Maximizing the Value of Summer School with Sari Factor
April 4, 2023
Maximizing the Value of Summer School with Sari Factor

In years past, summer school has been used as a way to punish kids who were falling behind, putting them into remedial classes where there was a lot of rote memorization and dry reading crammed into a short space. While those days aren’t fully over yet, many organizations and schools are working hard to create summer school programs that are engaging and allow students to succeed on their own terms.

Imagine Learning is one such organization. Through technology, teachers can personalize learning for students and try out new modalities in summer school. And students can grow leaps and bounds in smaller classes with teachers who are more focused on their needs.

This week on the podcast, Sari Factor of Imagine Learning is sharing more about the benefits of summer school, why we shouldn’t be afraid of technology, how we can use summer school as a way to address inequity in learning, and so much more.

If you’re an educator or parent who is wondering about the value of summer school, it’s time to listen in!

About Sari Factor:

Sari is the Vice Chair and Chief Strategy Officer at Imaging Learning.

She began her career as a mathematics teacher but soon thought of much bigger ways to impact students. Recognizing that technology could greatly transform the way students learn, she made a career move into education technology and has been working to leverage technology to help students, teachers, schools, and districts ever since.

Sari joined Imagine Learning in 2011 and has held leadership positions at successful educational publishing and learning technology companies, including Kaplan, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Everyday Learning Corporation. “I knew that I could fulfill my vision to combine technology with research on learning to make education truly student-centered.”

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:39] Where transforming education began for Sari
[2:42] – A tech upside to the pandemic
[3:59] – First response to tech is to feel threatened
[4:57] – You can’t separate school work from work at large
[5:25] – How Imagine Learning is maximizing student learning
[6:35] – In summer school in particular, you can personalize learning in a way you can’t during the regular school year
[8:26] – Teachers can focus better in summer school
[9:45] – Personalized intervention comes into play for mastery learning
[12:54] – The gift of mastery based learning
[14:40] – Making a positive impact on test scores
[17:50] – How administrators can address burnout of year round schooling and support teachers and students
[21:21] – Summer classes can address inequity in learning
[24:48] – What learners and educators can feel less daunted about summer school
[27:36] – Turbo Time
[32:48] – Sari’s Magic Wand
[34:00] – Maureen’s Takeaways

Links & Resources



Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education, evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast, please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:08
Hi Sari, it is so good to have you on Education Evolution today.

Sari Factor 1:12
I’m delighted to be with you, Maureen.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:15
And listeners. today I’m chatting with Sari Factor. She’s a former math teacher, and is the chief strategy officer of a leading K 12 education curriculum provider. Imagine learning, she’ll be addressing the challenges school leaders are facing with planning for upcoming summer school programs. So let’s dive in. stary. We know our schools have to evolve to serve all learners. Where did this story of school transformation begin for you?

Sari Factor 1:48
Oh, wow, a long time ago, a long, long time. You know, I have been in and around the school environment. almost since the beginning of my career, I started teaching never felt very successful at that. That’s one of the things I have a hard time admitting. And then quickly moved into educational publishing and educational technology. I started off thinking that, you know, technology was going to change the world. But the world of education has transformed much slower than the world of technology in the world at large. And I’ve been kind of pushing at that for over, oh, gosh, three decades now. And you know, really starting to see where the beauty of using technology not to replace the teacher, but to really augment everything a teacher does, can give a teacher so much additional power data and so on. And, you know, the one of the one of the upsides of the pandemic was there, just a lot more computers and schools and a lot more opportunity and access for both teachers and for students to use technology to learn and to teach.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 2:57
Absolutely. And I’m with you, it’s so frustrating that I have seen in my lifetime phones go from being something connected to a wall that I would drag as far away from the wall as I could to talk to cell phones to all of this advanced technology. And I truly have not seen education change that much at all in my lifetime. And it’s like, come on, come on, we can be doing more for our kids. So I’m glad that you are one of the advocates doing that more for our kids.

