High Expectations

For an Amazing Year!

TCS Institute 2019

It All Starts Wednesday

As amazing as Institute Day was, it cannot be the ceiling of what we accomplish this year. Institute Day is now behind us and it should be viewed as a springboard for what we will do for students during the 2019-2020 school year.

The image of all of our TCS employees in one space yesterday is powerful. It should send a message to our families and our community that we believe we can do the work to help students achieve personal, academic and career excellence. This is what Collective Teacher Effacacy looks like. This, is TCS!

Whether that student is a kindergartener learning the foundations of reading or a high school student preparing for life beyond our walls, our expectations are that they will grow while in our care. That at the end of the school year, they will be at least one year smarter.

I firmly believe we have the right people in place to do this mission-driven work. That was evident in our colleagues and students who came to the stage to share their thoughts on the Tuscaloosa City Schools' mission.

Mission Driven

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Those 29 words compel us to set higher expectations for our students and for ourselves. Yesterday's Institute Day was filled with reminders of that very fact. Rachel Goggins of Oakdale Elementary told us that "we do not get to decide who deserves high expectations and who doesn’t." She's right: all means all.

Our students, in their own words, explained what this looks like for them.

Rising Paul W. Bryant High senior Briana Byrd said it succinctly: "complacency kills high expectations." PWBHS alumna Zoe Jones introduced us to the concept of the Zone of Proximal Development as illustrated by her strings teacher who changed her instrument senior year to keep her challenged. She said "the key is not setting comfortable expectations that a student can easily achieve on his or her own."

This passage from Danielle Eppes of University Place explains why setting high expectations is so important for TCS students: "On Wednesday, our students will come to us carrying both backpacks and burdens that may be too heavy for them to shoulder alone."

That's why we must set the expectations that our students may not be able to set for themselves yet. The dictionary defines the root word "expect" as a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

"This is going to be best year, I claim it for myself and for students," said Matt Freeman of Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy. "The proof will be in the life of my students. I’m speaking today, they will speak for me in May.

What we want for our students in May begins with the expectations each of us establishes with students starting Wednesday. Let's make this year amazing!


Mike Daria