Teachers in my school district are collaborating in Professional Learning Communities to benefit student learning. On a weekly basis teams of teachers are sharing student assessment data to determine learning needs. Teachers may share students in flexible short-term groups to enrich and remediate skills. One teacher may take a group of first graders during a daily intervention block to practice reading fluency. Another teacher may take a group to work on phonics and yet another may take a group to read a higher level story and work on inference. In addition, teachers are sharing successful teaching techniques. For example, if Miss Jones’ class all mastered division on the latest assessment, Miss Smith may observe how Miss Jones instructed students to gain success in that particular skill. When I went to school, teachers shut their doors and did their own “thing”. There wasn’t accountability for student achievement. It was considered the student’s fault if he or she wasn’t learning. Maybe he or she wasn’t “paying attention”.
Now teachers look at the whole child to determine causes for failure. My passion lies in preparing students to be successful at school. All children, including children in foster care, have the right to arrive at the school door prepared to learn. This means they have a safe home environment, adequate sleep, food, clothing, and school supplies. Schools in our district provide support to students in many of these areas. I personally work on behalf on many foster and non-foster students to support learning by making sure basic needs have been met. As president of Families Helping Families, a foster parent support group, I raise funds to provide clothing, school supplies, enrichment activities, and other opportunities for children in foster care. I am a regular volunteer at my children’s school so I can support teachers and students while being aware of needs in the school community. The most important thing I do every morning is be at my children’s school. I’m visible to the whole school community. Children as well as adults know I will do everything I can to support success at school and to keep our children safe.
Leanne Loehr is the mother to ten children and an advocate for many more. The 2011 Mom Congress delegate from Iowa, on June 24th she recieved the governor's award.