- It’s a Curious World—October, 2019 - It just makes sense that the more curious a student is, the better he or she is likely to perform in school. However, the benefits of curiosity are not limited to school; our world is ever changing, as are the skills workers need to have to perform those changing jobs. In his 1970 seminal book “Future Shock,” Alvin Toffler stated that “The illiterate of the 21st Century will be those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn.” Employees can maintain this cycle of learning by cultivating intellectual curiosity. After completing their formal education, it is unlikely anyone else will prod the graduates to keep learning;… Continue Reading
- Being Successful in Life and Being Successful in School—September, 2019 - The 30,000-foot view of the purpose of education is to help people be “successful.” Success is one of those words that we all use without specifically defining its meaning. For simplicity’s sake and for the sake of this article, I am defining success as the ability to be a contributing and self-sufficient citizen. Some of things that we teach in school don’t specifically lead to these ends. For example, I have not had to solve a quadratic equation since 1975, when I completed Algebra II. I am also fairly certain that I couldn’t tell you the relevance of a “p”… Continue Reading
- Looking with Better Eyes—May, 2019 - As an educator, I am charged with ensuring our students 1) know what they need to know to be ready for their next stage of life and 2) have developed habits and attitudes that will help them be successful members of our society. Everything our schools do encompasses these two goals. We want to make sure our students are ready to truly impact the community and nation in which they reside. Throughout my years in education, I’ve wondered exactly what that means. Specifically, what type of nation can the class of 2019 expect to find? Numerous recent polls have found… Continue Reading
- Harbor Career and Technology Center—April, 2019 - South Bend & Raymond School Districts, Port of Willapa Harbor, Collaborating on Career & Technical Education Partnership At their regular March school board meetings, South Bend School District and Raymond School District approved the implementation of a joint CTE (Career & Technical Education) partnership between both school districts. Targeted to begin during the 2019-20 school year, Raymond and South Bend will use engineering curriculum from Project Lead the Way, (PLTW.org) as well as both schools' current Construction programs. Harbor Trade & Technology Center Over the last several months, school superintendents Dr. Steve Holland and Dr. Jon Tienhaara have worked to identify… Continue Reading
- Why School?—March, 2019 - According to Wikipedia, “A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory.” Why? I am not trying to be a smart aleck. Like most Americans, my gut reaction to the question “What is the purpose of school?” would be something similar to “To prepare them for the rest of their life.” However, in a world that is changing so quickly, is that even possible? I recently read that Buckminster Fuller created a “knowledge-doubling curve”… Continue Reading
- Kids and Stress—February, 2019 - Kids and Stress A recent WebMD survey found that 72% of children have negative behaviors that are linked to stress. 62% have physical symptoms that indicate stress (headaches, stomachaches, etc.). Additionally, one indicator of extreme stress, suicide, has been going up the past few years. From 2000 to 2016, suicide rates for youth ages 10-24 increased as shown below. (These data come from the Centers for Disease Control.) What are some of the stressors that school-age children have? According to the WebMD study, they include: Faster child development. Thirty years ago, kindergarten was for finger painting, blocks and naps; state… Continue Reading
- Civics and Civility in Our Time—January, 2019 - All societies, whether they are towns, cities or nations, must have a foundation of agreed-upon norms if they wish to function. Often, these customs are informal. As an interesting experiment, the next time you get on an elevator, try turning to face the others on the elevator rather than orienting yourself so you can stare at the door. Talk about uncomfortable! Why? There is certainly no law that dictates that “all people in an elevator shall stand facing the door of that elevator.” However, in the United States one social norm dictates that it is rude to stare at people… Continue Reading
- Responsible to Act and Responsible for Those Actions—December 2018 - Even though it was over 20 years ago, I will never forget the experience. I was the only administrator in a tiny district in northeastern Washington and was having a conversation with two brothers and their parents regarding an incident that had occurred on their bus. One of the boys had gotten mad at this brother and thrown a “pudding pack” at him. Since the pudding pack was open, it had made quite a mess; pudding flew everywhere, i.e., the bus, clothes, other people’s hair, etc. As I questioned the boys, they each disavowed any knowledge of what had happened.… Continue Reading
- 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
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.