Congratulations to the DOE for their Race to the Top success! It is very encouraging to think that initiatives are in the works to reform our broken system. The Honolulu Star Advertiser article provides a good summary of how the monies will be spent.
One of the major initiatives involves luring highly qualified teachers and administrators to the lowest performing schools via financial incentives. Here’s a thought: in middle and high schools, what about leveraging technology to virtually bring in highly-qualified teachers to these low-performing schools? Actually having (physical presence) HQ teachers at a school makes a world of difference and is needed but there may be times when this isn’t always feasible. In these scenarios, HQ teachers can virtually teach classes using web-based tools. In doing so, these HQ teachers can model best practices to the teacher in the classroom, a highly effective way to conduct professional development. Now we know that being a great teacher in the classroom doesn’t necessarily translate to being a great teacher online. So, these HQ teachers will need to receive training on best practices in a virtual environment. Merge best practices in teaching language arts or math or science with best practices teaching using technology and we have a powerful solution to ensuring students have highly effective teachers.