Los Angeles Accountability Professional Boils It Down to Equity

In L.A. County, they’re pushing to ensure all kids have access

Deborah Atwell is a Contract Consultant for Los Angeles County Office of Education, specializing in accountability within the county schools, a big job in such a large district. At the core of accountability and it's meaning, lives equity. Deborah says in Los Angeles, they try to ensure that all students have access to the proper material and instruction for the best chance at success in school.

Kid in math class learning numbers“We understand that all students don't come from the same backgrounds and experiences," she says. “For that reason, our instruction really has to adapt to their needs."

“The degree to which we need to educate our children has changed very much since the beginning of public education. The requirements have increased. Students need to know more than they used to. The job market has changed. There are differences in how students learn. There are differences in the experiences they have at home.

“How do we adapt instruction to meet their needs so that everyone is accessing? I think that's key. How do we tailor our instruction to meet the needs of the students that we serve? That's a very different prospect than what we were doing fifty years ago.

Deborah and her team are working on the answers to those questions. And it sounds like they are making significant progress in both accountability and equity in Los Angeles.

About Deborah Atwell

Deborah AtwellDeborah Atwell is currently a Contract Consultant in the Assessment and Accountability Division of the Los Angeles County Office of Education. She has 18 years of experience working in education as an Elementary Teacher, Mathematics Coach, and District Mathematics Specialist. Her work with performance tasks began in 2014 when she became a WestEd Professional Development Provider and Consultant on the Building Educator Assessment Literacy and Understanding Proficiency projects.

As a Mathematics Coach and professional development facilitator, Ms. Atwell has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of teachers dedicated to bringing real-world problem solving to their students. Together with teacher collaboratives, Ms. Atwell has worked on questioning routines that support and empower students' innate reasoning abilities. She believes strongly in shifting instruction towards the dynamic classroom where problem-solving, critical reasoning and communication of thinking is the focus.

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