Do you want to meet a modern day hero in education? Pam Moran, superintendent of Albemarle County Schools is a superintendent who has pushed back against testing and created an environment where learning and students comes first. Guess what? Her test scores are rising.
When I spoke at VSTE this past year, I had more than one teacher speak of Pam Moran. In fact, just after one literally cried on my shoulder because her computer lab couldn't be used for creating:
“They've turned it into a testing lab… (sniff)”
But this same teacher looked at me with shiny, tear filled eyes and said,
“But only if every superintendent were as visionary as Pam Moran. If the state government would just listen to her and the other superintendents who have banded together with her, Virginia would improve overnight.”
A similar conversation happened no less than five times while I was at VSTE. The teachers and IT directors there speak of her with reverence. Pam wasn't even at the conference but she was there – she was everywhere.
This is one of those episodes to forward to every school board member, superintendent, and principal that you know. You could call it a “field of dreams” approach — focus on learning and the scores will come. Sadly, many are building testing centers which will rapidly enter as students and their parents opt out of a system that has lost its vision of what learning is supposed to be.
Pam Moran Every Classroom Matters Episode# 69: The Proper Role of Testing
Despite leading a district that has raised achievement scores, Pam Moran does not support the ‘testing mindset’. She values engaging students in content, teaching as an art, and integrating the arts into education. She keeps learning as a priority outcome in her district, and veers away from the test-prep curriculum.
She advocates lifelong learning competencies to assess the students’ skills rather than multiple choice tests. Even though the district does not focus on the mandated tests, the district scores high in national tests and AP tests. The district has a 93% graduation rate compared to the 73% graduation rate measured by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2010.
The focus in the district’s schools is learning, not testing, in order to support the development of 21st century citizens.
Add Superintendent Pam Moran to your PLN
Pam Moran is the superintendent at Albemarle County Public Schools in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Every Classroom Matters is a bi-weekly podcast by Vicki Davis on BAM Radio network dedicated to excellent education. Listening will help you teach with better results, lead with a positive impact, and live with a greater purpose. Subscribe.
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