Letter: The call of eagles

Have you ever listened to the conversation of a convocation of eagles? Their call is clear, concise and focused, unlike a party of Stellar’s jays’ raucous noisy screeching. A raven’s call changes at the trickster’s whim with keen ability to manipulate. A colony of gulls will cry annoyingly forever about everything under the sun and over the sea. A lone Varied Thrush rings solemnly from the dark with no pattern or apparent purpose.

This week it is the eagles’ call I’m focused on as I consider the transition work from No Child Left Behind to the Every Student Succeeds Act that our state Department of Education and Early Learning must undertake. As I’ve participated in the process, I’m confident they are equipped to do the heavy lifting set before them.

Alaska Department of Education and Early Learning Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson has shared the focus that must lead our way in five important questions: what do we want students to know and do, how will we teach them what we want them to know and do, how will we know if they learn it, what will we do if they don’t learn it, and what will we do if they already know it.

Think: standards, instruction, assessment, intervention, enrichment. It’s a clear, concise, and focused call, one that should be behind everything we do in education.

Witnessing the gathering of eagles in Haines is an inspiring sight, and so now is the gathering of folks ready to make Alaska education even better. The Association of Alaska School Boards, the Alaska Council of School Administrators, the Parent Teacher Association, NEA-Alaska, and teachers are able to join in a shared voice as important decisions are being made for the students of Alaska. My hope is that many Alaska teachers will join in the work; my joy is that we are invited to the table to share our perspectives. Find the hope. Share the joy.

Amy Jo Meiners,