Students in Region 5 schools have historically been the most at-risk group in the district, and KCS is working to close the opportunity gap for these students.
One of the ways the district is taking steps in this area is by hosting Transformational Thursdays, a weekly professional development program for educators in Region 5.
During this week’s Transformational Thursday session, Executive Director of Learning and Literacy Dr. Erin Phillips joined educators at Belle Morris Elementary to discuss the Opportunity Myth.
The “myth” is a research study that looked into five diverse school districts and did an analysis of what opportunities students are receiving in school to achieve their lifetime goals. The study found that students believed they were set up for success, but in reality, the schools were not adequately preparing them with the skills they needed to thrive in a postsecondary environment.
While this finding may seem dim and disheartening, the study provided four key resources educators can amplify to end the myth for students: grade-aligned assignments, deep engagement, strong instruction, and high expectations.
“These resources are particularly important in Region 5 because we have students who have experienced trauma and are from diverse backgrounds with lots of potential barriers they walk into school with,” Phillips said. “The focus is on how we can remove the stigma teachers might have – that students have so many issues they’re dealing with that they can’t achieve at high levels – because all students deserve this strong mindset from their teachers.”
The start of the second quarter of the year brought with it a change of focus for the Transformational Thursday sessions.
“What we’re trying to do throughout these sessions is empower our teachers to continue to do great things for kids to continue being lifelong learners,” Phillips said. “With this work in Transformational Thursdays, we’re really looking at a student-centered approach to how we elevate strong teaching in our schools.”