"Wholed" Me Accountable
This past week I went to a meeting regarding standardized testing in my child's district. He is 8-years-old and will take the PARCC test for the first time next year. The meeting was emotional to say the least - voices were raised, tears were shed. Regardless of whether we are pro-test or anti-test, most individuals will agree that tests are only one measure of what a child has learned and the degree to which he/she has grown from the previous year. "Accountability" has been thrown around lately like a dirty word. At the end of the day, however, as a school leader, I should be held accountable... for more than just test scores.
Hold me accountable for noticing that a student is sneaking extra cereal into his backpack at breakfast. He didn't have dinner last night, and this will most likely be his dinner tonight.
Hold me accountable for working with the local police department and community leaders to maintain a safe corridor for our students. The reason so many stay after school is because they feel safe (and warm) here.
Hold me accountable for modeling a healthy lifestyle for my students and staff by walking around the track on my lunch break, putting a treadmill in the staff lounge, and offering professional development workshops on mindfulness in the classroom.
Hold me accountable for encouraging loud classrooms. "Controlled chaos" is a good thing - it means that students are engaged and learning rather than passive recipients of facts.
Hold me accountable for having one-on-one meetings with students to understand why they are tired/bored in class, why they are late, and why they are struggling.
Hold me accountable for engaging teachers and community partners to support students in reaching their fullest potential through extracurricular activities, mentorships, community service, and internships.
Hold me accountable for developing a curriculum that prepares students for the test while not teaching to it - a curriculum that is rigorous enough to challenge the most advanced learners, scaffolded enough to support struggling ones, and authentic enough to engage all students.
And yes, hold me accountable for standardized test scores, but only as one measure of the learning that takes place both within and beyond the four walls of our school.
"Wholed" me accountable - for the whole child - not just his/her head. Kids don't come to school with just their minds. They come with their bodies and their hearts, and often, a lot of baggage too. "Wholed" me accountable for all of it - not just the number.