Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

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Climate and Culture

  • “We Can All Still Learn” – A Discussion of the Kavanaugh Hearings and Student News Engagement

    Dana Smiley, a member of Oregon Student Voice, recently wrote an article entitled “The general election was a national shouting match. So why were our classrooms so quiet?” Her pressing query prompted us to think not just of political discourse in schools but more broadly about how current events are addressed by educators.
    Especially in light…

  • An Absent-Minded Quest

    I’ve been feeling somewhat like an adventurer on an epic quest in search of the answer to a question that, in my mind, should be fairly simple: What is chronic absenteeism? As part of the new accountability standards, I assumed that a functioning definition for the term MUST exist somewhere in the vast catalogues of information we now access on the Internet. After all, it was defined and utilized within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and as part of the Office of Education Accountability (OEA) report. Yet, the more I asked, the more the answer changed. Surely, the definition must be somewhere. Yet, as part of my journey, slaying the dragons of red tape and being the new “guy”, I was informed - much to this researcher’s chagrin - that a singular definition of chronic absenteeism does not exist. Though the many permutations of the discussion are similar, there are nuances. On my quest, I came across these similar (yet different) definitions: Chronic absenteeism is typically defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year -- approximately 18 days a year, or just two days every month. (Obrien, 2013) Students who are chronically absent—meaning they miss at least 15 days of school in a year—are at serious risk of falling behind in school. (U.S. Department of Education) Chronic absenteeism measures attendance in a different way, combining excused, unexcused and disciplinary absences to get a complete picture of how much instructional time students are missing. (Jordan, Miller, 2017) The criteria for chronic absenteeism varies, but generally students who miss 10 or more days of school or 10% or greater of the school year are considered chronically absent. (Carter, 2018) Chronic absenteeism—or missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason—is a proven early warning sign of academic risk and school dropout. (Bruner, Discher, Chang, 2011) And of course, I asked Merriam-Webster: 1: prolonged absence of an owner from his or her property 2: chronic absence (as from work or school); also: the rate of such absence.
  • Not Your Standard Feedback: Students Weigh in on National Board Standards for Teachers

    The National Board Standards are created by and for teachers as models of what accomplished teachers should be doing in their classrooms. When a teacher wants to become Nationally Board Certified, they must demonstrate how they are meeting these standards and how they are improving their classroom and teaching because of them. The same standards can be used to facilitate the professional learning of educators whether or not they are eligible for certification, choose to certify, or are already certified. The Student Agency Standards Study was the last of the standard studies created. Student agency is embedded throughout all of the National Board Standards as the true measure of accomplished teaching; it’s why we teach. After developing the other standard studies, it felt necessary to spotlight student agency as a study to make sure that it received the attention it deserves. As National Board Certified Teachers, our team sought out the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team, a group supporting students as education research, policy, and advocacy partners, as experts in student agency to help determine what should be included and how to support facilitation. Our collaboration resulted in far more. The Student Voice Team provided sophisticated insights that impacted the facilitation of all of the standard studies, strategy for future standard revisions, and partnerships in advocating for student agency. Through our collaboration, we hope that more educators collaborate with students as educational partners and empower them to be agents of change in the world around them.
  • Relationships = Achievement in Henderson

    Last summer, when Lydia Burnette of Henderson was thinking ahead to fifth grade at South Heights Elementary, she was called in for a special assignment: Casually loiter in the school lobby. Then, when candidates for an open teaching job appeared, approach, welcome them, start chatting, and…

  • Prichard Committee Announces Student-Led Response to School Shootings

    For More Information Contact:
    Rachel Belin, Student Voice Team Director
    (cell) 859-396-6362

    Prichard Committee Announces
    Student-Led Response to School Shootings
    On March 20th, the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team will host a March for Our Lives KY Student Teach-In at the Kentucky State Capitol to highlight the issue of student safety and school climate in the context of recent…

  • Annual Meeting Examines Transforming School Climate and Culture

    Prichard Committee Annual Meeting Examines
    Transforming School Climate and Culture
    Experts, Students and Advocates Discuss Ways to Improve Kentucky Education
    LEXINGTON – KY – Student achievement is significantly influenced by the climate and culture of schools and communities, according to presenters to this week’s annual meeting of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
    Advocates, education experts and students convened to…