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Thursday, October 13, 2011


If you can decipher the first four acronyms across the title of this Blog entry you are either an educator or you have too much time on your hands and you need to discover a new hobby. If you can decode the fifth acronym then you need to immediately contact your local school board member, legislative representative, and U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to let them in on its meaning.

I'll begin by explaining the meaning of the first four, and conclude by emphasizing the last acronym.

According to Wikipedia, AYP or Adequate Yearly Progress, "is a measurement defined by the United States federal No Child Left Behind act that allows the U.S. Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically according to results on standardized tests."

The New York State United Teachers organization refers to the state education law when it describes APPR: "Section 100.2 of the Commissioner’s Regulations regarding the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) requires school districts and BOCES to annually evaluate the performance of probationary and tenured teachers providing instructional and pupil personnel services. The procedures for evaluating teachers are a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. This bulletin includes amendments to Section 100.2 of the Regulations to conform with Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007 (CR 100.2(o)(2)(iii)2(b)(vi))."

The U.S. Department of Education explains the program they have sponsored - RTTT:
"Race To The Top is designed to advance reforms around four specific areas:
Awards in Race to the Top will go to states (New York was declared a recipient of this award last year) that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come."

Those programs and their acronyms are well thought out and research based with the best of intentions. We will accommodate the state and federal regulations and mandates that drive these imposed changes. But, let's not lose sight of the most important program, BWRCATK. I'll provide the meaning of his acronym.

But What Really Counts Are The Kids

Success starts and ends with the dynamic relationship between and among the people within a school. The people, big and tall, young and old, that live there. Relationships matter, so do hopes and dreams. Regardless of the programs and acronyms, the foundation of sustainable achievement rests upon trust, communication, mutual respect, care and compassion. It's difficult to imagine anyone focusing on success until they feel safe and treated with dignity.

While we may be overwhelmed by forced changes and surrounded by programs and acronyms, it's critical that we not lose sight of what really matters.

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