Sari Factor 3:26
Yeah, it’s fun, but it’s challenging. I mean, we tend to want to replicate exactly, you know, a classroom exactly as it’s been, when in fact, there are some things that need to change and quit change with the advent of technology. Right? Teachers can be made more efficient, they can spend more of their time doing the things. They love to do that mentorship with the students and small group and one on one work while other students are working on a computer program to do the very personalized work that they need to do to improve their skills.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 3:59
Absolutely. And I think that our first response to technology, especially if they don’t understand it, is feeling threatened. I remember, oh my gosh, no, you can’t use a calculator. You have to be able to do this in the real world. You may not always have a calculator. It’s like, yeah, on my phone, I actually do always have a calculator. And the latest is, oh my gosh, chat GBT. When will kids ever learn to write essays? It’s like, maybe it’s like the calculator. We don’t have to be terrified. We can teach them how to use the tool, and then focus on skills that computers and artificial intelligence can’t do. How can they be more creative? Critical thinkers work on communication, collaboration, 21st century skills. So I agree. I hear a lot of parents like, I want what I had growing up for my child because that’s what I understand. And it’s like, no, we can do better in what you had wasn’t necessarily bad. But this is a generation later. Let’s do better.

Sari Factor 4:54
Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s different today. I know my kids grew up with computers. You In a way that I did not, and I had a just as a parent, they’re all saying these things you cannot, you cannot separate schoolwork from the work at large.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:11
Exactly. So let’s talk a little bit about COVID era learning losses, declining enrollment slashed budgets mean, it’s a super tough time and education, teacher shortage. What have you created to help school administrators maximize summer learning, which is needed more than ever, despite all of these present obstacles?

Sari Factor 5:36
Let me first say that when we frame everything as a negative learning loss, what did they lose? I worry that we are already like trying to react, we instead of being proactive, thinking about where our students today, forget about last learning, what did they just not get to? Not yet kind of? Where does every student start? And I think about this just generally as, you know, asset based approach to learning and education. What is student’s unique skills and gifts? Where are they today? And where do they need to go? And how do we get them there as efficiently quickly as possible, not taking shortcuts? Because I think that, you know, this notion of acceleration makes you think, Oh, that child has, you know, we’re going to have to take shortcuts, but we do have to become more efficient, we have to say what are those critical skills are their priority skills that are going to unlock learning for them, and allow them to progress more quickly, with with summer school in particular, I think there is an opportunity to personalize learning in a way that is harder to do sometimes during the regular school year, in part because of teachers, no class loads at the elementary level, the average teacher now has 30, sometimes 32 students, when you get to high school, you know, teachers teaching five or six sections of a high school course. So they probably have 150 180 Different students that they’re responsible for during the course of an academic year. So oftentimes, you can get more personalized in that five or six week program in summer school, and get smaller cohorts of students that really are personalized, personalized to personalized learning more. So you know, helping every student build what she or you need.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 7:27
I love that point. Because I have I’ve had students say, Yeah, I failed Algebra. So I did summer school before I can do micro school. And oh, my gosh, it was so much easier in summer school, the teacher just was able to answer questions and whatnot in the summer school experience has been a rich positive, we’re going into it the students like I’m never gonna get math, I stink at math. And they come out of it like, Hey, that was easy. I just needed a little different approach. And I also really appreciate that we need to be very careful with our words. And my microscope, we try to be strength based, what gifts do the kids bring in? And I catch myself looking at learning gap learning loss. And just like when we were in the elementary schools, it’s like you don’t say kids don’t run in the hallways, you say, Hey, guys, please walk up. So how we frame things really does change whether it’s a scarcity or an abundance outlook in so thank you for that reminder. That’s important.

