As a former middle and high school football coach, I gave my share of pregame pep talk speeches. We gathered the team in an endzone or locker room and helped them focus on the game. 13 to 18-year-old athletes needed basic reminders of who was on kickoff but inspirational words also helped to set the early tone of the game. I always tried to emulate the message that Jimmy Valvano described in his 1993 ESPY speech in which he describes the three things every person should do every day. Early in the season, we would outline the three priorities of the team and these traits focused any speech for my athletes. This fall I have challenged the Learning Forward Kansas (LFKS) board to focus on three simple concepts:
Go Big, Stay Calm, Be Positive.
Obviously, to “go big” one must have goals and aspirations, but the concept is larger. Too often educators are hesitant to attempt something different or push back against a new initiative. To go big means to refuse to let fear of the unknown stop our efforts. For years I have prescribed the concepts that Marainne Willamson outlined in her quote highlighted in the movie Coach Carter. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that frightens us.” Many educators tend to ”play it safe” and while we always want research-based methodologies, we stop short of achieving our ultimate greatness. Perhaps we fear how great our impact might be; we fear our light. Over the next year, LFKS will strive to go big and find new ways to spread the “how” of professional learning.
Teaching during a pandemic, one can become overwhelmed easily. Teachers are balancing students in quarantine along with worrying about their own health. Educators throughout the state will need to remember to stay calm. I have always liked the analogy of a duck on water. On the surface, educators will look graceful and calm, even when the world spins too quickly...read more
By Vicki Bechard, LFKS Secretary and Dayna Richardson, LFKS Executive Director
Learning Forward Kansas is proud to announce that the complete professional learning series: Inspired to Learn: Kansas Stories is available on the LFKS website for immediate use by all Kansas educators. This free, five video resource is accompanied by a facilitation guide for each video to create the most beneficial experience for users seeking to achieve effective professional learning in their school or district. Facilitation guides offer resources and strategies to enhance the video experience, modeling collaborative ...read more
Celebrating Our Public Schools
Public Schools Week is February 24-28, 2020! This is a great opportunity to showcase all we do to support Kansas kids! The national Learning First Alliance (LFA) organization, which includes Learning Forward, has organized many celebrations for the week. It's a week for school board members, educators, and parents across the U.S. to highlight the importance of public education in their communities and with lawmakers. Nine out of 10 students in the United States - and Kansas - attend public schools.
How might your district/organization celebrate? ...read more
Connections in Kansas
News Release from KLFA
•April 8, 2021•
The Kansas Learning First Alliance (KLFA) held the final meeting of the academic year on April 8, 2021 at 4:00PM via Zoom. Laurie Curtis, KLFA Chair, welcomed attendees in support of strong public education in our state.
Members shared how their organization or community promoted Public Schools Week February 22-26. Many organizations utilized the social media tools provided by the Learning First Alliance….Read More
Connections with Learning Forward
The Learning Professional
The COVID 19 Pandemic has caused enormous stress and trauma for students and educators, exacerbating existing needs for mental health support and underscoring the importance of social and emotional learning. With the new school year on the horizon, it is vital for educators to consider the social and emotional needs of students and staff as some of them return to school buildings for the first time in more than a year, some continue to cope with trauma, and many experience anxiety and uncertainty.
The Learning Professional asked teachers, students, administrators, SEL leaders and our online community: How should schools address students’ social and emotional needs and foster resilience in the coming school year? Here are their responses, which have been edited for length. Click here to continue readingRead More