Questioned & Answered

 I had the honor and pleasure of providing a few answers to a few questions that one of my faculty members had for me.  The questions were poignant and focused.  My answers and her questions:

1. What is your vision for PCTI?

a. I envision a school that makes current and future CTE programs available for students, becoming a 1:1 learning environment where the classroom is extended beyond the four walls, and where every student is provided with every opportunity to attend college if he or she chooses to attend; our curricula and approach must push students to intrinsically develop the desire to end the cycle of poverty through education.

2. How do you plan to implement your vision?

a. I plan to redesign the way we organize our school day and school year so that we can maximize our limited time with students – this might mean a new schedule or, at least, a revamping of our schedule to reflect our priorities.  I also plan to provide every student with a laptop and wifi access from home so that we can give them time to learn when not on campus and be productive when not in their CTE programs – this will also level the field of equal access for students.  I will also never retreat from my mantra that everyone can go to college but they must first respect themselves enough to get there.  I have to plant the seeds of this culture.

3. How will your vision affect curriculum development?

a. Curricula must be open and accessible at all times (just like the information of the world is open and accessible at all times).  Therefore, we have to develop rich and deep curricula that expects students to think and utilize all available tools.  The curricula must be rooted in the highest standards and reflect the values of a democratic society.

4. What do you suggest to enhance professional development or to maximize learning?

a. First, we have to learn how to design and assess our assessments; if they are not requiring that students reach higher standards of thinking, then they are useless.  I also must provide teachers with alternative methods of teaching from the traditional mold – a 1:1 environment is much different from the current model.

5. What do you suggest to promote effective communication between and among personnel for the purpose of maximizing student learning? 

a. Common Collaboration Time – I have to find a way to build common professional time into the teaching schedule if I expect true progress to be made in any of the disciplines and with assessment design and control.

6. What political, economic and social variables do you foresee that may influence the curricular decision making process?

a. All curricula is political – it has to be.  It must be congruent with the ideals and values of the larger society while being respectful of our cultural ethos.  Honestly, we can’t afford to allow economics to be the barrier to progress in our system – there is always a way to prioritize funds to achieve maximum learning… it takes different thinking to find it and use it.  Socially, we have to realize that we are antithetical to the larger society – we preach and teach community, standards, collaboration, selflessness, and intrinsic reward… our society does not.  The sooner we accept that we are counter-cultural, the sooner we begin to say, “Culture be damned – I’m taking a stand and fortifying this institution”.

Author: Michael Parent, Ed.D

Father, husband, school administrator in NJ. "Education cures poverty".

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