2011 at InterACT – Kelly Kovacic
Continuing to wrap up 2011 at InterACT, today I highlight a few of the great posts that Kelly Kovacic contributed this year. (Prior installments include best guest posts and best posts by Martha Infante). As a result of her time as a California Teacher of the Year, Kelly has kept quite busy not only here in California, but also participating in national, and even international events. While the pace of InterACT posts has understandably dropped off, it’s always a pleasure to see what Kelly has to offer, whether as a result of her leadership and travels, or just from her perspective as a classroom teacher.
Let’s start off with one of those posts that offer Kelly’s insights relating to her Teacher of the Year experience. The title is “Learning After You Know It All” – and the topic…
[It] was quite remarkable to attend the recent International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City where a global collection of ministers of education, labor organization representatives, and teachers sat side-by-side to listen, discuss, and learn. This was the first time such a summit had been held in the United States. Delegations from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, The People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, and United Kingdom joined our home-grown delegation to explore four main topics: Teacher Recruitment and Preparation; Development, Support and Retention of Teachers, Teacher Evaluation and Compensation; and Teacher Engagement in Education.
Kelly’s most read post of the year was “Open Letter to the Public Education Budget Cutters” – which, surprisingly generated no comments for all of those page views. (It’s not too late to comment, by the way). Perhaps that’s just a blog idiosyncrasy, but I prefer to think that Kelly’s post was just so clear and articulate that there wasn’t much left to say. It’s important to note that Kelly works at a charter school that has produced some wonderful results for English language learners, students living in poverty, and first generation to attend college. However, she doesn’t hold up her school’s success as a way to beat up on other schools that haven’t been able to produce similar results. She writes:
We definitely need more vision and innovative programs to improve those schools that are in trouble. The success of the students at my school, who all live below the poverty line, is proof that such vision and innovation can and do make a difference. Schools in trouble deserve immediate, bold, and surgically precise help. But, it is time to tone down the largely uninformed noise about a complete education system that is “broken.” It is time to stress and build on the positive; to recognize the excellence that is taking place in most classrooms throughout our nation. It is time to start treating teachers like valued professional partners, not targets. It is time to take a courageous stand against rumors, innuendo, and rhetoric. It is time to support, not attack, public education.
I’m also glad that Kelly took the time to explore an important topic in forward-looking education discussions, in the post, “My teacher… the computer?” The adoption and implementation will certainly change the way we educate our students and ourselves. I have no doubt that in another fifteen or twenty years we’ll look back at a system that will seem excessively rigid, linear, and homogeneous; however, Kelly’s conclusion is spot-on:
As we envision schools for the 21st Century, technology will undoubtedly play an important and integral role. But, it will be the 21st Century teacher in the classroom – providing guidance, a passion for learning, an understanding of what is necessary to move a student to the next level of inquiry and excellence, and an unwavering belief in each student’s potential – that will continue to make the ultimate difference.