Teaching is an Art

Teaching is an Art

The first quarter is behind us and report cards have been delivered. The fall sports seasons are complete. The first of the concerts and art shows have happened. Winter weather information has been sent home and we are a third of the way through November. As they say, time marches on.

As we move into winter, I thought it would be a good time to review the concepts I presented two and half months ago at Convocation. As you may recall, I presented four main concepts researched by Dr. Bill Daggett and practiced by high performing and rapidly improving schools and districts. For the next four weeks, I will highlight each of them. Sentences in italics are GFPS belief statements which can be found here: http://www.gfps.k12.mt.us/content/mission.

Concept #1: Teaching is an Art

The most successful schools have teachers that are highly capable in the art of teaching. I believe high performing teachers are both scientists and artists. They understand the science behind teaching pedagogy, but most importantly, they understand the art that allows their work to be tailored to individual students. The science of teaching, those best practices that we know lead to high student achievement, are clearly outlined in the new teacher evaluation system, EPAS. The art of teaching puts the heart into what we do.

Seeing public education as an art form frees us of the one-size-fits-all mentality. It allows us to customize and individualize learning opportunities. It allows us to leave behind attitudes that keep us doing the same things over and over again because we’ve always done it that way. It helps us to keep students at the center of our work. It operationalizes our belief that all students learn when their individual needs are met through a personalized school experience.

As a district we are getting good at this. It’s why we collect individualized student data to develop customized learning plans. It’s why we create individualized attendance plans because the story is different for every student. It’s why we provide multiple learning platforms. It’s why we provide choice and comprehensive programming. It’s why our belief statements indicate that District resources, programs and staff are flexible, adaptable and provide choice to meet the changing needs of students.

It’s why we have professional development around cultural proficiency. It’s why our Indian Education for All program is recognized as so successful across the state. It’s why our Board doesn’t need to convene a task force to do the right thing and include ALL students in our non-discrimination policies. It’s why we believe that the dedication to acknowledging, affirming and including diversity enriches the educational experience for all.

I thank each of you for being an artist and a scientist. I thank you for helping us be a district that honors and practices the art of teaching. Our kids deserve nothing less.

Take care. Be safe. Stay well.