Sari Factor 8:27
Yeah, the same goes for teachers, I think, you know, one of the things that because summer school is so short, it provides a focus. And teachers can be very focused on what can we get done in this period of time, this short period of time, versus Oh, my God, I have a whole school year. And you know, I will pace myself through the school year. And I know all those whatever, fourth grade level math skills, or 10th Grade English course, it’s a little bit different than summer school, you can be hyper focused on what you need every student to be able to achieve in that period of time. And what’s the most efficient way to do that?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 9:05
I appreciate that. And I think that the maxim, if you want something done, ask a busy person, when we have less time, we do become more efficient as that mom with five kids, five kids under, you know, seventh grade, they’re like so much more organized than like when I’m a single adult, and I have all this leisure time. So I can see how that would make sense. This is finite, I need to get from here to here. What is superfluous? What can we consolidate? What can I do with multiple forms of assessment? I think we can get creative when we know we have really tight parameters. And that’s a good way to look at summer school is this opportunity to do things a little differently.

Sari Factor 9:46
Yeah, so when I think about you asked what, what, what we’ve done, really the whole notion of personalized intervention, like what does every student know and what does she need this notion of masturbate nap mass tree based learning, really critical, you know, moving students along as each individual needs, helping them build the skills, giving them a pathway to grade level success is absolutely critical. So that can be done at every level in every subject area, technology unleashes the potential to do that. So in the Sunday school, when I first started teaching, it was like, I had this cohort of kids that I was taking along this journey, and each one had different needs. Here with technology, you can really get to personalization, every student works at his or her own pace, teacher has checked in with them, and it almost changes up the modality of the regular school day, in a in a pretty major way.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 10:45
Absolutely. And if I’m not responsible for keeping every kid on the same page in the chapter, I don’t have to be as they say, that sage on the stage, I can truly be that guide on the side, Hey, show me how you’re doing this, Hey, talk to me about what this is, and unpack and learn about the student. And I can be doing formative assessment, instead of waiting until the end of the unit and doing something that summative and just marks the end, I can assess and adjust. So as an educator, I like that I really can have an impact instead of just kind of helping them through as an moss through a chapter or a program. So that personalization piece piece, I think is is rich for us as educators to because we want to know kids, and we want to adjust to their interests, to their pace and to their needs.

Sari Factor 11:39
Exactly, exactly. And I do think that that experience in summer school could potentially go back into for a teacher a different way to teach during the school year. So this might give a teacher the opportunity to experiment with some different modalities that they might not be accustomed to, to try something new in the fall when they go back.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:01
I love that Yeah. And if I have this sense of relationship in the summer, and truly knowing learners as individuals, I would want to see how I could make that happen in a larger group and with the different parameters. So I agree, it could really have a positive impact for the teachers experience and what they provide learners during the rest during the traditional school year.

Sari Factor 12:24
Yeah, so important to set goals and be really precise about what it is that each student, each teacher is trying to accomplish in summer school, again, that short period of time that focus. So I think you can get a pretty fast turn on whether you’re moving towards those goals or not. And enable that formative assessment. I mean, we really believe with the technology that every keystroke a student makes tells us something about what they know, and what they don’t know what they still need to learn. Again, go back going back to mastery based learning, it’s a really different model and a different mindset in a way that says, I’m moving towards my goal every day, this is what I have to do to move towards my goal, it gets really granular in terms of what those goals look like.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 13:13
A mastery based is such a gift to the students there are kids said say start that algebra two class and maybe they had an illness or they moved schools and it came in a different format. So wherever they go, then it’s like, oh, you’re behind, you have to start it over again. And when it’s mastery based, and there’s a pre assessments like, oh, my gosh, you’ve nailed the first four topics, let’s jump you. So it’s not like every time I have to start over at day one, it gives them credit for what they know. And it allows for taking extra time, if there’s something that’s a challenge for them, and maybe the teacher unpacking different tools to help them with something that’s hard for them. So mastery base to me is so much more authentic than measuring seat time and, and just coverage of material with everybody on the same page. I love that factor. Really.

