Together for Safe, Just & Equitable Schools. #aew2022
American Education Week is here and all of us at Progress Learning would like to take an in-depth look at the history of AEW, what it is, and how we can honor it.
History of American Education Week
American Education Week (AEW) originated in 1921 as a combined effort from the National Education Association and the American Legion to bring awareness and public support to education. The NEA and the American Legion were concerned that 25% of the World War 1 draftees were illiterate and 9% were not physically fit. Thus, they met in 1919 to determine a course of action for bringing awareness to this issue and strengthening the nation’s public education system.
The NEA called for, “An educational week … observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.” It is now co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and dozens of other national organizations and is celebrated the week before Thanksgiving every year.
What is AEW?
American Education Week is intended to educate the community about the importance of public education and to recognize the individuals dedicated to making quality education accessible to all students. Each day of American Education has a specific theme and is set to honor specific groups of people who are instrumental in shaping our nation’s public schools. The overarching theme of this year’s American Education Week is: Together for Safe, Just & Equitable Schools.
Monday is Kick-Off Day. The first day of the week is when schools and communities launch their AEW efforts and share how they plan on participating. The NEA has put together shareable artwork for this year’s week of celebration.
Tuesday is Family Day. This is the day when schools honor relationships with families and would historically invite them to observe in the classroom.
Wednesday is Education Support Professionals Day. Education Support Professionals include bus drivers, office support staff, cafeteria workers, paraeducators, and anyone else working to help keep our schools a safe and inviting environment for students to learn and grow in.
Thursday is Educator for a Day. Historically, this is when members of the community would be invited to come and assume the role of an educator, getting the full experience of what it means to be one.
Friday is Substitute Educators Day. This final day is intended to recognize the importance of substitute educators and the role they play in continuing to provide quality instruction to students in the absence of their regular educator.
How Do We Show Our Support for AEW?
An accessible public education is one of the core concepts this country was founded on. This week-long celebration is intended to ensure that this concept remains at the forefront of our minds and that we demonstrate our commitment to bettering it for students now and in the future. Of course, we wouldn’t have public education without the dedicated professionals making it all happen, and this week is our chance to celebrate them and show our deep gratitude for the work that they do.
American Education Week provides us with the perfect opportunity to show our appreciation and highlight the importance of education and the jobs of teachers, families, and education support professionals.
Ideas for Celebrating AEW
Monday, Kickoff Day: Drum up school spirit and explain to students the importance of this week-long celebration. Allow students to come up with ideas of how they can show their appreciation to their families, education support professionals, teachers, and substitutes. Students can make cards, draw pictures, write letters, and think of the special people that make their education possible.
Tuesday, Family Day: Historically, this was a day for families to come to school and experience their child’s school day. If that is not possible, families can be invited to “Zoom in” to the classroom for an activity. Teachers can share resources with families on how they can remain involved in their child’s education and emphasize the importance of partnering with schools to educate their children. Families and parents are their child’s first teachers and this concept should be recognized and celebrated throughout their educational journey. Families can be surveyed to find out ways in which they would like to participate and be involved in this partnership as their child grows.
Wednesday, Education Support Professionals Days: Showing support to ESPs can be done by having students and families organize a safe food event or sharing ways in which they are supported by ESPs in a hand-written note, on school bulletin boards, or on social media.
Thursday, Educator for a Day: In the past, this is when community members would come and experience a day in the life of a teacher to really understand and appreciate all that they do on a daily basis. Other options for celebrating this include inviting community members to come in and read to the class or share about their careers, either in person or virtually. Students can also take turns showing their appreciation for their teachers and sharing how their teachers help them.
Friday, Substitute Educators Day: Encouraging respect and adequate pay for substitute teachers is paramount to ensuring these professionals feel appreciated and supported in their role. Schools and districts can brainstorm ways to continue to support substitute teachers with their professional development so that they feel welcomed on campus.
Most importantly, schools and communities should celebrate this week in ways that are meaningful to them and reflect their gratitude for public education and their commitment to its longevity and prosperity.
Progress Learning Supports AEW
Progress Learning is continually committed to the betterment of public education and it is our mission to provide a quality and equitable solution that supports educators and empowers students to achieve their goals. Our platform is 100% state standards-aligned and provides personalized learning, targeted remediation and intervention, individualized study plan practice, and quality data and reporting to support the very important jobs of teachers and families.
On behalf of the entire Progress Learning team, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the education professionals who work tirelessly to make sure students have access to safe and effective learning experiences every day!
Request a Demo with us to learn more about how we can start supporting your amazing staff of educators today!