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Good Schools For All by Voice of San Diego

Good Schools for All is a podcast about education. Hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn from the Education Synergy Alliance cut through the jargon and debate to get to the news and ideas that matter. Good schools are at the heart of our democracy and economy. We are about good schools for all kids.
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Good Schools For All by Voice of San Diego
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Now displaying: June, 2016
Jun 23, 2016

Teacher evaluations are crucial, but also controversial.

The Poway Unified School District, though, has a new approach to its teacher evaluations.

On this week's podcast, Candy Smiley, president of Poway Federation of Teachers, and Michele Manos, a teacher and leader of the district's teacher evaluation system, joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to explain Poway's evaluation programs.

One part of the program, for example, pairs teachers with their peers.

"We wanted our focus on professional learning for teachers. How do we make teachers get the best opportunities for their students by improving their practice? That's really what our whole program is based on. It's a growth model, it's a strength-based approach, taking a look at multiple measures," Manos said.

Lewis and Kohn talked about the latest in teacher evaluations and what could change on the state level as well.

Got thoughts, opinions or experiences with this? Call 619-354-1085 and leave your name, neighborhood and story so we can play the voicemail on future episodes.

Number of the Week

1 out of 5 and 1 out of 17: A national survey out of Brown University and Vanderbilt University demonstrates how principals rate teachers. Principals said about one fifth of teachers were not proficient and needed assistance and support. But the same principals only gave one out of 17 teachers less than satisfactory proficiency ratings.

What’s Working

UC San Diego's CREATE center houses researchers, youth mentors and professional development experts who work with local teachers to help them get better at their craft.

Jun 9, 2016

The Sweetwater Union High School District is the largest secondary school district in the state. A few years ago, the district decided to move its schools onto the same calendar system.

On this week’s podcast, Karen Janney, superintendent of the Sweetwater Union High School District, joins co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about how she helped develop the district’s common calendar and the impact the change has had on families.

“Before 2007, we had families on up to three different schedules. So they could be at an elementary school district on one calendar, at a middle school on another calendar and at a high school on another calendar,” Janney said. “It just wasn’t good for families.”

Families faced challenges with calendar misalignments such as planning for varied bus schedules, attempting to transfer students to schools to make up credits and trying to plan summer vacations.

“A lot of time the older siblings take care of the younger siblings and if they’re on two different calendars, it makes it even that much tougher for families,” Janney said.

But under the common calendar system, the district provides students with an aligned school schedule and about six weeks of summer vacation.

Got thoughts, opinions or experiences with this? Call 619-354-1085 and leave your name, neighborhood and story so we can play the voicemail on future episodes.

Number of the Week

Two-thirds: According to a 2007 study by Johns Hopkins University, two-thirds of the ninth-grade reading achievement gap can be attributed to summer learning loss; the other third comes from gaps that arise in early childhood.

What’s Working

Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership, sponsored by the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, has worked with San Diego Unified to put in place a summer enrichment program for rising second and third graders that has been successful in sustaining and building reading skills for more than 90 percent of participants, according to an evaluation by UCSD.

Jun 2, 2016

The Barrio Logan College Institute is an after-school program that serves low-income disadvantaged students from across the county and prepares them to go to college. One way the organization says it transforms students’ lives is by educating and empowering parents to exercise school choice.

On this week’s podcast, Barrio Logan College Institute Executive Director Jose Cruz joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about school choice and how to create a so-called college-going culture.

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