Integrating Intelligence

posted in: Intelligence | 0

Integrating Intelligence;

Harnessing the Best Practices in Education

Robert A. Southworth, Jr., Ed.D.

I grew up keeping the stats of my favorite basketball team, the 1969 New York Knicks. Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dave DeBuschere, Bill Bradley and Dick Barnett had a “best practice” strategy for winning—score more points by passing the ball to the open man (Debusschere, 1970). Fast forward to Coach Scott Davenport, whose well-worn copy of Dave Debusshere’s book, “The Open Man,” is always with him as he yells at his players to pass the ball. Davenport’s Bellarmine Knights—a college basketball team that scores 52.9% of the time—shot better than the Miami Heat and all other professional basketball teams last year.

“The mentality of everyone on the floor is, I may have a good shot, but there’s always a chance to get a better one for someone else,” the junior forward George Suggs said. Bellarmine shoots well because the players take high-percentage shots (Cacciola, 2015).

Hi, my name is Rob Southworth and I am passionate about good teaching and learning. When I was teaching the basic course on School Improvement at Teachers College Columbia University I told my students of the “best practices” to come out of education in America: They included the project method, grouping students, hands-on learning, achieving standards, student-centered learning, problem-solving, performance assessment, accountability, experiential learning, collaborative teaching, multiple intelligences, flipped classrooms and arts-integration. And like the best coaches in basketball today, I want our students to benefit from these best educational practices.

Project Art

posted in: Arts, Reform | 0

Many schools in New York City have suffered loss in arts education. Public libraries have also incurred budget set-backs. Enter Adarsh Alphons with a solution for both. Adarsh is passionate about art and education. “He has painted portraits for Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and the Pope, all because one art teacher perceived his passion for art, encouraged his aptitude and believed in him” (Project Art Website). He is so passionate about art that after being expelled from school at age 7 because he was drawing, and being encouraged by a teacher to keep drawing, he has started his own non-profit called Project Art: Through his vision, students in the city of New York get art in public libraries.

ProjectArt aims to level the playing field, particularly for youth from lower socioeconomic backgrounds by offering them a place to express themselves through art.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

I was asked the other day why a school had changed its reputation from a scholastic school to a school that takes care of special education students. I was momentarily taken aback, as the school in question continues to have fine academic standards and has seen an increase in providing accommodations for special education students. This question made me think about the interdisciplinary potential between classroom teachers and others such as special education teachers. The potential power of interdisciplinary work at all levels could be a game-changer, e.g., in the classroom between two classroom subjects, in the child’s mind gathering information from multiples sources, and in professional contexts such as education and health care. The need for educators to draw upon other disciplines of knowledge could be a key to the improvement of modern schooling.

Health Care and Education

I recently ran into a doctor at Tufts Floating Hospital who regularly crosses the disciplinary divide between education and health care:

Teachers thrive in cultures of professional respect and learning

In all of this talk about accountability in schools, policymakers sometimes lose sight of the real accountability that takes place at the teaching and learning level. That accountability is hard to measure when we talk about policy, but when we talk about learning, everyone seems to know the deal. This week, a teacher wrote in Ed Week that she needs a culture of professional respect and learning in order to do her job—not money, promotion, and or other incentives—and especially not punitive measures based on questionable testing data.

While many of my students may come from poverty or difficult home situations, the support I receive bolsters my determination to give each student my very best and to confront academic and discipline issues from a proactive standpoint. I don’t earn more money than teachers in other districts, and I’d be hard pressed to leave my school simply because I was offered more money or perks.

States Reconsidering Common Core Assessment Policy

posted in: Assessment, Reform | 0

It seems that we are poised to make a shift in testing policy at the state level. Many states are reconsidering how they test, how much they test, and what the test says about student achievement and teacher quality. With students studying for more and more tests, the amount of testing seems to have been in question for many years. But this issue is now gaining strength at the state level as the cost of this testing is examined.

In Colorado, for example, a Standards and Assessment Task Force established through legislation this year is planning to make recommendations about statewide and local assessments by the end of January. A November study commissioned by the task force found that local assessments cost between $16 million and $25 million in the state annually, while statewide assessments cost between $45 million and $53 million, or roughly $70 to $90 per student (

Formative Assessment Through Micro-Data Collection

posted in: Assessment, Reform | 0

In the struggle over what kinds of data matter, not just big and little data, but real data that deserves our attention in this busy world we live in, data that move, improve and educate teachers is my favorite. In NYC there is a school called School for Global Leaders that is using micro-data that might be described as very small and almost not worth collecting. And yet this micro-data, for example, where students sit, how much time students spend in certain instructional groups or how much learning is attained in lecture formats, is the best type of assessment data to collect:

Creative Contribution

One of the great puzzles of modern education and accountability is choosing what is important and how to assess that importance.

Without reviewing all of educational assessment, it is useful to review Sternberg’s theory of creative contribution. In many ways his theory helps ground the was we think about creative contribution by helping us to see, is this artwork a replication of other artwork, is this drama an advancement of the field, or is this student’s musical composition a redefinition of the work in the field or is it really a starting over and re-initiation of the field’s work?

Arts Integration Improves Student Achievement

This paper was just accepted to be presented at AERA in Chicago in April, 2015

Purpose of this Evaluation Report
The purpose of this report is to evaluate an arts integration program in Rochester, NY. The Rochester City School District (RCSD) has won two federal Arts in Education Model Demonstration and Dissemination (AEMDD) grants and this evaluation report covers the third year (2012-2013) of the second grant (2011-2014). The evaluation of the Rochester Arts Impact Study Enhancement (RAISE) is a true experimental design and involves 16,630 K-6 students over four years.

Purpose of AEMDD
The purpose of the Arts In Education Model Demonstration and Dissemination (AEMDD) federal grant is to support the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that are based on research and have demonstrated that they effectively: [1] integrate standards-based arts education into the core elementary and middle school curricula; [2] strengthen standards-based arts instruction in these grades; and [3] improve students’ academic performance in ELA and Math, social studies and science, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts.

Equity Guidance Issued by Office of Civil Rights, US Dept. of Education

posted in: Reform | 0

The US Department of Education issued Guidance on Equity in US School Systems on October 1, 2014:

All students—regardless of race, color, national origin or zip code—deserve a high-quality education that includes resources such as academic and extracurricular programs, strong teaching, technology and instructional materials, and safe school facilities. Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced guidance, in the form of a Dear Colleague letter to states, school districts and schools to ensure that students have equal access to such educational resources so that they all have an equal opportunity to succeed in school, careers and in life. The guidance, issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), provides detailed and concrete information to educators on the standards set in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is one part of President Obama’s larger equity agenda, including the recently announced Excellent Educators for All initiative, and takes into account the ongoing efforts of states, school districts and schools to improve equity.