Communication is Key in Transitions

By Todd Deley

Like many programs around the state, Washington Township Adult Education has been preparing for the change in high school equivalency exams for almost a year. The uncertainty surrounding the change in tests (and vendors) has created a lot of anxiety and concern among our teaching staff and students. During staff meetings, we talk about the shift in teaching strategies and standards, but always remember that these are going to be long-term changes implemented over time.

Some of my teachers were concerned as to whether they would be able to continue teaching all subjects (especially math) given the increased rigor and depth of knowledge required. While we are still not sure as to what may be the final answer to that question, we have assured our teachers that the state, the region, and our program will increase professional development opportunities and teaching resources as we move through this transition.

I have reassured my teachers that if they stay engaged, keep teaching like they always have, and prepare our students well, good things will happen. Early TASC results have driven this point home. Of the 26 tests given in Washington Township, two-thirds of students have passed all sections of the test. Pass rates for Reading, Science, and Social Studies are above 90%. Students taking Writing have passed at a rate of 84%, while Math is the most difficult at a pass rate of 67%.

While the test will continue to evolve and increase in difficulty, I am trying to keep my staff as informed and connected as possible. As a program, we are requiring more of our teachers, just like we will be challenging our students. However, I like to say that communication is the key to success. As long as we keep sharing information and including our teachers in the conversation, I believe we will progress as a program. The preparation and knowledge of subject areas will have to increase, but making this shift collaboratively is in everyone’s best interest. Change can be difficult, but as leaders, as long as we keep the focus on our students, we all can achieve our goals. As we go through this change, communication and teamwork is critical.