The economic woes of the nation are readily evident in the American classroom. Teachers and administrators tell stories of not having enough funds for such essentials as textbooks, print learning materials and other basic supplies. Is it possible to do more with less? Smart educational leaders are learning how.
Resist Pressure to Reduce Class Sizes
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One of the greatest pressures on today's educators is class size. Proponents of smaller class sizes say that when teachers have more time with individual students, the students' performance rises in relation to the teacher to student ratio. However, according to research done by Cornell University in this area, smaller classes raise costs in a far greater proportion than student performance is enhanced. Instead of reducing class sizes, the funds should be used for improvements with proven track records, such as curriculum development or principal training.
Consider the Number of Electives and Class Periods Taught
Often, administrators try to squeeze more classes into the school day by adding class periods to accommodate electives. According to Education Week, more elective offerings do not translate into improved student learning. The most successful curriculum implementations include a strong focus on core subjects with less expenditure on additional staff, training and shorter class period times that accompany abundant elective offerings.
After about three to four years, teachers do not necessarily improve by experience. Some teachers continue to develop and improve, while others remain at about the same level of skill throughout a 20-year or longer career. In order to help teachers continue to improve and develop, mentorship programs can be established to nurture teachers and help them grow beyond those initial years. Teachers who pursue further learning, especially with the aid of mentorship programs, do show continued improvement. The online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at Queens University of Charlotte combines graduate education with mentorship to enhance teachers’ development into capable leaders.
Encourage Professional Development
Programs that do consistently prove to be worth the cost are continuing education and professional development programs, which are directly related to job performance, student performance and other important scholastic benchmarks. School administrators should encourage teachers to take advantage of professional development opportunities in their district or state which are often available at no cost. For example, Public Schools of North Carolina has compiled a list of resources available through the state’s educator effectiveness initiatives as well as a list several professional development opportunities for NC teachers on its website, many of which are free to teachers in NC public and charter schools.
Though there is little educational leaders can do about budget cuts, there are many things educators can do within their schools to improve learning experiences and working environments even with smaller budgets. The online Master’s in Educational Leadership program at Queens is designed to transform education professionals into capable school administrators who can leverage their available resources to achieve improvement despite such challenges as shrinking budgets. Teachers who enroll in the program benefit from the guidance of expert faculty who have extensive school leadership experience and have tackled these issues firsthand.
Online classes are available to help busy teachers continue their own educational advancement around their schedules. Request more information from Queens University of Charlotte today to see how our curriculum can benefit educators, as well as the students they teach.