Erica Mazzeo is the Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment in RSU 57. Her unique educational history as researcher and teacher in public, private and public charter schools makes her an exceptional resource in Maine as the state endeavors to reimagine a post-Covid education system. Her research nationally and abroad has given her deep insight into student assessment models in education systems across the globe. In this interview with Aaron Churchill, Erica discusses complex issues about assessment measures that help prepare young people for a world economy that will be transforming continually. Many of the teachers we have spoken with in 2020 are focusing more on student growth measures as well as on academic indicators of success.
Erica’s role at Maine’s rural district RSU 57 has enabled her to encourage “systems thinking” by individual teachers and district-wide. She encourages student voice and leadership in district planning and has made use of data from the nationally acclaimed YouthTruth Student Survey to inform district practice and policy. She explains how the Covid pandemic has enhanced and accelerated the pace of professional learning within the district. Not only do staff collaborate in setting benchmarks for a common understanding of student success, they work together creativily to align instruction with the goal of personalized success for each student.
Erica’s message to Maine’s legislators and education leaders is to create the spaces for teachers and school leaders to better define the pathways for career development. As with her peer learning communities, education leaders, legislators and the business communities need to clarify the career needs for the future workforce which will be changing beyond our imaginations. How well are we preparing students to learn, unlearn and relearn so they can better define their pathway and contribute to the economy.