NEU Training Prepares Educators for School Year

No Excuses University Founder Encourages Progress
No Excuses University

August 19, 2014 – More than 1,700 Amarillo ISD staff members attended a No Excuses University (NEU) Institute today where they heard from movement founder Damen Lopez and AISD Superintendent Rod Schroder about how these teachings are fulfilling the district mission to, “Graduate every student prepared for success beyond high school.” Hosted at the Amarillo Globe News Center for the Performing Arts and Tascosa High School, educators put the program lessons to practice with expert advice from NEU trained teachers in 108 breakout sessions.

“If you’re walking into your classroom and start the first day of school the same as always, you’ve already failed,” NEU Founder Damen Lopez explained. “This movement is about progression. What will you do differently this year than last?”

Amarillo is considered the epicenter for the NEU movement. There are currently 17 schools in AISD which are official No Excuses Universities. Two pre-schools, one college and one church are also official NEU campuses in Amarillo.

“When people teach something like NEU to others, it becomes part of them,” Superintendent Rod Schroder said. “This program takes effort by our teachers which must come from the heart.”

Symbolism is important to the teachings of NEU because it provides a visual aid to all lessons. Classrooms will often use college memorabilia, fight songs and other school pride insignia to remind students of the opportunities they will have after graduating high school.

“The NEU mission is every child deserves to be educated in a way that prepares them for college if they so choose to attend,” Lopez said. “Raising a child is the same as teaching a child – it’s a long term endeavor.”

NEU teachings are based upon six exceptional systems:

  1. Culture of Universal Achievement – A culture of universal achievement takes place when the critical mass of the staff believes each student is capable of meeting academic standards in reading, writing and math and the school has the power to make that opportunity a reality.
  2. Collaboration – Great schools have talented professionals who find the very best ways to work together in order to get results.
  3. Standards Alignment – As professionals, we are called to participate in activities that improve our results while learning from our successes and failures. Aligning standards provides an objective framework that can guide our path.
  4. Assessment – Assessment is not about you as a teacher, it is about your students. All of it! Our reason for assessing students has to be grounded in a commitment to use the information in a way that helps us to generate greater success for them.
  5. Data Management – Data is given to us for one reasons and one reason only, to use as a means of securing greater success for each individual student. In order for it to be used as a means for driving instruction, data must be easily accessible, openly shared and deliberately arranged.
  6. Interventions – Good schools are able to take interventions and analyze their effectiveness through the use of data. Great schools, however, are able to take data and translate it directly into the creation of appropriate interventions.

Doug Curry is the director for NEU schools and neighborhoods in Amarillo. For more information about this programming, please contact Curry at 806-326-1363.


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