Education is an ever-changing entity. There are new policies, innovations and iterations to curriculum and techniques to improve student success. We interviewed Chicago principals and heard what excites them about the future of education.
Many educators are hopeful that the amount of attention education is receiving will result in more resources for improvement. “The district has come such a long way,” said Jerry Travlos, principal of Smyser Elementary. Over his 23-year CPS career, he experienced improvements in teaching quality and an increase in tools offered such as, “school programming, extracurriculars, what takes place on the weekends, support services, keeping students on track,” he said. “There seems to be a lot more out there.”
Along with Jerry, Principal Carol Devens-Falk of Corkery Elementary sees possibilities opening up. As technology continues to improve, its use inside the classroom becomes more accessible. “The Google classroom and those platforms are really cutting-edge and connect to what the realities are in the world,” Jerry said. By utilizing technology, educators are unlocking a whole new world to their students.
The opportunity for creativity in education excites Principal Melissa Zaikos of Intrinsic Schools and Principal Yasmeen Muhammad-Leonard of The Nettelhorst School. As an innovator herself, Melissa witnessed data-driven innovations over the past five years and she foresees a continuation in the future. “We are worrying more about larger goals for kids, it’s not just about getting into a four-year college, it’s what will help you succeed there,” she said. Yasmeen agrees that education is “so open-ended and limitless,” which allows room for further innovations and creativity.
As a long-time educator, Principal Josh Emmett of CICS Northtown is excited about the shifted focus of education over the past two decades. “There is potential in moving away from the regimented learning standards and looking more at broad skills and developmentally appropriate skills that we see reflected in Common Core,” he said. Prior to his principalship, Josh worked at a university. He says that one of the reasons he wanted to return to K-12 education is because of “the potential growth of Common Core Standards to promote a different approach to learning.”
Whether it be technology, creativity or instruction, there is so much to be excited about for the future of education. The leaders of Chicago’s public schools are eager to continue working for our students in an educational landscape that is always improving.