A school superintendent can be considered the CEO of the school board, hired to deliver professional education advice and implement policy. It can be argued that classroom experience and a deep understanding of how teaching and learning work together make for a more effective superintendant. That is certainly the case with M. Christopher Marchese, Ed.D., ’94, G’97.
While Marchese worked his way up the ranks from secondary science teacher to assistant principal and then principal, today he continues to rely on his classroom experience to guide him in daily decision making as assistant superintendent of the Wissahickon School District in suburban Montgomery County.
“I work with many people to accomplish the district’s goals: parents, community members, support staff, teachers, fellow administrators and our board of school directors. But what I like best is I still get to work with students and help them to reach their goals,” he says.
Marchese is responsible for oversight of curriculum and instruction, pupil services and technology for more than 4,500 students in the district’s seven schools.
Because the district is intent upon improving achievement of all students, Marchese recently undertook the challenge of developing a life skills program for the district’s middle and high school students who require additional learning support.
“This is the first year for our new program – the Secondary Functional Skills Program for Learning Support Students – and we are already seeing the program working as we had anticipated and students meeting targeted goals,” he says.
The program is designed to provide special education students a functional/applied approach to learning core curriculum content such as language arts, mathematics and daily living skills. Key to the program’s success are community-based activities where students put those skills to use. Initiating and developing this program was important to Marchese and to the district’s Special Education department, who wanted to see more options for students who require life skills programming and were transitioning from the district’s elementary schools to middle school and from middle school to high school.
“We are impacting about 40 students just this year,” explains Marchese. “It’s a program that is important to our students, and also has garnered attention from other districts that are carefully watching the outcomes of the program in anticipation of possibly initiating similar programs for their students.”
Marchese received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education at Cabrini and then earned a doctoral degree in education at Immaculata University. While his full-time job as assistant superintendent keeps him busy, he also serves as adjunct faculty at the College, fulfilling a personal promise to give back.
“I want to support Cabrini because my education there has done so much for me personally and professionally,” he says. “I want the students I teach at the College to have the same sense of pride in the program that I have.”
Younger teachers who are newer to the profession are no more likely to use technology in teaching than are teachers with 10 or more years of experience, a national study shows.
The study conducted in 2009 by online Walden University and Grunwald Associates reports that 22 percent of teacher respondents–regardless of age or experience in the classroom–use technology 31 percent or more during class time to support learning. Thirty-four percent reported infrequent use.
Another finding of the study is that lack of access to technology does not appear to be the main reason why teachers don’t use technology during class time to support learning. Nearly half of those surveyed who were infrequent users of technology in the classroom said that the technology devices were not necessary for their lessons.
Twitter, the 140-character blog-like social media tool, can positively impact your lessons and increase connection inside and outside your classroom. Teachers who use the tool find that the connection it provides increases student and parent involvement, keeps students engaged and everyone up-to-date on important assignments, initiatives and progress.
Once you initiate a Twitter account, getting students and parents involved is as simple as providing instructions for them to subscribe to your Twitter feed.
Consider how using the tool’s 140-character limit will help you do the following:
Sources: Miller, Samantha (2010). “50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom.” Techhub.com “22 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom.” Docstoc.com Sample, Mark (August 2010). “Practical Advice for Teaching With Twitter.” The Chronicle of Higher Education
If you view professional development programs as a burden, consider taking these steps to change your outlook, as well as your future experiences:
Sources: Sokolik, M.E.(June 2005) The Shared Responsibility for Professional Development.” Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. Vol. 9, Number 1. Webster, Wendy. (June 2010). Professional development for Recertification.” Myteachersite.org
Christina McLaughlin G’09 was named assistant principal at Solanco High School in Quarryville, Pa.
Veronica Collins Harrington G’09, president of Academy of Notre Dame de Namur was profiled in a recent article in the Times Herald.
Assistant Professor of Education Colleen Lelli ’95, Ed.D., is profiled in an online interview at www.gradschools.com about how professors perceive differences in undergraduate and graduate students.