For the first time in 14 years, I'm not in the trenches launching a new school year because I am on sabbatical working on my dissertation and a second master's degree. However, my mind, heart, and friends are all launching the new school year and I can't help but share some thinking with you about launching the new school year.
As an administrator, there are things teachers are dying to know right now (and some things they may prefer not to know, but deep down crave). Here's my starting list:
Teachers Need to Know.... from Their Principal as the New School Year Starts:
There are so many more things that are needed to be shared now. What would you add to the list?
By: Rachel Amstutz
Inspiring education reform, supporting school leaders, leading innovation, committed to all things education.
It’s the beginning of August and likely one of the last things you are thinking about is your child’s math education.
We interrupt this lovely summer day to share some facts with you:
Now that we have your attention--- we have one important question for you: Is your child ready to return to math class in the fall?
We are here to help! We will:
1) Determine your child’s current level of performance, strengths, and challenges and provide you with a detailed summary and consultation free of charge. Simply contact us using the contact information below to schedule a free diagnostic session.
2) Provide individualized programming to help your child plug any gaps that may exist, develop fluency with multiplication facts, shore up grade level expected skills, and gain confidence.
The Summer Math Intensive programs were created to solve these challenges, boost math confidence, and solidify math content, skills, and fluency before students return to school in the fall. Our target audience is rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders (however, interest in a 7th grade program has been expressed and we are seeking students for it). Our Summer Math Intensive offers two pathways: Fluency and Core Content. Fluency will teach your child the strategies to become completely fluent and automatic with their multiplication facts 0-12. With many years of teaching middle schoolers under our belts, we can tell you with confidence that most middle schoolers are not fluent with their facts. This results in frustration and wrong answers on content such as area, geometry, and all problem solving. It’s time to help your child stop drawing millions of dots or using hashmarks to access information that should be stored in their long term memory and we can do that with them! Core Content focuses on the grade level core content your child should know well and shores up any missing areas or misconceptions. Our diagnostic allows us to know your child’s needs and to plan accordingly.
- August 2-6 Summer Math Intensive Fluency
- August 9-20 Summer Math Intensive Core Content
For more information:
- To learn more, register, and find discount codes https://www.atozeducationconsulting.org/summer-math-intensive.html
- Read about the instructors and the Summer Math Intensive in the Severna Park Voice: https://www.severnaparkvoice.com/stories/passionate-educators-address-math-fluency-gap,34345
- Email us: AtoZeducationconsulting@gmail.org
- Follow us and message us on Facebook: facebook.com/AtoZeducationconsulting
Reading the news across sectors in our country paints a bleak picture about employees. They are just not in the workforce in the numbers that we need. This is hitting education too. And that's scary. If you've not thought about this, take a minute. Not only are there not HIGH quality teachers available, there just aren't enough teachers available.
In my principal groups online, it's a recurring topic. "What do we do?" "I'm short 3 teachers, a counselor, a secretary, and a custodian." "Are there literally NO math teachers anywhere?" It's every day. This is still July. For us in Maryland, we still have a month to hire. Each year it's becoming harder and harder to find teachers. That's a really, really big problem.
It trickles down in so many ways....
- Instructional quality will suffer
- Teacher workload is impacted
- School quality suffers
- Student achievement suffers
- Family satisfaction with schools suffers
- Schools can't offer quality academic and extracurricular programming
To be redundant, the most important problem is that our students aren't seated in front of highly capable educators if we can't hire teachers.
The impact of a strong teacher is well researched and can't be overstated. The impact of a weak teachers is also well known.
We've known this was coming. We've talked about it for years as we watched it begin, then grow, and now... it's seriously at an epidemic level. But what are we doing about it? The workload hasn't changed and is nearly impossible (ok, totally impossible). The profession is disrespected constantly. New teachers are thrown into the deep end. Teacher stress levels are through the roof.
A conversation has to be started to address this. But beyond that, we MUST take action.
- If you know/your child has a high quality teacher, do everything in your power to support them, advocate for them, recognize the gift they are to your family and society.
- Look into the data in your local area. What's the turn over? What are the concerns of the teachers? What's their day look like--- how many non instructional duties do they have, when do they plan/grade/collaborate with colleagues?
- Have a conversation with your school leadership team and ask how you can help support teacher recruitment and retention.
A more painful question is "would you recommend a high school graduate or a family member to go into education?" If the answer is no, we have to have deeper conversations to address these root causes. Or else, who will be in our classrooms.
Take a minute and add this to your really important to keep in mind list. Without high quality teachers in our classrooms, our country will suffer rapidly. Our kids deserve better.
Special shout out to all my friends and colleagues who officially wrapped up the 2020-2021 school year today! Here's to an amazing summer of rest, rejuvenation, and relaxation!
It was a long and challenging year, but educators rose above it and did amazing things for kids and families! So proud of all you accomplished!
I just started reading the book Sacred Rest and am REALLY enjoying it! If you're feeling exhausted and don't quite have words to explain it... check it out to learn about all the types of rest! Here's a fun quiz to take to tell you which areas you are drained in..... then spend the summer refueling specifically in these areas!
I'm about half way through the book and have gotten several great nuggets from it already.
Rest up educators! Our students need you... in the fall!
Here's a link to buy the book if you are interested (note, I do receive Amazon Affiliate rewards if you purchase from this link).
If you are a principal, you already know the headline--- Principals Matter. Principals have great influence on the success of a school, the outcomes of students, the growth and collective efficacy of the staff, the climate and culture of the school, and the future of education. While often times a middle manager balancing the demands of the central office and the needs of their school building, principals are called to implement policy, procedure, and best practice while attending to their building specific people, situations, programs, and place in development. It's a very diverse and complicated position that requires many skills sets and the ability to focus on everything at once. This report tells us how the best principals do it. It breaks the work into interesting subsets. It's well worth a read!
Here it is: Wallace Foundation: How Principals Affect Students and Schools, a Systemic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research
This report is so good that I will be digging into it here for many more blog posts and in my dissertation work this summer! Each component requires deeper consideration and reflection. But for today, I'm sharing some of the highlights.
The key take away for principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders: YOU MATTER! You make an incredible difference!
My closing thought on this for today is: How do we nurture, grow, coach, encourage, and support our current leaders and aspiring leaders? It's clear the role is big and the expectations are vast. Each principal has their strengths and their growth areas. Are we providing them what they need to constantly grow, reflect, modify, do better, refresh, stay current, develop their growth areas, celebrate their strengths, and keep them in the role so they can impact greater change!!!
That's what A to Z Education Consulting is all about at its core! Principal coaching that is personalized, confidential, balanced, and growth oriented! If you are ready to have a Principal Coach to further develop your practice, reach out! Email AtoZeducationconsulting@gmail.com to learn about the options and packages. Looking forward to partnering!
In my family, when you need a clever saying, a phrase, or to name a new business, you call mom. Just tell her the idea and let her think. Her creative mind always comes up with great options!
So I called and said, “I need a name for my new education consulting company.” She thought about it, then a little later sent the name— A to Z Education Consulting. Right away, I knew she was GENIUS. I mean, in fairness, I already knew that. But, this name is perfect! Let me tell you why!
So first and most obvious if you are in my family… we’ll we are The Amstutz Family … get it… A to Z!! Amstutz, A to Z….. It’s me!!!
Equally important though, it’s hard for me to narrow my focus or interest areas in education . Sure, I'm a principal and I love education leadership. But math is never far from my heart. And, what about education technology?! That’s not all…. I’m interested in active
learning, financial education in early grades, arts education and arts enhancement, brain development, professional development, teacher and principal recruitment and retention, using social media to connect families to their child’s education, leadership development, innovation, change management, AND SO MUCH MORE!
See… A to Z …. It’s perfect for my education consulting business!
PS If you see my mom, tell her she’s a genius!
In April 2021, I launched A to Z Education Consulting as a way to expand my ability to contribute to solving education challenges and upgrading the educational experiences of children and families.
My focus and passion is on principal coaching and development. With strong principals at the helm of our schools, the future is bright! But the job is big and exhausting and complex and challenging and draining ... and many strong leaders don't stay in the role long enough to impact positive change. That needs to change! We must support our school leaders and grow their skill set to meet the many, wide ranging demands required of them.
What makes me qualified to help grow our leaders? Well, to start I have served as a school principal for 11 years in 4 very different schools ranging from high poverty to affluent, public to contract/charter, military, suburban and urban. In addition, in 2014 I became an Adjunct Professor in the Education Administration department at McDaniel College and have consistently taught Ed Leadership courses and overseen over 30 admin interns as they completed their admin internships. It is my life's work, my passion.
However, it stems from a passion for education and ensuring that children get the best foundation possible to provide them unlimited options for future success. I have a strong belief that our work encompasses academic, social, and societal aspects. We must partner with families to help children succeed. We must meet children where they are and support all their needs. We must constantly innovate and seek new and better ways to accomplish our work. We must stay current and relevant, tapping into new technologies, best practice, and research to ensure we are providing the best resources and supports possible.
My experiences over the past two decades include:
Field Manager for Discovery Education
Middle School Math Teacher and Department Chair
Elementary School Teacher, eCoach, AfterSchool Title 1 Coordinator
I am very excited to connect with you and to support your education needs in anyway possible!
Passionate about ALL things education. Focused on school improvement and leadership development. With 20 years experience, over a decade as a school principal, and also a Senior Adjunct Professor at a School of Education, I am committed to supporting schools, school leaders, innovation, and growth that enhances the educational experiences provided to students and families.