Wednesday, November 14, 2012

They are all our kids

On Saturday, I saw this tweet from John Gunnell (@gunnellAP), "Stop treating Special Ed students like they're someone else's responsibility. All kids deserve teachers who are dedicated to their learning."  It really struck me as I remember at one of my first staff meetings five years ago I had stated something that was nearly identical.  After those five years, I wonder if they are just words.  Is there any action that I have taken to make sure that the words come to life?  How can I make sure that the staff believes these words as much as I do?
In Wisconsin, as I'm sure is the case in all states, all staff are going to be judged by how much progress each of our students makes.  It makes no difference if they have a label (gifted and talented, learning disabled, or others) or not.  We will be judged by the progress that is made.  I think back to another quote, it takes a village to raise a child, and the notion that one person cannot raise a child.  In the same vane, it takes more than one person to help a child progress.  We, as educators, are responsible to do all that we can to make this happen.  It can't be the classroom teacher alone, the special educator alone, the gifted and talented coordinator alone, or any other staff member alone.  We must all work together to meet the needs of each of our students.
Please don't think that I'm naive when discussing this.  There is so much that each teacher and staff member must accomplish each and every day with our students.  Working solo or in a silo is a very lonely way of trying to meet the needs of all students, and it limits the opportunities for meeting these needs.  It is important to find the time to collaborate as a team to find the best ways to meet the needs of every child.  Time is available before school, at lunch, after school, during specials or electives, or with the help of a staff member providing the necessary classroom coverage to meet.  Finding the time is important and necessary.
My hope in writing this post is to gather suggestions for assisting with sharing the responsibility of educating all of our students.  Your thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated.