In my years of experience I have seen a lot of great successes in schools. Kids exceeding expectations and accomplishing amazing goals; teachers collaborating and developing top-notch learning environments; parents selflessly giving of their time and resources to contribute to the school community.
As I reflect back on those experiences I realize that the most impactful learning occurs at the intersection of all of these components – motivated students, highly skilled teachers, and engaged parents – the “trifecta” of success factors.
Most learning institutions are not that fortunate to have all three pieces of the puzzle in place. That’s okay though…experience and research would say those schools with at least 2 out of 3 in place can still be great places for kids to learn. For instance, a school with great teachers and engaged parents can succeed even when students are less than motivated.
I would argue that too many schools across the country, depending on the year, operate with at most one of these components school-wide – sure there may be grade levels or departments of teachers that are rock stars, or perhaps are a small dedicated team of parents, or maybe a handful of stand-out students that are highly motivated. But consistent performance across the entire school…most school communities find themselves with maybe one of these components that they can really point to.
So what happens to student learning in these schools?
At the individual student level, when an unmotivated student has uninvolved parents and a mediocre teacher…that student is essentially sunk, an entire year wasted. The other side of that coin though would suggest that an unmotivated student with a great teacher and engaged parents would find success.
How can we level the playing field and mitigate these variables across the country so that all students can find success?
A possible solution…
Let’s strive to empower parents to play an active role in education. Let’s help them better understand the educational system, provide them with quick and easy tips to help them support their kids at home, and give them access to simple tools to interact with schools.
At the same time we can help teachers better know their students as individuals and give them direct lines of communication with parents and students to talk specifically about learning.
We can do this while helping students find their passions and share ownership of their education. We can provide students with the necessary tools to guide them through the second half of their K12 education journey well into their college and career.
A solution such as this would allow parents to respectfully and appropriately advocate for their kids if necessary. It would assist great teachers in further engaging parents. Students will find motivation and relevance as they see how their current actions can impact their future opportunities.
That’s why myOWNedu exists – to close those gaps and help more kids find success. Learn more at http://www.myOWNedu.net.