Entries by Joanne McEachen


What would happen if: Equity was a right, not a fight? We didn’t need to have money as the means for trading? We all cared for, took responsibility for and loved at least one person each? Everyone had access to health? Learning was relevant and is a genuine part of daily life? What you contribute […]

Learning Beyond the Known

Putting the learner first and at the center of the teaching and learning process means evaluating every decision – at every level of the education system – through the lens of how it will impact learners. It requires educators to understand and celebrate who their learners are, what they are interested in learning, and how […]

Measuring the why of student success

Standardized tests are supposed to objectively show what a learner knows. The theory goes that if all students answer the same test questions, you will get a clear picture of who knows what. But that isn’t how it works in the real world because students aren’t as standardized as the standardized test’s they are taking. […]

Failure is not an option

Federal Education policy makes targeting the lowest performing schools the priority. It is widely understood that school performance across the US is uneven. While some schools are performing very well, others are in dire need of help. Under No Child Left Behind, interventions for schools that did not meet the federal standard were predefined by […]

Teach Kids, Not Topics

Beginning your career as a teacher is exciting – it’s one of the most important roles someone can fill. Every day creates opportunities for positively or negatively impacting the lives of the children we teach and the future of the world as a whole. In my first year of teaching, I was asked to teach […]

Student Competency

The US education system assumes that a high school diploma means you have met certain standards in universal skills like language, mathematics and reading. Our systems are pretty much aligned with the concept that it takes until 12th grade to get all those minimum competencies. Much the same way that you can walk into a Starbucks […]

The New Assessment Challenge

Creating a new system to assess learners has its challenges, but it can be done. How? Start by considering what matters most to your learners, within their context. Think about what success means and describe what it looks like. Once you have this picture of success firmly implanted in your mind, ask yourself the following […]

Engaging Kids Through Our Rich, Modern Media Environment

Many parents are concerned about the effect that modern technologies like video games and social media are having on their children. The Iñupiaq people in Alaska are no exception. Because their language had no writing system for most of their history, oral storytelling has remained a central tool for transmitting their cultural heritage through the […]

Learning Programs

Schools and systems  want a better way of teaching and assessing their students, but often don’t know how, or where to begin. The education system has been so focused on test scores and standardization that although we know we need something different, it’s become a challenge to see what “different”  looks like. Our Professional Learning […]