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4 Big School Shakeups for 2019

4 Big School Shakeups for 2019

Education can be a place where common-sense thinking meets innovation. Some of those innovations can be adopted over the course of a summer, but for some, the wheels of change should start moving as soon as possible. If you are tired of the status quo and are looking for solutions to some of education’s most current issues, here are some ideas to explore.

Paperless school

Paper is one of the costliest non-professional expenses on a school’s balance sheet, so any reduction is welcome. But what if that reduction could be 100%? It’s easier than ever to banish the use of paper in a school, especially in 1:1 or BYOD settings, but it’s even easier when administration leads the way.

For the second half of the 2018-19 school year, take note of the ways in which paper is used in the school, then brainstorm ways that those instances can be transitioned to digital or eliminated altogether. Much of those solutions can probably be found in cloud-based services.

Four-day school week

One of the fastest-growing reforms in education right now is districts adopting a 4-day school week. The thinking is that districts save on utility and transportation costs while making themselves more marketable in a business that is seeing widespread teacher shortages.

However, the negatives are fundamental. Stay-at-home parents are not as common as they once were, so daycare costs would increase. For low-income families, the added expense may be too much. Also, for those same students, school is often the only source of balanced nutrition they see, so you would be depriving hungry students of one day’s worth of meals. This is a change that requires almost universal community support, but for districts willing to try, the savings can be in the millions. 

Grading reform 

There is an appetite among teachers and parents for grades to better reflect a student’s skills and progress. This can be done either through standards- or proficiency-based grading, portfolios, progress monitoring, and other methods for signifying what a student knows and when. When grading methods and scales change, parents and other stakeholders need to be transitioned to avoid confusion. If adopting a portfolio-based approach, you would need to consider storage and how reliant the school is on paper (see above). 

At-home blended learning for weather events 

Blended learning means even when roads are impassable, learning can continue (as long as power is still available, and even then some districts work around it). Serious weather events, from hurricanes and wildfires to the typical snow day, are becoming more common. Establishing a strategy, gaining parents’ buy-in, and setting the correct expectations can make the difference in having to make up classroom time at the end of the school year.

Looking for more innovative ways to shake up your school in the new year? Check out these creative ways to celebrate your staff!

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Scott Sterling

Scott Sterling is a former English teacher who worked in Title I middle and high schools in St. Petersburg, Florida who is now a freelance writer who focuses on education. He is also a stay-at-home dad to his 4-year-old daughter Lily, who will soon be starting her own educational journey.