Sari Factor 14:08
Yeah, I imagine Edgenuity courseware really allows for that we’ve been in the business of credit recovery for a long time. And you know, initially during the school year, but more and more more and more in summer school so we can provide those courses that are all laid out for mastery based approach. And the students test test their way through it. Basically they take assessments that say, here’s what you know, you can skip this. And it’s a very efficient way to move through courses for grades six through 12. It’s pretty nice.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 14:41
I know a lot of districts have to be not only addressing credit recovery and getting kids making sure they meet their credits to meet their graduation requirements. But the test scores are tied into funding. And so they’re paying attention to test scores and how to win crease those. What do you see? Imagine learning being able to do that has a positive impact on those district test scores.

Sari Factor 15:09
Yeah, so I mean, the test scores that they’re taking in summative tests oftentimes aren’t the data isn’t even available until long after those summative tests have been taken, right? Both standardized tests, what we build in the assessments into the products so that every every day or every week, however districts want to measure it, you could see how how far a student has moved through a program, whether it’s a course, or some of our intervention products, you get to see what a student has done, the teacher can see what the student has done, the parent can see what the student has done. And you know, that feedback that quick feedback does enable a response to the student, him or herself. I mean, they also can see, did I meet my goal, I wanted to get through this many lessons. This week, good I did, I did achieve that. I think it’s really important that the students themselves, even young students, take responsibility for their learning. So way to give students agency and make them feel like they’re in control. It’s not like I’m just getting fed by, you know, the mama bird coming to feed the baby bird. The more we do that for kids, the better off they’re going to be for a lifetime of learning. It’s not just about this summer, or this grade, it’s really about how do I learn best? How do I reflect on that? Failure helps drive success. So if I if I failed a course or I don’t understand this concept, what is it that’s going to unlock that learning for me, really taking ownership,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:41
I love that agency aspect, and I see it completely carrying on to college, or we have some 11th and 12th graders that are doing dual enrollment, and they have to be able to look at what they’re doing, understand what’s working, not working, ask professors for help. So if we give them opportunities to own their learning, monitor their progress earlier on, then I can see them having much more success, when we hand them additional responsibility in post secondary programs,

Sari Factor 17:12
or even life itself. I mean, let’s, you know, and then there’s career and, you know, I’m expecting my, my team members to set their own courses for themselves. What do I not know that is going to let me do my work better? How can I learn that? Can I learn it from a colleague? Do I need to take an outside course? Do I just need to do a little research myself and read more about this topic so I can be better equipped to do my job. So college or career doesn’t have to be in a post secondary world of foliage? skills apply?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 17:49
Absolutely. A different piece of the puzzle I wonder about. I see parents, teachers, students, exhausted this global pandemic has really knocked our socks off. And I know some teachers already with a few months of school left are just counting down the seconds and slogging through with the teacher shortage with all the things going on. So the thought of summer school means potentially kind of this year round schooling. And if I’m burnt out now in March, what the heck, I’m gonna go all the way through early August, have a two week breather and start again. I’m curious, I’m sure Imagine learning has looked at this and have some ideas for how district administrators can address potential burnout of this year round schooling, and ways that they the administrators can also support teachers and students how how do you help folks when they’re already exhausted?

Sari Factor 18:51
Yeah, so I think a lot about this because I feel for teachers and I know a lot of teachers have left the profession, which I think is just a shame, as a result of this burnout, this stress that they have faced a couple of ideas. One is give yourself a breather. This is where changing up a modality if if the if you’ve been teaching face to face for for all these years, take take a break and deliver virtual course teach virtually or offer your kids a virtual course as opposed to a face to face course. So change up the modality a little bit later in enrichment opportunities. So you know, one of the things that that I think about is, if a student might be taking or retaking algebra one, can we give them another opportunity to take an elective as well something that they might choose? That could be fun for them? You know, we have computer science courses. We have a new product from an acquisition we did called imagined robot of phi, which is grades three to eight. It’s computer programming using virtual robot So instead of a physical robotics program, you could use this to any student can be taking robotics. But you’re programming it online and learning to program as young as grade three. It’s pretty, pretty fun. We’re doing center of STEM, we have a, we have a STEM camp, a three week STEM camp, it’s actually our teachers, the one of the options that we offer school districts is you can use your teachers or employ our teachers. So we will, we can teach virtual courses and things like this virtual stem STEM camp, which I think is pretty exciting. So you know, there are lots of different ways to change it up for kids. But again, it’s It’s the voice of choice. Like if they could choose, okay, I have to take my algebra, that’s a requirement. But maybe choose from these other courses, maybe a career, a career course or, you know, art course, something that’s a little bit different. That allows them to pursue a different passion and kind of a little different side of the brain potentially too.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 21:01
I love that I truly think Mary Poppins a spoonful of sugar does help that medicine go down. So maybe I have to catch up on a class. That isn’t my preference. But boy, if I get to create in a different aspect, then I have something to look forward to and, and teachers too. So I love that you’re creating a win win with that. I guess one other area that we’re all worrying about, or we’re all very aware of is educational equity, and some of the inherent disparities if it’s English, Language Learner versus a native speaker. How can summer classes address this potential inequity or disparity?

