- Getting to the Truth—November, 2018 - If we paid attention only to the headlines, we would believe that our education system is “broken,” “dangerously out of touch” or “failing.” We would also be asked to believe that our system was once great, but that it has aged badly, declined and slipped into irrelevance. Often, such dire diagnoses are followed up with a statement something like “we can fix this if we only_______________”, with the “fad of the day” inserted in the appropriate spot. Such black and white pronouncements fail to paint the complete picture. Are there areas in which American schools could (and should) improve? Absolutely. Continue Reading
- Becoming Competent: A Habit of Mind—October, 2018 - What does it mean to be competent? Years ago, a man by the name of Martin M. Broadwell described a model of teaching that contained four stages of competence. Others have built on and modified his work, but stated simply, Broadwell believed in these four stages: Unconscious incompetence describes those individuals who do not know how to do a particular task and are unaware that they don’t know. (They may seem to weather any storm, but it is often because they are unaware there is a storm.) Conscious incompetence is defined by those who are unable to perform a given Continue Reading
- Getting Ready Today for The Jobs of Tomorrow—September, 2018 - A brief look at recent headlines regarding the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs would concern anyone: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence – Widespread Job Losses The Question with AI Isn’t Whether We’ll Lose Our Jobs — It’s How Much We’ll Get Paid Will Robots and AI Take Your Job? The Economic And Political Consequences of Automation You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think There is no doubt that the current and near-future state of artificial intelligence (AI) is causing reflection and prognostication across the world. Though experts differ about what they expect the impact Continue Reading
- Raising Adults (Children are not Bonsais!)—August 2018 - Parenting is never easy. Even in the best of times, parents must balance carefully their child’s desires and expectations with the reality of the world’s desires and expectations. However, some would argue that our society’s current devotion to scheduling virtually every minute of our kids’ lives, collecting and analyzing as much data as possible about their abilities and trying to save them from making their own mistakes is resulting in children who have a difficult time being equal to life’s challenges and having the proven skills to know they can accomplish whatever they wish to. Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former Stanford Continue Reading
- Reality-Based Education—May 2018 - The headline grabbed my attention—“High-Paying Jobs Go Begging While High School Grads Line Up for Bachelor’s Degrees.” This type of headline is catnip for someone who 1) is involved in the education profession, 2) has worked both in and out of that profession and 3) believes educators sometimes see the world through our own chalk-dust covered lenses. I highly recommend reading the article; the link is at the bottom of the page. As you might expect, educators want all of their students to “do well.” Raymond School District’s vision is creating “graduates with the motivation and talent to achieve their Continue Reading
- Drowning in Data – April 2018 - Do you sometimes feel as if the world is moving faster and faster? Navigation systems recommend what routes to take, based on real-time data. Driverless cars are not part of some Jetson-like future, they are being tested in several states. All-day, every-day news is everywhere. Ninety percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years. 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day—the equivalent of 6 quadrillion Libraries of Congress. According to one source, in 2017 we accessed the Internet to find this information or access these services at the following rates Continue Reading
- What Do We Value? – March 2018 - What Do We Value? "It shall be the duty of all teachers to endeavor to impress on the minds of their pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, temperance, humanity and patriotism; to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity and falsehood; to instruct them in the principles of free government, and to train them up to the true comprehension of the rights, duty and dignity of American citizenship."- RCW 28A.405.030 I don't know about you, but that quote makes me smile. I believe a large part of a public education is helping students be good citizens. To me, principles like Continue Reading
- What Teachers Know – August 2017 - I recently read a book written by Denver elementary school teacher Kyle Schwarz. The book, entitled “I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids,” details some of the experiences that Ms. Schwartz has had in her role as teacher in the primary grades and how they have affected her personally and professionally. It is a stark reminder that 1) adults are primarily teachers of children, rather than simply subject matter and 2) every child has unique talents and needs. Though these insights are neither new nor unique, it is sometimes easy for parents, community Continue Reading
- The Joy of Learning – September 2017 - In today’s world, it is sometimes easy to forget that learning should be joyful. Too often we project a jaded or cynical countenance when discussing school. “I have to go to school,” or “I can’t wait until spring break,” are common expressions regarding our attitude toward education. Learning can be hard, and sometimes it is difficult to see its usefulness immediately. However, learning is much more than simply finding out more about a particular topic; in fact, in many ways, learning is at the core of what it means to be human. A recent study of Finnish 1st- and 2nd-graders, Continue Reading
- Teaching Confidence – October 2017 - Recently I was reflecting on a study I read about years ago regarding a phenomenon known as “learned helplessness.” A quick trip to Wikipedia helped refresh my memory regarding this theory. In 1967, an American psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania was interested in researching depression. The psychologist, Martin Seligman, came up with an ingenious (if somewhat barbaric) experiment in an effort to find out how depression affects living organisms. The experiment he performed would likely face ethical challenges today, but here is what he did in his two-part experiment: Part 1: He created three groups of dogs and placed Continue Reading
About the Superintendent
Steve Holland has worked as a stock broker, intelligence analyst and educator. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and received his Bachelor’s from Brigham Young University. He received his Master’s in Teaching from Whitworth College and his Doctor of Education from Washington State University. He began his teaching career in Colville, Washington and was the only administrator of a very small school district in Orient, Washington. He has served as Superintendent of the Raymond School District since July, 2003.
Steve married Kathy Holland (née Haas) in 1983; they have 6 children, as well as three grandchildren.