Spring is here, and that means that you are thinking about summer-school and fall programs that might improve the educational experiences of your students. I often write about assessments and how essential those assessments are to building better, more productive programs. But this month I would like to get you thinking in a different direction...
[content block] As you begin to think about building summer and fall programs, I would like to encourage you to try a very practical visualization exercise. I would like you to capture in your mind a clear picture of the successful program you hope to build. Instead of wearing your statistician hat and working with that assessment data, I would like you to put on your artist's beret! As if you were a painter, I would like to challenge you to picture the final masterpiece before you ever put paint to your canvas. For example:
Your 6th grade readers are an average of a year behind national norms. The picture in your mind should be of all those 6th graders scoring at least on grade level when they take their final assessments in the spring.Heres another example: Maybe you decide to attack the obesity problem in your intermediate-level summer school this year. You picture happier, slimmer students who have moved away from obesity and the bad habits that got them there. You see them exercising each day, eating fruits and vegetables at school, and learning how to make good choices when it comes to their individual nutrition and exercise programs. You visualize the people and the activities that will get you to that result.
With that picture in mind, next you need to contemplate and picture the types of activities it will take to make sure each student is reading at the proper level.
You might picture small reading classes with each child getting individual attention from teachers, aides, or volunteers. You might picture students in your school reading hundreds of library books in the hour you give them each day to practice their sustained silent reading. You might picture
You get the idea.
You have to be able to picture the results of your program and the types of activities it will take to get your students to that end. But, most important, you should never let money get in the way as you picture your programs and the results. If you can envision the positive conclusion of an exemplary program -- and if you are determined to make it work -- you will be able to find the money to finance it in your regular budget or with grant funding.
If you are absolutely determined to make positive changes in your school, you will get the money and the results you have visualized.
Don Peek is former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. Learn more about The School Funding Center at the bottom of this newsletter.
Article by Don Peek
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