Podcast: Jason Glass on Leading for Deeper Learning

From teaching in the eastern mountains of Kentucky to serving as a school superintendent in the western mountains of Colorado, Jason Glass had an interesting early career in education. In between, he was the school chief in Iowa.

Dr. Glass is the superintendent of Jefferson County School District. Serving 84,000 students, Jeffco is the largest district in Colorado. Encompassing 800 square miles, Jeffco serves urban, suburban, and rural communities west of Denver.

Dr. Glass has promoted deeper learning across the 155 site based diverse school options in Jeffco. On the 100th day of his service, he released Jeffco Generations, which outlined the need to transform tasks learners engage in to “give students the chance to practice vital skills and concepts beyond just acquiring facts, which are easy to come by in the age of Google.”

The plan called for responsive teaching and customized pathways supported by technology. Anchoring the plan was a graduate profile, Jeffco 2020 (which built on Tony Wagner’s “Survival Skills for the 21st Century).

Glass anticipated the pandemic closure, sponsored development of a plan and shared it with district leadership. On March 13, when schools closed, people knew what to do.

“We put in place the tools people would need, made sure it all functioned, and asked for a lot of grace,” said Glass. “We’re going to make mistakes and keep getting better together.”

The Jeffco team is planning on fewer resources for next year. However, Glass anticipates requires for social distancing in school settings and a need to drop student-teacher ratios in classrooms. That would require pulling more people into instructional form and redesigning schedules (like A/B days) to keep students out of buildings more with a lot of bunch of screening and clearing and movement protocols to avoid big groups.

Glass sees this crisis as a big “shake up the industrial model driven by content and 50 minute periods, and master schedules.” He thinks some changes will be very positive including more asynchronous student-driven learning.

Key Takeaways:
[1:08] Jason shares how he first become a social studies teacher in Hazard, KY.
[2:55] Jason speaks about his career at the Colorado Department of Education in the early 2000s.
[4:12] Jason shares about his time as Director of Human Resources at Eagle County Schools.
[5:53] Jason explains how he landed the role of Chief State School Officer for the Iowa Department of Education; what brought him back to the Eagle County School District afterward; and finally, how he became Superindent of Jeffco Public Schools.
[8:30] Tom and Jason talk about the large student population that Jeffco serves.
[10:18] Jason speaks about how he developed his agenda at Jeffco and what became his priorities in such a large district.
[13:50] What does Jason hope to see when he visits a Jeffco elementary school?
[17:24] Jessica shares an important resource with listeners: the Getting Through microsite.
[18:03] Jason speaks about their experience switching to remote learning when they closed schools in Colorado.
[21:55] What is it going to look like once they open schools back up? What challenges will be present and how will they overcome them?
[25:32] Jason speaks about what kinds of new options Jeffco’s communities will want and form, going forward.
[28:52] Tom thanks Jason for his leadership at Jeffco and for joining the podcast!
[19:16] Where to learn more about Jeffco and read more about their strategic vision.

Mentioned in This Episode:
Jason Glass
Jason Glass’ Twitter: @COJasonGlass
Jeffco Public Schools
Jeffco Generations

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The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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