ASCD Part 2: Interviews with two inspiring young educators

For me, one of the highlights of the recent ASCD Conference in Philadelphia was joining a few of my favorite fellow bloggers at an interview/lunch with the two inspiring educators selected by ASCD for the prestigious 2012 Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA). The winners were selected by a panel of diverse education professionals . . . from a large pool of candidates nominated by educators across the globe. Each received a $10,000 cash award.

I’d like you all to meet Liliana Aguas, a teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, CA and Matt McClure, superintendent of Cross County Schools in rural Arkansas.

Liliana describes her vibrant, experiential, second grade immersion classroom where her learners inquire and discover as young scientists. She charmed us completely. We all wanted to be in her class and investigate with bugs. Click below to watch the video, or watch here.

Matt describes the leadership that transformed an entire district towards more meaningful learning. He asked his teachers, After those prerequisite skills assessed by NCLB, what else do students need to be successful? They came up with this list: problem-solving, think analytically, collaborate with others, communicate, use technology, and develop work ethic. He then asked, How are we doing this in our classrooms? The response was dead silence. We were not doing anything but giving it lip service. So the district formed an exploratory committee, visited other schools, examined the a whole-child perspective. What resulted was a district-wide focus on problem-, project-, and processed-based learning–implemented wall-to-wall from seventh grade up. Students must present or defend what they learn. Click below to watch the video or watch here.

Please share these inspirational chats with your own teachers and administrators!

Joyce Valenza is the Teacher-Librarian at Springfield Township High School, author, and technology advocate. Read her SLJ NeverEndingSearch blog here.