Nov 6, 2019
Today’s episode is all about contribution and empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world! At Loudoun County Public Schools that is their motto! LCPS is a big Virginia district west of Washington, DC, serving about 84,000 students in 94 schools.
In today’s episode, Tom Vander Ark gets to speak with the Superintendent of Loudoun, Dr. Eric Williams. Dr. Williams has been Superintendent in Loudoun for just over five years. While many districts reference citizenship as a goal, Williams prefers the term ‘contribution,’ as it incorporates careers in the private sector, civic engagement, and community service. He believes in engaging students in solving authentic problems as a means of developing knowledgeable critical thinkers, communicators, collaborators, creators, and contributors.
Join the conversation today to hear all about Loudoun, how Williams is driving authentic learning from the elementary level to high school, and his focus on empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world!
[:15] About today’s episode!
[1:00] Tom welcomes Dr. Eric Williams to the podcast!
[1:07] Why did Dr. Williams study history at William & Mary?
[2:33] How and when did Williams realize teaching was for him? When did he start his career as an educator?
[3:23] Tom and Williams speak about when they first met.
[3:37] Williams speaks about the work he was proud of when he served as Superintendent at York County School Division.
[4:14] What attracted Williams to work at Loudoun?
[5:44] How was Williams able to keep the focus at Loudoun on teaching and learning and not let himself and his board get preoccupied with simply managing growth?
[7:00] Do William and his board end up redoing their boundaries every year? And if so, how do they do it in a way that doesn’t drive the community crazy?
[8:21] William describes their improvement agenda at Loudoun.
[10:15] How did Williams’ belief in empowering students to make meaningful contributions become so prominent in his work as an educator?
[13:30] Williams talks about Loudoun’s emphasis on the four Cs and why they don’t add the fifth C, citizenship.
[16:20] What a day of authentic learning looks like in the elementary schools of Loudoun County.
[18:40] What a day of authentic learning looks like in the middle schools of Loudoun County.
[19:55] What a day of authentic learning looks like in the high schools of Loudoun County.
[21:36] Williams gives some examples of students contributing in Loudoun County, both in and out of school.
[25:43] Williams speaks about his recent statement about equity in Loudoun County.
[26:35] What’s next in Loudoun?
[27:22] Does Williams anticipate seeing changes in the traditional master schedule in secondary schools?
[29:15] Tom thanks Williams for joining the Getting Smart Podcast!
For More on Authentic Student Work, Listen to:
Mentioned in This Episode:
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