Clarke Community Schools in Osceola, Iowa is a pretty typical Iowa school district. Osceola is a town of about 5,000 people about 40 miles south of Des Moines. Like many schools around the country their student population is becoming increasingly diverse. Like schools throughout the country they are being asked to provide more services for all types of learners with finite resources.
I have had the privilege of knowing several teachers from the Clarke Schools during my career. In the best possible way, they represent the kind of teachers whose feet are on the ground in our public schools every day. As the needs of their students are changing, they have adapted instruction to meet those needs.
The narrative of some who wish to “reform” education is that our schools are filled with ineffective teachers who stand in the way of change. It’s just not true. America’s public schools are staffed by people like the teachers in the Clarke Schools, teachers whose focus is on ALL of the young people in their community. The teachers at Clarke don’t pick and choose who gets to attend; they open their doors every morning to EVERY kid in their community.
The teachers at Clarke did a little project recently. They asked their teachers to tell their students why they came to work each day. I don’t know the young people in the below video, but they look like kids from schools all around our country. These teachers wanted to make sure they knew that they weren’t ordinary. In doing so, these teachers showed why they are extraordinary. The teachers of the Clarke Schools would probably tell you that they are a lot like public school teachers everywhere; that’s why they are extraordinary. Take 10 minutes to see why these public school teachers are inspired to come to work every day.