Sari Factor 21:47
Yeah, so you probably know that Imagine learning does have a heritage in materials for English language learners progress for English language learners. And, you know, our imagined language and literacy product very closely, does that carefully does that we also have imagined a spaniel. So by literacy program, I mean, one of the things that’s important I go back to that asset base, you know, what do I have as a student? Well, I might be a native Spanish speaker. And I could be very fluent in Spanish. I’m just not fluent in English, you got other kids that are great in speaking English, but they don’t know Spanish. You could have them learning in parallel programs, and then teaching each other and talking to each other. to level that playing field, we have a lot of districts that are beginning to use, you know, introduced by literacy programs. And so we’re very excited about that opportunity. But again, summer school is a chance to learn the language, use the language in new ways, in different ways. So that’s one idea.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:53
I love that and my daughters are bilingual, and I started learning Spanish in high school, and I can communicate fluidly but I’ll never but be bilingual always sound like a gringa. But it opens so many doors. And there are times when I’m fumbling around and knowing that I’m not putting it together well, and very aware that I sound an educated to somebody hearing me in Spanish. When it’s like wait, no, I really know what I’m talking about. And I’ve done all this postgraduate work and stuff like that, I just don’t have the ability to express it in Spanish. So I can only imagine how frustrating it is for students to be like, I have this, hello, I’m not stupid. It’s just my second language. And I think we make assumptions on our hear broken English. And we have to be super aware of that. So for you to, for kids to be able to learn in their native language for kids to be able to have what we call intercambios exchanges between the two languages to help both language learners enrich the other language learners, I just think is huge and is not happening nearly often enough. So kudos to you for, again, seeing being bilingual as a strength and building on that and not seeing it as a lack of English but the ability to communicate in two languages.

Sari Factor 24:16
Absolutely. I wish I could, frankly, I took French, not Spanish and I know Spanish would be so much more useful. Now. I would love to go back and take Spanish because we have so many Spanish speakers in the US and around the world. That I live in a bucket list item for me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 24:35
Yes, it’s it’s wonderful. I love it. I love being able to create relationships at a deeper level in Spanish speaking countries that I can’t do when I’m living like in Hungary or somewhere where I don’t have the language.

Sari Factor 24:48
Right, right. Yeah.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 24:50
So what would be a couple of steps you would encourage educators and learners and in school admin Illustrator’s, it’s like, okay, summer school is looming. How can they take it on maybe? And feel a little more curious and a little less daunted? What, what might you suggest?

