When you look at Patching Holes, it brings a visual to your mind of a hole. Then the word patching indicates this will be a temporary fix for this hole which will remain to exist.

I have been involved in education for over 25 years. I can testify we have been working on patching holes the entire time. When we meet to discuss the results of the test scores results reported each year, the same things come up in the discussions.

Those are the basic go-to patching holes all school districts address. If I have missed any, please feel free to share it with us.

There have been new approaches, new curriculum materials, lots of professional development, and no improvements. Taking time to look deeper into these issues is what is needed as we now find ourselves leading out of a global pandemic with students who have lost two years of academic, self-awareness, social-awareness, and foundational skills.

What is the solution?

There is a process to follow in making the best decisions for those we serve. It cannot be one school, some schools, all schools, but schools, families, and communities working together to develop plans to support the entire child as we help them build up; it takes legislators to fund schools adequately across all states and locations equally. All areas must have high-quality connections and equipment to serve students.

We do not need to patch the holes in education; we must fix them today. Education is not a political game, and it has cost generations of quality education.

Everyone has two basic needs to have filled. They need to feel good and safe. Let’s begin with my Two Rules in helping all schools, homes and communities with feeling good and safe. What does that look like and sound like?

These are just a few of the points, to begin with, helping to bring action items to the table to start establishing safety. There is a great deal of work to do, but this is the beginning of not patching holes but establishing foundations.

Curriculum in education seems to be something people are talking about right now. However, we are not talking about the right points of curriculum. We need to puch asside all of these extra topics which is adding layers and layers of work to the teachers, not to mention taking time away from students who are two years on average behind in the foundational skills they need in order to become successful in their lives. Children are not reading at grade level and they are not at grade level for math. These are two critical points which must be addressed today. Look at the data. We have seen an overall decline for years. Even those who were at level or above, were not making the gains they should have been based on their skill sets. Can we refocus our efforts on helping students learn foundational skills?

There are a wide variety of podcasts to select from to tune in and to help you sharpen up the areas you want to grow. Listening to podcasts is a great way to spend time driving to and from work, doing your chores at home, and taking a walk. Finding the one you want to follow or checking out the wide variety of the ones out there takes a great deal of time, or you can begin with those someone recommends as you start your journey.

Usually, podcasts are around 30 minutes long. Each one will provide you with the time allotted for the session, topic, and highlights. A transcript of the show will be made available at the conclusion and the best thing is the show is recorded for you to go back to listen to again or to share parts with others you want to highlight.

I began listening to podcasts three years ago and have listened to a wide variety of them. I want to provide you with a list of a few I believe you will find to be helpful as school leaders to utilize in all you do.

There are many leaders to learn from! These are just a few. In my decades of growing, I find myself continuing to grow as I enjoy reading, listening, and attending webinars or conferences. My advice is always to keep looking for more to learn! In addition, never be afraid to share your wisdom as well. My friend Danny calls his group “Ruckus Makers,” which I think is excellent! Have you ever been called names? Silly question, yes, we all have! My editor has recently called me radical. I have never thought of myself described in this way. How do you describe yourself? Something else to reflect on as you think about which one of these podcasts fits your needs right now. Bookmark the others to listen to when you have the time and the need. The best thing about these is they are recorded to listen to when you can!

“I don’t want it to happen again,” said Miah Cerrillo—a 4th grader in one of two adjoining Robb Elementary School classrooms where 19 children and two teachers died. You can watch her testimony provided by C-Span and read an article at Education Week, including her recorded testimony.

When Miah is asked if she feels safe, you see her shaking her head no and saying no. She is not alone in this feeling of safety. It is felt by students everywhere. They may not have experienced the level of trauma Miah has, but they have experienced some form of trauma to challenge safety.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Safety is a basic need. Most of our decisions and actions are based on meeting our basic needs. The drive to meet safety is essential for all of us. We may not be in constant danger, but our need to feel safe conditions to be completed.

Think of all of the ways safety is used in your life. We purchase insurance; we have smoke detectors, safety guidelines, safety reports on the vehicles we are buying, lifeguards on duty, safety glass, and safety warnings, and my list of examples could continue as you add to this list as well. Safety is an essential basic need.

Why then are we struggling with safety? If we know how important security is to our basic growth needs, why are we taking it away from the children, families, staff, and communities we serve?

Are we allowing biased, money, politics, and selfish “so-called” power to get in the way of making important decisions to bring safety to the center of what needs to be done to help get our foundation back before it cracks completely?

Steps to take toward safety

Please message me if you need help with Connected Community Calendar and hosting a meeting to begin these talks. I have done this with success as we started to do this in the last district I worked in and worked to help bring families together with the community. It can work with stability and consistency. Inviting all organizations, churches, and associations helps ensure you are working together to help each other. When everyone knows what others are doing, more days can be filled with something for someone to do. Keeping everyone actively involved is a great way to keep the community going.

Building solid relationships is essential to school safety. Everyone knowing each other in the community helps us see through different lenses to act on any signs we see. Being proactive is what we need, not reactive.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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