Educating children in this day and age is hard. Gone are the days of teaching to the middle, or covering the curriculum. We personalize instruction for individual students. We involve students, and parents, in the learning process. This is hard work when schools are still organized the same way they were when the assembly line and mass production began- 25+ students per one teacher.
It would be wonderful to have smaller class sizes or more staff members available to work with kids, but a windfall of extra cash being infused into education is not very likely. We are blessed to be part of a school district in a community that supports their schools, but even then it takes all of us to personalize learning for students.
For example, our Explorers Learning Community involves everyone twice a week as they build in an enrichment/intervention thirty minute block of time into their daily schedule. All classroom teachers grades 2-5, special education teachers, special education aides, and students all work together to further student learning. There are seven small, math intervention groups being taught at the same time. Younger and older students are paired up and work to push each other's thinking. Students not directly involved in a small group for intervention or enrichment are practicing their skills on ST Math, playing math games, or working on extending a learning project. Assessments are used to determine the make up of the groups, and students are shuffled around as their learning needs change. Some students even come from other Learning Communities to join the intervention groups. It takes the whole Learning Community to personalize learning for each of the one hundred students.
Our other Learning Communities personalize learning for students in their own unique ways too. The Discoverers review math assessment data and share students for mental math groups called Number Talks twice a week. Our math coach takes a group of students who need challenged mathematically and helps to stretch their thinking. Our Seekers Community has various Voice and Choice activities where students sign up to learn about specific content. The most recent Voice & Choice activities were led by parents with expertise in the science field. The kids were enthralled to learn about astronomy, rocks & minerals, and animals from our parents experts. The Panther Cubs welcome kindergartners in first grade as appropriate. They meet together for R Factor and joint counseling lessons.
The old adage 'It Takes a Village' is very true in education. We have just adjusted it to our structure in our school- 'It Takes a Community.'