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A Father’ Day Wish: Higher Standards for my Daughters ~ Darren Burris

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Darren Burris discovered his passion for education while teaching mathematics in the School District of Philadelphia and is currently the Director of Instruction for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) at Boston Collegiate Charter School in Boston, MA.  In this current role Darren is fortunate to work alongside and support elementary, middle, and high school teachers as an instructional coach in science, mathematics, and art. Darren is grateful to share his life with his wonderful wife and three small girls.
Darren Burris discovered his passion for education while teaching mathematics in the School District of Philadelphia and is currently the Director of Instruction for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) at Boston Collegiate Charter School in Boston, MA.  In this current role Darren is fortunate to work alongside and support elementary, middle, and high school teachers as an instructional coach in science, mathematics, and art. Darren is grateful to share his life with his wonderful wife and three small girls.
As a dad and educator, I want my daughters and my students to become engaged, passionate, and curious humans. I want them to have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to be academically prepared for life after school. But I need help. I cannot accomplish this goal without support from colleagues, neighbors, educators, friends, family, and coaches.

As kids make their way from elementary to high school the collaborative effort to help in their developmental journey is made easier by having a series of shared expectations. Set standards can help schools, educators and parents ensure that this carefully crafted journey happens for each and every student.

As an educator, the standards link the work of educators together into a strong chain where the work in one grade is built upon in the next. In mathematics, standards help educators guide students on an academic journey starting with counting in Kindergarten, through fractions in middle school, and arriving at families of functions in high school.  This carefully crafted sequence prepares students  to be ready for college, career, or whatever they might be doing when they leave school.

As a parent, I see these standards as an invitation for me to be even more deeply engaged with my daughters’ educators and schools. The standards provide me with a clear sense of what my child is expected to know, and I look to their educators to help me know how my girls are doing, how they have grown, or where they are struggling. These shared expectations enable me to support my girls and their educators and to take action to help them be academically ready for what is next, each step of the way. Ultimately, standards become not only a way for educators to work together, but they are another means by which parents and educators share in the work.

While there are many factors that contribute to supporting our children, I believe as a parent and an educator that high-quality state standards have an indispensable role to play. When states commit to higher standards, they are making a commitment to support all students to meet the same set of high expectations.  To me, it is a matter of social justice.

While the adoption of new, college and career ready standards has already happened in most states, the real work is only starting now.  As an educator I am grateful to not stand alone, but in a long line of educators working together and alongside parents to support students.  As a dad I trust my girls’ educators and am engaged with their schools so that together we can help them to be ready for whatever may come.

Thank you now, and in advance to my colleagues and the teachers of my children for all the help. Like I said at the beginning, I’m going to need it.

Whether at work or at home I have needed the help of so many. So, thank you! Thank you to all of my colleagues with whom I work in serving the students and families of our school, and thank you to all of the teachers of my own children for encouraging and enabling them to flourish.