Steve Holmes offers us a compelling and urgent message where he shares both the rationale for change and the assessment for learning strategies his district has adopted to move from compliance-oriented learning to systems that focus on identity, agency and purpose. Steve raised many ideas related to the ways in which formative assessment is a lever for students and teachers to shift their roles and engage as true partners in the learning process, but the single idea that I have been thinking about is what it means to change a system from the ground up – as he says, to “develop common language, common structures, common systems and a culture of learning that brings honor back to the profession of teaching in ways I think we had lost.” Not nearly enough is said about this, and yet it is so necessary to support agency and equity.
– Nancy Gerzon
With Steve Holmes, Gerzon and Jones discussed the following topics:
- Why student agency is critical in high poverty districts
- The role of formative assessment practice in promoting equity
- How online learning experiences can promote student ownership over learning
Curated segments of this conversation can be played in the Padlet below. Please click on the play button in the upper left corner to play the video directly in Padlet. An audio recording of the entire conversation and session materials can also be found on this page.
Steve Holmes is the Superintendent of the Sunnyside Unified School District (SUSD) in Tucson, Arizona. A champion for equity, his work focuses on urban education reform and bringing about deeper learning practices, coherence, and innovation to high poverty districts. Under his leadership, SUSD is now recognized as an industry leader in open educational resources, formative assessment, and design thinking. He is a staunch supporter of public education and a leading voice in support of English Learners. When his district shifted to online learning in the spring, his message to educators was, Let’s seize this opportunity to promote student agency.
See the other conversations in this series: