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Local school leaders offer front-line perspective

By Matt Kelly

It was teachers learning about education from teachers.
Two local school superintendents shared visions of their schools with U.Va. faculty and administrators Nov. 18 in the Dome Room of the Rotunda.

Kevin C. Castner, Albemarle County Schools superintendent, and Ronald W. Hutchinson, Charlottesville City Schools superintendent, described initiatives in their schools as part of the Teachers for a New Era program, a partnership that links the College of Arts & Sciences, the Curry School of Education and local educators in an effort to improve teacher education.

Castner stressed lifelong learning for the students, citing a county schools’ program, “Shared Vision: Design 2004,” which lays out expectations of how students learn, analyze information and communicate across disciplines. Children’s hearts and minds have to be engaged to do quality work, which is the business of education, he said.
Hutchinson said the three goals of the city schools were quality teaching and learning, a safe school climate and strong instructional leadership.
Teachers, Hutchinson said, should create the understanding in students that they are engaged in big ideas, not just specific facts. Teachers need to create lessons that hold the students’ attention and emphasize instruction based on individual student needs.

It was good to listen to people with “a real vision, real ideas,” but the challenge is how U.Va. responds, said Victor Luftig, director of Teachers for a New Era at U.Va.

“They inform us,” sid U.Va. vice president and provost Gene D. block of the local educators. “This is bi-directional discussion. It is important ... that the University works with kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers.



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