At last Monday evenings (9/10/12) regularly scheduled Worthington Board of Education meeting Capital University presented their findings from a curriculum audit that we asked them to perform. During the course of their presentation Dr. Paige Shalter-Bruening discussed the concept of “Academic Press.”
As an educator I am proficient in “edu-speak.” Administrator 101 is all about using big words and creating new big words that sound important. When you move into a central office position, like mine, you spend hours memorizing the education buzzwords of the day. (I’m kidding, but many of you may think this is true based upon your past experiences.) Thus, when Dr. Shalter-Bruening mentioned “Academic Press,” I was unfamiliar with the concept and intrigued.
In researching (ie..Googling) “Academic Press” I learned that the concept is an early 80’s concept that was written about in Educational Leadership in 1982. In “Academic Press: Translating High Expectations into School Policies and Classroom Practices” the authors write, “Academic press is the degree to which environmental forces press for student achievement on a schoolwide basis. The concept, however, is broader than high staff expectations; it pulls together various forces – school policies, practices, expectations, norms, and rewards – generated by both staff and students. Together, these forces constitute the academic environment experienced by students and press them to respond in particular ways, specifically to work hard in school and to do well academically.”
In reading about “Academic Press” it struck me that in Worthington our students are blessed to be “pressed” towards academic achievement and success. Teachers hold high expectations for students and parents model academic achievement in the home and expect success. It’s still cool to be smart and do well in school with our students. This is not true in many homes or communities in America today. As a school district we must protect this culture of academic achievement and must work to promote policies that align with this concept.
As of last Monday I didn’t know what “Academic Press” meant. Today it is on my mind quite a bit and will guide many of my actions this school year. Let’s continue to work together to “press” every Worthington child towards success!