At the October 14th Candidate’s Night, Franklin School Committee Candidate Mark Bisson stated that his platform is “back to the basics, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.” This sounds very pragmatic, however, this has been in place for years and we, as educators, do a whole lot more. Our schools have math specialists who meet and plan with the math teachers to bring high level lessons into the classrooms. Students collaboratively use math skills to solve problems and analyze their responses. We also have reading specialists in every school who plan and collaborate with classroom teachers to bring high level literary instruction into our classrooms. The district has implemented the MAP testing program which will allow educators to use data collected from math and English tests to better plan and instruct, as well as provide differentiated instruction to our students.
Several years ago, our school system invested in a program called Three Keys to Literacy. Through this program, educators in all content areas have been trained in how to bring literacy instruction into the classroom. This instruction includes building vocabulary skills through comprehension and categorization, comprehension strategies which include note taking and the process of persuasive argument writing. Students also learn how to use question terms in order to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create. As an educator, I have found this program to be invaluable in my planning and instruction in order to help my students develop as 21st Century learners.
“Return to the basics” is redundant. The basics, and a whole lot more, as stated above, can be seen in every subject, classroom, and school. To settle for the basics would be to sentence our students to a substandard future. As educators, we do not settle for the basics as our students deserve so much more than that.