Dr. Lisha Cabral, Superintendent
50 Oliver St.
North Easton, MA 02356
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Easton Public Schools Hosts Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeffrey C. Riley
EASTON — Superintendent Lisha Cabral is pleased to announce that the Easton Public Schools hosted Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley during their professional development day Friday, Nov. 8 at the Richardson-Olmsted Elementary School.
Riley spoke for an hour about his past as a teacher, his personal experiences as a parent and work being done at the state level about the future of education. He showed several videos and shared stories that related to two themes: how teachers can better connect with students, and the growing role of technology in the lives of young people.
“Commissioner Riley mixes humor and insightful commentary to deliver a very important message,” Superintendent Cabral said. “It was great for our staff to hear him speak. It shows that we value what they do, and so do people at the state level.”
One of the statewide initiatives Riley discussed was the deeper learning model, which focuses on teachers helping students demonstrate fluency in a given academic area so that they can identify themselves as participants in — and contributors to — that area.
“We must find activities that are more fun and engaging, but still meet state standards,” Riley said. “It’s about getting back to the basics of learning, and making sure that learning can be connected back to the real world. This is important, because we know the world these students will be entering is very different than the world we’re in today. We must recognize that we’re in a process of change.”
Riley highlighted the Kaleidoscope Collective for Learning, a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education pilot program created to nurture the deeper learning model in Massachusetts public schools.
Riley then showed a video that examined the changing landscape of modern education. Using artificial intelligence machines such as the Deep Blue chess-playing computer and IBM’s Watson computing system as examples, the video showed how the world is being shaped by ever-changing technologies and what this means for how teachers instruct and engage their students.
Riley ended his presentation by telling the teachers in attendance that he values the work they do despite the many challenges they face.
“You all have the most amazing job in the world, and you have a major opportunity every day to do better by your kids,” Riley said. “You may not be on TV every night or have a baseball card with your name on it … but I’m here to tell you that I honor everything you do.”
One of the members of the audience Friday was Easton School Committee member Caroline O’Neill, who applauded Riley for his presentation.
“He was very engaging and entertaining, but he also covered some very deep thoughts about the challenges in education,” O’Neill said. “Things like device addiction and how to best reach our students. The question is how do we get beyond those things, and this was a great conversation to have.”