Great Minds® Founder and CEO Lynne Munson wrote an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch recently about the many ways we need to be supporting teachers during this difficult time. Educators are working so hard to help students close pandemic-related learning gaps, tend to students’ well-being, and cover other classes and bus lines amid staff shortages.
In the op-ed, Munson wrote about conversations she’s been having with teachers in schools around the country.
“I’ve seen the burnout firsthand, but I’ve also met and talked with so many teachers who have a deep commitment to the profession and the children they serve. By listening to them, I believe we can come together around ideas that will help retain teachers, recruit new talent, and address the nation’s biggest academic decline in decades,” Munson wrote.
She described the need for high-quality curriculum resources that support great teaching and knowledge building in the classroom, as well as the urgent need for meaningful professional development closely aligned to those resources.
“It always works best to ensure you have teacher input in creating classroom resources,” wrote Munson. At Great Minds, we pair PK–12 teachers with content experts and academics to develop content-rich curricula that are highly usable in the classroom.
We also tap teachers who have used our resources to provide training to other educators. Munson recalled Milwaukee educator Kurt Stielow, who has delivered professional development for other teachers on Eureka Math®. He explained that this opportunity has deepened his own understanding of math and improved his teaching strategies even as he’s helped others.
Munson noted that other professional learning experiences education leaders should make available to teachers include National Board Certification, a program Eureka Math writer and Los Angeles Unified School District teacher Lisa Watts-Lawton said helped make her a better teacher.
And Munson reminded readers that it’s vital to thank teachers and acknowledge their successes. She described how Tracey Noe, assistant superintendent in Indiana’s Goshen Community Schools, visits classrooms and talks with school leaders and teachers and calls out the wins. In one such example, Tracey said a kindergartner, working collaboratively with another student, beautifully articulated the importance of using evidence from a text in a writing assignment.
“Kurt, Lisa, and Tracey demonstrate what’s possible,” wrote Munson. “Let’s support them and all the educators working so hard to ensure each and every student makes a full academic recovery and receives the kind of teaching and learning experiences that fuel big dreams and bright futures.”
Chad brings more than 23 years of experience in communications to Great Minds. He has served in three state education agencies, which included time assisting New Mexico’s secretary of education with the adoption of new education reform initiatives; serving as the communications director at the Washington, D.C., Office of the State Superintendent of Education; and working as an assistant to the Florida Commissioner of Education. Chad also worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009 and served as the deputy assistant secretary for media affairs and strategic communication during his final two years there. Chad is a native of Bloomington, Ill., and graduated from Florida State University.