Saturday, January 17, 2009

Show #104- Dr. Susan Johnson, Commonwealth Academy- Remediation and the Future of Education

In the third part of my conversation with Dr. Susan Johnson, head of Commonwealth Academy, we talk about the difference between teaching a child with accommodations versus remediating weaker skills and how to accomplish both; we also discuss what she would recommend as suggestions of how to change education.

Ultimately, I think we have
to look at education as an important part of raising an educated public, and as a vital part of our national infrastructure. We have to decide if education is important, and if so, then we have to make the changes necessary to do it well. But the one thing we will never be able to get rid of is the importance of students feeling mentored and cared about on a personal level by their teachers. If we want this to happen, we have to be prepared to help create smaller and more intimate classrooms, where students and teachers get to know each other- because without this, education can be little more than an assembly lime disguised as a school.

I hope you enjoy today's show, and we'll be back to you next week!

Click here to Download Show#104- Susan Johnson- Remediation and the Future of Education

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Show #103 Dr. Susan Johnson- Commonwealth Academy- Advisory and Organization

One of the most amazing things I learned by visiting Commonwealth Academy is how everything in the school is student-centered. The advisory program is one piece of that puzzle, where kids are mentored and supervised on how to keep themselves organized and prepared for class, and where discipline is handled pro-actively and rarely interferes with the learning of the other students. This is possible because the faculty and staff really know the students, and can anticipate their needs, much like parents do. But like good parents, the goal is to make the kids independent over time and able to stand on their own. Another important part of this equation is developing a sense of trust with the students and with their parents, which can be a challenge after some rough previous school experiences.

Dr. Johnson's years of experience in both public and private schools, and her candor about how important developing a sense of trust and community is to their success is palpable in every aspect of the school. I know you'll love hearing about the innovative and often simple approaches Commonwealth takes that empowers the students to find their voice and gives them the confidence to try new things, to risk and to succeed.

In our next show, #104, we'll conclude our interview with Dr. Susan Johnson as we discuss IEP's, remediation and the future of education.

Click here to download Show # 103, Dr. Susan Johnson- Commonwealth Academy- Advisory & Organization (For Students and Parents!)

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