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.