By the time you read this, public schools across Texas will have opened once again for the business of training our scholars for future success. Preparing to teach students from various backgrounds—and with diverse learning styles—is an underappreciated task. It requires public school teachers to internalize lessons, gather materials, attend regular professional development sessions, and collaborate with their Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in order to ensure their approach is relevant, rigorous and enriching for students. This important work yields benefits far beyond a particular grade level assignment. Authentic learning occurs when our next generation is exposed to a guaranteed, viable curriculum, along with the critical thinking skills that go with it. It unleashes their comprehension of complex subject matter.
Post-secondary success starts with the knowledge students learn in public schools. These schools and teachers serve all students inclusively, regardless of race, religion, creed, socio-economic status, learning ability, native language, or any societal label. Our world is always changing, but this approach helps foster an academic environment conducive to learning. When students learn and collaborate alongside people from other cultural backgrounds and diverse ideologies, they are also preparing for what is sure to become a far more diverse workplace and society in their future.
Consider what this looks like when students engage with assignments, projects and assessments. Their teachers track their progress from one school year to the next. The progress measures employed by our teachers provide quantitative data to support quality assessments, which they then use to develop academic interventions for every student served in our public schools. Students who excel on one particular standard are allowed to have an extension activity to further hone their skills. But if a student does not immediately demonstrate mastery of a particular standard, they receive a variety of skill-specific interventions to support their learning.
The objective is to always ensure our students are provided with a plethora of opportunities to demonstrate progress toward their learning goals and overall comprehension of each standard. Teachers aren’t working alone in these efforts. They collaborate with paraprofessionals, tutors, instructional coaches, curriculum assessment specialists, learning leaders, administrators, and various personnel who desire to see each child succeed. In fact, our public school teachers implement the Individualized Education Program (IEP) with integrity, while also ensuring Emergent Bilingual (EB) students’ needs are met.
Every scholar who enters the doors of a public school in Texas is being served—without reservation—by these professionals.
Parents of public school students even receive the option to submit transfer paperwork for any applicable school of their choice. This increases the likelihood that students will be able to acquire the knowledge and skills in classroom settings they might not have otherwise known. Public schools remain the preferred choice of the parents of more than 5.4 million Texas students for a variety of reasons. Speaking for myself and for all public school educators: We are thankful for your continued trust.
At the end of the day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words still beautifully encapsulate our mission as educators: “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”