue, especially those who have been harmed. Incorporate their backgrounds into the curriculum and classroom conversations. Read More
Please share your thoughts by replying to this email. I’d love to hear your thoughts about any of these articles and how you are coping during the pandemic.
Founder & Chief Reading Inspirer
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