The Three R’s Series: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

Nadja Young

Last week, I attended the International Center for Leadership in Education’s Model Schools Conference in Nashville, TN, where I learned about many forward-thinking education initiatives taking place across the country. My colleagues and I also had the privilege of facilitating a SAS(r) EVAAS for K-12 presentation from two principals at Wake Forest Rolesville Middle School in Wake County, North Carolina.

The voices of students, teachers, and administrators were heard loud and clear as over 7,000 attendees celebrated the many great things happening in education. Too often, our nation’s focus is on what’s wrong with America’s broken school systems and this diverts attention away from scaling up what is working. Better yet, Bill Dagget and Ray McNulty spoke about how to transform and shift, rather than merely improve education for 21st Century learners. The widely popular focus on “best practices” allows organizations to replicate and improve upon what they currently do well. School systems now need to focus on “Next Practices” in order to increase organizational capacity to accomplish feats never before attempted. Thought leaders discussed the role of teachers shifting from disseminators of information to facilitators of learning; the shift of classroom structures to include anywhere-anytime learning and leveraging personal technologies rather than banning them as distractors; and the shift of students as active contributors to project-based learning who “Do To Learn” rather than “Learn To Do.”

ICLE presenters provided tools for teachers to break down barriers and reach today’s students through three fundamental requirements for educational excellence: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. These 3R’s reminded me of my seven years in the classroom as I had principals and department chairs promote those same guiding principles for effective teaching and learning. I truly believe in the power of the 3R’s and am encouraged to see the frameworks, tools, and professional development opportunities ICLE provides to increase Rigor, Relevance, and meaningful Relationships in the classroom. I will devote my next three blogs to explore what each of the 3R’s has meant to me in my teaching career, and how SAS EVAAS also incorporates them into our work with client partners.

Please share comments about how Rigor, Relevance, and/or Relationships are modeled in your school district or state!


About Author

Nadja Young

Senior Manager, Education Consulting

Hi, I’m Nadja Young. I’m a wife and mother of two who loves to dance, cook, and travel. As SAS’ Senior Manager for Education Industry Consulting, I strive to help education agencies turn data into actionable information to better serve children and families. I aim to bridge the gaps between analysts, practitioners, and policy makers to put data to better use to improve student outcomes. Prior to joining SAS, I spent seven years as a high school Career and Technical Education teacher certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. I taught in Colorado’s Douglas County School District, in North Carolina’s Wake County Public School System, and contracted with the NC Department of Public Instruction to write curriculum and assessments. I’m thrilled to be able to combine my Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Management and Master of Arts degree in Secondary Education to improve schools across the country.

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