Waves of Educational Change Benefit Hawaii's Students

By McCormick, Meghan | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, May 28, 2014 | Go to article overview

Waves of Educational Change Benefit Hawaii's Students


McCormick, Meghan, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


The recent coverage on changes in our public schools has motivated me to reflect on my last five years as a teacher. I am proud to be a public school teacher in Hawaii and feel very lucky to have been hired as a resource special education teacher at Wheeler Middle School five years ago.

My first year was challenging. Implementing new programs and procedures and learning a new way of thinking stretched me in many ways. But, with the support and guidance of an amazing group of administrators, mentors and colleagues, I was able to learn and grow and improve my practice.

As I grew in my own proficiency, I also grew in my leadership and my ability to innovate with the tools I had been given. For example, I was empowered by my school to develop a program called L.E.A.D. (Leaders with an Emphasis on Achievement and Determination). This initiative helped Wheeler Middle School ensure that none of our transient student population fell through the cracks during the tumultuous adolescent years. I could never have developed this program in Year 1, but through staying the course and improving my practice, and always staying grounded in what's best for kids, I was able to work to effectively innovate and create this program for our students.

This same growth mindset is how I choose to think of the new reform initiatives that were implemented under Race to the Top. Change is hard andYear 1is particularly challenging.

But I believe that if we support each other and stay grounded in what's best for kids, we'll be able to use these new tools and programs in innovative ways that will help us progress.

This year I participated in the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), a new initiative offered in partnership with the Department of Education. Through this intensive year-long course, I was able to increase my skills in data-driven instruction and began leading a data team at my school. …

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