At times in education it is easy to be distracted by the plethora of new programs, resources and initiatives promising to increase academic achievement. New initiatives can be a sign of a dynamic institution, or it can be indicative of an organization without direction. Change is part of life; in fact, change defines life. As we grow our knowledge, adopt new resources and explore promising technology applications, we need to be sure we do not lose sight of time-tested educational practices that have long proven to advance academic achievement. At the front of that list is the amount and rigor of reading and writing tasks we ask our students to complete daily. As I stated at the start of the school year, if we are not asking our students to read and write at rigorous levels every day, we are doing our students a grave injustice. This is something we have to be reminded of each time we think about photocopying a worksheet or handing students a crossword puzzle.
Below is an excerpt taken from the Huffington Post, written by Pam Lowe, a Curriculum Director in Holcomb, Missouri. Ms. Lowe's article speaks to the importance of not losing focus on those criteria that can be most effective in helping our students grow their skills and abilities.