As a former elementary principal in both rural and urban districts in Iowa, I wonder why schools are not utilizing this gift of time to innovate and recreate schools as we know them. We know that many children do not thrive in our current educational system and yet we continue to do the same thing year after year. Why not gather the best teachers together and have them create the ideal school? We may not be able to actually bring that ideal into reality but if we had a new prototype to aim toward we might find we could intervene on the cycles we see that aren’t working. Is it possible that students from different economic and cultural backgrounds would thrive in differently structured classrooms? Would it make more sense to offer different experiences to children who are opportunity-challenged due to their loving family’s economic situation? Does every elementary teacher need to create the same online learning lessons or should we assign our most gifted teachers to do that and use this time to grow the skills, talents and abilities of our other teachers? Should some teachers be staffing phones to assist students who struggle with at-home learning or assist parents and grandparents who are stressed teaching their children at home? So many questions that we could use this time to answer. This pandemic could be a catalyst for change if educational leaders both in administration and in the classroom took actions to make it so!
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