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Article: Remaining Highly Effective Through a Highly Abnormal Year

Remaining Highly Effective Through a Highly Abnormal Year

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It’s no secret that this year has been difficult. You’ve heard the buzz words: Unprecedented. Challenging. New Normal. But through it all, Mariemont City Schools has been committed to teaching and learning at high levels.
But what is the measuring stick we use to define high-level teaching and learning? What are we aiming for and how do we know if we are succeeding?
Back in 2013, when the district developed our Destination 2026 strategic plan, we purposefully created a common lens of what we wanted teaching and learning to look like in our classrooms. We call these our Characteristics of an Engaged Student and Characteristics of a Highly Effective Teacher. These characteristics, which can be found in their entirety in the Destination 2026 guide, are the blueprint for what we do in our schools each and every day.
The characteristics, while research-based, were written and developed by members of our own team and they give focus to our efforts to work smart, create experience and embrace growth. They also serve as a benchmark to assess the effectiveness of our work.
According to our research, an engaged student is curious, creative and demonstrates passion through their learning and experiences. They demonstrate self-awareness, independence and ownership of their learning, value relationships and understand the importance of meaningful communication and collaboration. They take risks, are globally competent and are able to demonstrate learning in authentic ways.
And a highly effective teacher is able to create learning targets and apply their knowledge of best practice to motivate and inspire students. They can model strong work, cultivate trust by working together and showcase respect and tolerance when working with others. Additionally, they can give meaningful feedback to students using a variety of assessments.
We know that, when we see these characteristics in action, we are succeeding in our work.
Our Engaged Student and Highly Effective Teacher characteristics, while always important, have especially guided our work through this school year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to teach and learn in new and different ways, but through it all, our lens has remained the same -- a lens committed to best practice and research-based strategies to make the most of a challenging year.

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