Thursday, November 29, 2018

What Is Response to Intervention in the Educational Setting?

A former public school system superintendent, Rebecca Lowry currently works for Cumberland Therapies in the greater Dayton, Ohio, region. During her time as an assistant superintendent with Chichester School District, Rebecca Lowry oversaw behavioral and academic-support programs, including Response to Intervention (RTI).

The RTI strategy delivers targeted, intensive academic instruction to students who need help reaching grade-level standards. The process consists of three tiers. In the first RTI tier, a qualified teacher provides high-quality classroom instruction based on data-backed best practices. Students receive regular screening, and those who need extra support receive supplemental instruction in the regular classroom. Students are monitored for progress toward curriculum-based standards over a period of approximately eight weeks. Those who have not sufficiently improved their skills move to Tier 2.

Tier 2 of RTI consists of targeted interventions in a small-group setting in addition to general classroom instruction. Progress monitoring continues, and if students show too little progress, they move to Tier 3, which consists of increased intensive interventions and, if necessary, a more comprehensive educational evaluation to determine whether a student needs special-education services. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Career Paths in Educational Leadership

Ohio-based education professional Rebecca Lowry has previously worked in senior leadership and consulting roles in school districts in Cleveland and in Montross, Virginia. Rebecca Lowry obtained a PhD in educational leadership and went on to serve as superintendent of Westmoreland County Public Schools from 2011 to 2015.

Entering the educational leadership field is a great choice for experienced teachers looking for a new challenge. Educational leaders work in all educational institutions, from early elementary to higher education. Most positions involve a combination of administrative duties , teacher coaching, and program or department oversight. 

Educational leaders are often responsible for setting and carrying out department goals and are accountable for teacher development. Some leaders may also be responsible for managing budgets and reviewing curricula. They play important roles in school boards and committees and often serve as department heads or oversee entire programs. 

Besides extensive teaching experience, most educational leaders hold master's or doctorates in educational leadership, or may even possess advanced degrees in subject-specific fields.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Characteristics of Educational Leadership

As the former superintendent of Westmoreland County Public Schools in Montross, Virginia, Rebecca Lowry, PhD, coordinated and otherwise oversaw academic and non-academic programs in the district. While serving as a superintendent, Dr. Rebecca Lowry drew upon her formal education, including an MS in school psychology and a PhD in educational leadership.

Educational leadership refers to the process of improving the educational system and the quality of education it provides by working with a wide variety of individuals, including educators, parents, policymakers, and students. The process combines the vision, skills, goals, and capabilities of key individuals, leading to the creation of educational programs that provide students with a positive academic environment.

Educational leadership involves the following key characteristics:

- Instructional leadership, which is the ability to devote time and energy for improvement fueled by a commitment to enhance students’ academic success. Instructional leaders spend time analyzing situations and providing feedback that will encourage teachers and students alike.

- Community building also assumes an important role in educational leadership. An educational leader knows how to bring community members together to achieve the school’s goals.

- Another characteristic of educational leadership is establishing a clear vision and plan for achieving it. An educational leader knows how to communicate this vision and is prepared to face the risks associated with realizing it.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Personalized Learning Cohort Prepares for 2018-19 Meeting

Rebecca Lowry drew upon her background in psychology to enhance her skills as a school superintendent and develop programs for student growth and academic success. The former superintendent of the Westmoreland County Public Schools in Virginia, Rebecca Lowry is now a school psychologist. She maintains membership in the American Association of School Superintendents (AASA). 

AASA delivers personalized learning opportunities through its Personalized Learning Cohort program. Designed to educate school administrators on personalized learning approaches, the program allows education leaders to engage in research studies, explore media stories, and connect with other school districts. 

Personalized Learning Cohort also serves to create a community of competent superintendents who will lead a nationwide movement for personalized learning. Sessions and meetings contain content for educators new to personalized learning and those with years of experience. The 2018-19 Personalized Learning Cohort will take place October 31 through November 2, 2018, in the Dysart Unified School District in Dysart, Arizona.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Virginia Tech’s Educational Leadership Program Trains Future Leaders

The former superintendent of Westmoreland County Public Schools, Rebecca Lowry, PhD, serves as a school psychologist with Cumberland Therapies outside of Dayton, Ohio. An alumna of Bluefield College with a BA in music and Radford University with an MS in school psychology, Dr. Rebecca Lowry received her PhD in educational leadership from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University before becoming a superintendent.

In existence for more than 40 years, the Educational Leadership Program at Virginia Tech is available at not only the main campus in Blacksburg, but five extension campuses throughout Virginia as well. The land-grant institution takes its duties seriously to train educational leaders for the Commonwealth of Virginia by strengthening their leadership skills to drive improved student performance.

Virginia’s commitment to its educational leaders pays off, with the state retaining approximately 30 percent of Virginia Tech Educational Leadership graduates as public school superintendents. Graduates of the program also function in other capacities in Virginia’s public education system, including as principals, university presidents and faculty members, researchers, and members of state boards of education.

Friday, July 6, 2018

What Can Be Done for Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds?

With an MS in school psychology, Rebecca Lowry, PhD, served as assistant superintendent at Chichester School District in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where she improved the school’s performance by introducing and implementing local quarterly assessments which helped predict student success on required state and federal assessments. Including her experience as a superintendent, Dr. Rebecca Lowry accumulated over 20 years of experience designing academic programs aimed at maximizing growth and providing college options for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students who have been hindered from excelling in school due to unfortunate and/or uncontrollable circumstances end up disadvantaged. Such circumstances encompass financial and/or social hardships, family issues, and natural disaster-related consequences which for disadvantaged populations may be virtually impossible to overcome. The middle-class perspective is often quite contrasting, in that a temporary set back just requires "a little more effort to move out, on, and up". Disadvantaged students can become stuck caring for other family members, for example, following a disaster while opportunities while accessible are fleeting......"grabbed up by those who have the resources to change their plans in the moment". Thus, the career ladder progress is not hampered for them. 

To help such students, government agencies and school districts have suggested applying groundbreaking teaching strategies and implementing after-school programs. Some techniques that may be beneficial for students from disadvantaged backgrounds include:

- Sticking to routines. Without a routine, students may get distracted and lessons may be disrupted. Identifying clear expectations and goals saves time and encourages more focus on the lessons that need to be accomplished. For instance, if students expect a short review when they come to class, they will be more likely to arrive prepared for an assessment. Moreover, if the timing and purpose of handouts is clear, students will know what to do with them and their response will be automatic.

- Encouraging participation through directed questioning. When students know that their teacher will not settle for an “I don’t know” answer, they will try for a better response by referring to their notes. This not only encourages involvement, but also ensures that students have understood the lesson.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Educational Services Reviews Offer Paths to Improvement

The former superintendent of Westmoreland County Public Schools in Virginia, Rebecca Lowry oversaw strategic planning and implementation efforts for academic programs. Rebecca Lowry belongs to the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS), which helps schools assess their current programs and operations by conducting professional Educational Services Reviews (ESR). 

Designed for new and incumbent superintendents, an ESR highlights a school’s strengths from an administrative, instructional, and operational perspective and identifies areas for improvement within those functions. An ESR works especially well for superintendents who are considering adding new programs or making modifications to educational programs. 

Feedback generated from an ESR can inspire new ideas for improving communications, handling daily operations, and implementing instructional programs. ESRs can also evaluate the effectiveness of school policies, personnel, and response procedures. VASS offers two forms of the ESR - a comprehensive review of all divisions and a focused review that examines a specific area.