Voices From the Field and Ways to Reduce Barriers to Learning for School Transformation
Scholastic collaborated with CCSSO to develop a questionnaire for a national survey of teachers and principals, in part, to raise awareness of the barriers to equity in education and the resources needed to support students and families. Students facing barriers to learning do not have the opportunity to benefit from instruction. 87% of principals agree that many of their students face barriers from outside of school. As such, principals' top funding priorities are investing in academic or social-emotional intervention programs and student access to wrap-around services. Instruction alone is not a strong enough intervention. Yet the non-instructional services available are often a multitude of disconnected activities. Only an integrated system of supports can address barriers while reducing redundancy and achieving costs savings. A comprehensive framework can organize and deliver supportive services that help educators remove barriers so all students can achieve their potential.
Michael Haggen brings more than 20 years of academic experience, having served as a teacher, principal, chief academic officer, and direct report to superintendents in three school districts. He served as Deputy Superintendent in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, driving significant change and leading efforts that ultimately yielded increases in academic performance in 70 percent of schools. In St. Louis Public Schools, he developed and implemented a turnaround model for 11 schools, which led to that system's first accreditation in almost a decade. As Deputy Superintendent of New Orleans’ Recovery School District, Michael led the system-wide organization of an integrated learning supports program, designed to remove barriers to learning for students, including those returning home post-Hurricane Katrina. He also managed the district’s family and community engagement and extended day programs, as well as volunteer and donation initiatives. His accomplishments in this role extended to putting systems in place to allow regular evaluations of and improvements to district-wide curriculum. Today, as Chief Academic Officer, Michael ensures that Scholastic Education is best able to support educators improve student learning through its focus on: instructional materials for literacy achievement, professional learning programs for teacher effectiveness, family and community engagement initiatives, and consulting services designed to strengthen integrated systems of learning supports.
Ron Mirr is a Senior Vice President for Scholastic Education where he leads Scholastic’s efforts around Learning Supports and Family and Community Engagement. Previous to his joining Scholastic, Ron worked as a mental health clinician, a school administrator, a staff developer, and an executive consultant. Ron holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and has 30 years of experience working with K-12 schools, health and social service agencies. Since 1993 he has focused his efforts on helping schools address “barriers to learning,” primarily in the areas of engaging families in efforts to improve student achievement, connecting families to mental health and other supportive services, and helping increase student “connectedness” to schools. Ron was the founder of the Iowa Parent Information Resource Center in 1995 and has been a consultant to programs in many different states and internationally on how to engage families in the learning process. He is a co-author of the Family Engagement Assessment—a tool that measures a school’s capacity for developing effective partnerships with families. Ron has taught graduate courses and provides professional development for educators and community agency staff on family engagement and school climate. Since 1989, Ron written and received funding for 199 grant proposals totaling over $130 million in state, federal and private funding, including projects which support the implementation of school-based health and mental health services.