By all Means, Hold Us Accountable!

But… had better take into account the WHOLE PICTURE!

This past week a had an opportunity to travel to the Effingham, IL to take in the All Apollo Conference Band Concert.  What a wonderful evening of splendid music.  Eighty of the best musicians from local high schools brought together for an all-day clinic under the direction of Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds from O’Fallon High School. The event made for awesome learning experience and a very memorable evening of concert sounds.  As students were motioned to stand to be recognized for their solo efforts at the end of every song, the warm applause from the audience of parents and other family members had the students bursting with pride.  It was definitely an experience that allowed me to acknowledge to myself that there are so many things right with what we do in public education.  The value that is provided to our students and communities is so much greater than the achievement that is measured on one day of the school year.  I want our school, all public schools for that matter, to be held accountable for these types of student learning opportunities.  If we truly want to measure the value that public educators bring to the table then let’s find a way to measure:

The glow of pride a student radiates upon receiving a standing ovation from the patrons at an honor band concert

The feeling of accomplishment when a student earns a best of show in a regional art show

The effort of a teacher that, because of the time invested, uses an established relationship to talk a student out of dropping out.

The accomplishment when a student earns a presidential scholarship to a prestigious secondary education institution.

The value of programs that allow students to experience connections that has them see the relationships of learning and hard work beyond test scores and grades.

A student’s ability to create a handcrafted object that represents a challenge met. A challenge that allowed the student to grow and understand the interconnectivity of knowledge disciplines and to go beyond the mere manipulation and recollection of facts.

The ingenuity of teachers who work together to do something new for their students.  Teachers who collaborate to make multidisciplinary experiences for students that make subjects engaging and lifelike.

The lifetime effort of a teacher who dedicated hours to building relationships with students and pushing kids to do things they never thought they could do.  A coach who taught the value of respect, effort, and sportsmanship in victory as well as defeat.

By all means, hold us accountable! Test scores need to scrutinized, attendance rates measured, drop out rates included, but you had better add to the metric the true value of the programs we provide! (add your own example in the comments….please!)

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