Listen to “73: Hacking Whole Child Education and Student Advocacy with Valerie Lewis” on Spreaker.
Whole child education is often missing from our classrooms. Teachers are so consumed by curriculum and standards that they sometimes miss important opportunities to engage students in real-world activities that meet the individual needs of each child.
Georgia teacher and well-known connected educator Valerie Lewis has formed a unique organization in her school district that builds important relationships with stakeholders on the local, regional, and sometimes national levels. These stakeholders unite to bring real-world learning into the school, both in person and through cyberspace.
In Episode 73 of the Hack Learning Podcast, Valerie discusses this powerful group that ultimately becomes an advocacy and advisory council for both teachers and students.
Schools and teachers work in isolation, often overlooking the impact other stakeholders can have on improving learning environments and pedagogy.
Build a School Advocacy & Advisory Council (SAAC) — partnerships with multiple stakeholders outside the school, so we can better meet the needs of all learners. SAAC members can be people in your community who have skills or knowledge that might create opportunities for additional learning and/or chances for students to collaborate with professionals. Council members can be friends from your local church or community center, people you meet on social channels like Twitter, or even a family member.
What You Can Do Tomorrow
- Teachers and school leaders need to collaborate on a shared vision that will meet the needs of all learners.
- Identify key business leaders, nonprofits, local colleges and university systems to build an advisory council and partners that will help develop the whole child.
- Pinpoint stakeholders that interest students (entrepreneurs, engineers, game designers, music producers, fashion designers). This becomes more meaningful than schools creating glorified lists of partners that may not add value for students (our #1 priority).
If you want to create a whole child movement that builds real-world relationships in and around your community, start building your School Advocacy & Advisory Council (SAAC) today.
Valerie Lewis is a 16-year veteran teacher in Gwinnett County, Georgia and the founder of EdObstacles and PassTheScopeEDU — organizations that promote whole child education and professional growth for educators around the world. Her philosophy is that every child can learn through relationships built and through a curriculum that reflects their interests authentically. LearningLearning, according to Valerie, cannot be a mold where one size fits all. It should always be transformational and appeals to the individual soul; smash boxes and create your own lane that will influence how you meet the needs of your students and naturally lead other educators.
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Author: Mark Barnes
Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.