Last year we implemented something called “WIN” Time on my 7th Grade team at school. “WIN” stood for “What I Need” and it was big success. It started out with me identifying math concepts that students needed extra help with and providing them with extra time, help, and lessons on those. However, it soon developed into students telling me when they knew they needed WIN time because they weren’t getting something.
Do you know what is crazy? When students were able to identify their own needs and then get them met they were more invested and successful in the classroom. I saw a large increase in proficiency in my classroom last year based on my state’s accountability measures and a decrease in our GAP partially because of this WIN time.
I can’t help but wonder if this applies to teachers and education as well. The political climate in Kentucky right now is not pleasant and education seems to be taking the brunt of the cuts, arguments, and political spin. However it never seems to occur to those that are constantly pointing out what is “wrong” with education in the state of Kentucky and who are constantly running their campaigns on how they are going to fix the problems to ask teachers what they really need to be successful.
I think those who represent us and make policy decisions may be surprised at how communication, trust, and even results could improve if you began to include teachers in the discussion and ask them what they need to “WIN” rather than just making sweeping reform that seems to do everything in the end except improve education.
I taught kids in 7th grade math last year that came in ranging from 1st grade to 8th grade math levels. At the end of the year all learners experienced nearly two years worth of growth, ELL students experienced 2 1/3 years, and SWD experienced 2 1/2 years of growth. That is how we begin to close achievement gaps. My students with disabilities and english language learners made great gains last year on our state math performance assessment and yet no one is asking me how or seems to want to learn from what I or other teachers across the state do to close achievement gaps each and every day.
Last week I reached out to my Representatives and State Commissioner of Education politely and professionally and asked to meet with them to share ideas and work together for kids in the state of Kentucky. Of all the emails I sent, I received zero responses. I think our kids deserve better than that.
I love the kids of Kentucky and sincerely wanted begin a dialogue about how we can begin working together to improve education here. The kids in Kentucky deserve teachers and legislators working together to decide their future. They deserve to be asked what they need. They deserve answered emails, strong legislation, and funded classrooms. They deserve to WIN.