All posts by Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.

Losing the best teachers impoverishes schools

The effectiveness of schools rests on the shoulders of teachers, and when we lose the best teachers before retirement age, we diminish the experience of children. I have been disheartened recently to run into two outstanding teachers who resigned their positions quite a few years before they reached retirement age. One of these teachers left her position […]

How to evaluate a school district leader

In the heat of budget travails, as well as in more tranquil times, school board members and school administrators should remember that it is on the backs of teachers that the quality of an education system truly rests. Creating conditions that encourage teachers to do their finest work, and retaining the best teachers, should therefore […]

Should teacher and administrator salaries vary widely according to district?

The Maine Department of Education maintains a website that publishes average teacher and administrator salaries for each school district in the state. I spent a little time looking at the average salaries for my area of the state. I would be disingenuous  in saying I was surprised to find a wage gap between neighboring districts. I […]

Mesh of dysfunction in schools

Jason was tall, thin, with doe-soft eyes and a long jaw, and from the start of the year he seemed unusually interested in the subject I teach, which is French. He was attentive in my classes, and cooperative. He often arrived a minute or two before the other students for a quick chat. Other teachers, […]

School budget dilemmas

Please note that this post refers to one particular consolidated coastal school district in Maine. I believe the situation it describes pertains to other districts. If your school district faces the same kinds of problems as RSU 13 please let me know in the comment box. School districts could possibly help each other out with shared problems. The […]

School funding formula favors affluent communities

Please paste the link below into your browser and sign the petition if you believe the school funding formula in Maine needs to be adjusted to be more equitable. https://www.change.org/p/state-of-maine-review-and-adjust-the-state-of-maine-s-funding-formula-of-k-12-schools The way the formula works now,  some wealthy towns such as Yarmouth (whose average family income is over $69,000 per year) – receive more money from the […]

Teacher Professional Development Done Right

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Today I have had the great pleasure of attending STEM: Innovation Forum 2015 in Portland, Maine. The forum was  sponsored by the Perloff Family Foundation, the University of Southern Maine, the Maine Community Foundation, and the Maine Space Grant Consortium. The forum was offered free of charge to educators in the state. The day-long program […]

Squandering teacher talents bites schools where it hurts

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At a time when our nation is struggling to improve education, in most schools we daily squander our biggest resource: teachers. Experienced teachers have the ability and knowledge to significantly improve the schools they work in and should be given leadership roles in developing curriculum, training new teachers, helping to evaluate programs, and leading teams. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. […]

Legislature under LePage administration delivers educational mandates but won’t foot the bill!

Common Core

The legislature in Augusta passed LD 1422: Proficiency-Based Diplomas in May of 2012. This law requires students to demonstrate proficiency in all eight content areas of the Maine Learning Results in order to receive a high school diploma. The eight content areas in which a student will be obliged to show proficiency are: Career and Education Development; […]