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Posted in

May

2013

California Turnaround District With Four NBRS Awardees Hosts ED Visit

Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) meets students in Sanger, CA.
Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, meets students in Sanger, CA.

Superintendent Marcus Johnson, who coached four Sanger Unified School District schools to National Blue Ribbon School status*—and gave the keynote address at the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools ceremony—recently hosted Michael K. Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) on a visit to his district. Johnson describes the visit on the USDE homeroom blog.

Yudin was visiting Sanger to see first-hand how a district makes “dramatic and meaningful improvements” in student outcomes. In 2004, Sanger, a rural district in California’s agricultural Central Valley, was one of the first in California identified for Program Improvement, specifically for its failure to meet the learning needs of English Language Learners, children of poverty, and special needs students. “We ranked in the bottom 10% in California in terms of student achievement,” Johnson notes. He and his colleagues effected a powerful turnaround: Recently EdTust West found that Sanger has made the third highest overall achievement gains for California districts with high minority, ELL, and socio-economically disadvantaged student populations.

Through visits to four Sanger district schools, Assistant Secretary Yudin learned about the district’s embrace of Professional Learning Communities, beginning in 2005, and the use of support systems (Responsive to Intervention and Positive Behavioral Intervention Systems) in all general education classes.

*Fairmont Elementary School, 2007; John S. Wash Elementary School, 2009; Centerville Elementary School 2010; Sanger Academy Charter School, 2011.


Teacher Appreciation Takes More Than A Week

For Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6 – 10), U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenges education leaders to go beyond the usual celebratory breakfasts and bulletin boards.

In a post on the USDE homeroom blog, the Secretary calls on education leaders to support teachers in the complex work of transitioning to higher standards.

logo for RESPECT teaching
The RESPECT program engages educators across the U.S.

Secretary Duncan also refers education leaders to the USDE Respect Blueprint. With input from teachers across the country and the more than 700 school representatives at the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools ceremony, the blueprint is an evolving, educator-driven plan to Recognize Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching.


“To Want for Someone Else’s Child What You Would Want for Your Own”– 2011 Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer on the Essence of Teaching

Michelle Shearer flanked by President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan
Michelle Shearer flanked by President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan

Valedictorian of her high school and a Princeton University undergraduate, Michelle Shearer was discouraged by her peers for wanting to “waste” her brilliance by teaching. But something tugged at Shearer, the daughter of a teacher, and she found herself, while completing her degree at Princeton, an avid and committed volunteer at the New Jersey School for the Deaf.

Today Shearer teaches AP Chemistry in Frederick Maryland after spending a year as the 2011 National Teacher of the Year. Her powerful, funny, and affirming talk at the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools ceremony is now available as streaming audio or for download. (The talk is 56 minutes long; downloading it as a podcast is recommended.)

Michelle Shearer with AP Chemistry students
Michelle Shearer with AP Chemistry students

Download a transcript: Michelle Shearer NBRS 2012 (pdf).

You can follow Michelle Shearer at her NTOY website at www.fcps.org/ntoy or contact her at shearer2011NTOY@gmail.com

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