Revisiting last April's title seemed appropriate as I penned this article from my home in Starkville. April in Mississippi beckons the start of warm weather and signals our approach to the end of another school year.
This year, thanks to what we now call COVID-19, it also started all our school districts quick migration to the world of online learning. It also marked the first time in a few decades of operation that MS-CPAS assessments would be
in our state due to this global pandemic.
Each of you is in our thoughts daily. We wish you only the best as you work harder than ever to provide the best learning experiences for the children of our state.
As I remarked in a draft of the spring newsletter for the
Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness
, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the grim reality that not only is human life fragile, but also the way we conduct our everyday lives, in education and beyond, can change as rapidly as Mississippi temperatures in the spring. Although we are far from out of the woods, there are a few things I have already seen that can prove to be a part of a silver lining.
- Unity - I have seen increased unity and collaboration from educators at the local, state and national levels in recent weeks. We at the RCU are here for you day and night as you provide the best, albeit remote, educational opportunities for the students of Mississippi! Please do not hesitate to use any one of us at the RCU to help find solutions for you if you find yourself against a barrier for your students.
- Online Learning - Albeit less than ideal, we have all had to adjust our lesson plans (mine included at Mississippi State) to move completely to a distance education model. To some extent, I think this shift is a great thing for the state of education. We have had to rethink our instructional methods, delivery models, and assessment strategies to gauge student mastery of the content. A new dialogue and constant reflection need to occur around how to meet learners halfway at the entrance of their neighborhoods. Making our learning more phone-based mixed with paper-pencil methods may be better way than looking for monies for tablets and computers for most students. This is just one of the many questions that would be interesting to hear about from our school systems.
As Jon Gordon (
) tweeted recently about the recent events, "Don't look at problems in the world and allow them to get you down. Look inside yourself and look at your team and decide to change the world from the inside out." Educators have always been world changers. Now we get the opportunity to enact change on a grander scale. I look forward to what each of you come up with in the days and weeks ahead.
Hoping for brighter days for your families and you,