Sari Factor 25:11
Well, I mean, I think they have to start by thinking about their goals, what which populations do they want to serve? In summer school? Who are the students in a bind? Now, you should pretty much have an idea of which students will need summer school for academic reasons, as opposed to enrichment reasons, right. And start engaging the families. So getting families on board, what whoever, whoever the parent or guardian is of those children that they have targeted for summer school needs to be engaged in a conversation of here’s how we want to help your student over the summer. Because you got to do that early, they may be making other plans for the summer, you know, whether it’s camps or whether it’s, you know, those kids are going to work or whatever it happens to be during the summer, we need to get them engaged and committed to the time that summer school is going to take and then what are those modalities? If the student wants to take a virtual course? Do they have the computer at home and the and the bandwidth, you know, the Wi Fi at home? To be able to take a course from home? Or do we need to accommodate them in a school building? No. school, school administrators have a lot to deal with a lot of the districts will close, you know, for the cost purposes, closed down a couple of buildings and centralize their their summer school programs into a central location, then you got transportation issues. So all of that planning is happening. Now that school district? Of course, we’re not involved in that. But the administrators have to be, you know, thinking about that now. But it all starts with what are the goals? Who are the kids are trying to serve? And what are those needs?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:50
That sounds crystal clear, organized, and I love that Imagine learning is they’re partnering and ready to provide resources and ready to unpack that with school administrators. Okay, these are your goals. These are students these are their needs their resources, here’s option A option B, so that it can really be that personalized match for each school district. So I’m excited to put in the show notes, the link to imagine learning so that those that are listening can learn more and families listening can even petition to school districts, hey, I want my kid to be in this robot of AI program I want so that they can help promote more options and summer school truly being a successful experience for our learners and not punitive.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:36
Exactly. So sorry, I like pivoting and getting to know the person behind the program a bit. May I fire some turbo time questions at you?

Sari Factor 27:50
Oh, sure. Okay.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:53
Awesome. What’s the last book you read?

Sari Factor 27:56
Oh, the last book I read. I usually have about five going on at once. You should know that about me. I’m a reader. I’m a reader. And I’ve got a bunch going on which ones I actually finished. I reread the story life of AJ Vickery by Gabriel seven. She has a new book out, which I started in I like, oh, I don’t like the new book as well. But I went back to the old book to listen to it. It’s, it’s set in a bookstore. So I’d say no more. I love reading any I’m a sucker for books that are set in bookstores or about books. And I’m also I just finished Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin, which I think is absolutely wonderful. He was a renaissance man. He just was an incredible person. Benjamin Franklin, I wish I could have known him in his lifetime. He broke through on so many different levels. really inspiring.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:47
That leads me to my second question, who would two inspirational folks be that you’d love to meet?

Sari Factor 28:53
Well, there’s, there’s so many, I’d say Malala yousufzai is one? Yeah, she is she? I saw her I saw her just a couple of weeks ago on on television. And it just she blew my mind in terms of, you know, as a young woman, what she has done and been able to do, and she continues to push for women’s rights in places where women just don’t have the rights. So she’s incredible. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is another hero of mine. Yes, you know, I would have loved to have met met her. She was so inspirational. And again, she pro women and as she really moved the needle forward in terms of equity, but not only for women, I mean, you know, some of her first cases were about, you know, reverse discrimination. Exactly.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 29:44
Yes. Yes. And she dealt with so much discrimination and so many doors shut on her as a woman and did not give up and helped carry her husband through his studies. I just, yeah, I

Sari Factor 29:57
she persisted. That’s what I that’s I think about her, she just kept going.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:02
Absolutely. How about a pet peeve of yours?

Sari Factor 30:09
So it starts with people who don’t clean up after themselves. That’s how it manifests. But it’s more around people who don’t follow through, I think cleaning up after yourself is a metaphor for finishing the job. Right? You know, I go into a conference from here. And I’ve seen that from meeting. It wasn’t picked up, like, what, what? Who were they expecting to come to finish that for them? So it’s a little metaphor for, you know, are you following through on the things that you say you’re going to follow through on? That’s my pet peeve

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:45
agreed, How about a passion you bring to EdTech.

Sari Factor 30:50
I think it goes back to that every child, every learner, no matter the age, deserves the right to learn, and how through technology, we can enable that, you know, the internet itself has opened up doors chat, GPT, for now, is opening up doors for people in ways that we couldn’t have been imagined when I started in an educational technology. So I keep believing in like the power of education, and then the power of technology to not not to teach necessarily, but to unleash learning for, for millions and millions of people.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:37
I like that I like the unleash learning these. It’s not about dispensing content. But yes, unleashing this potential.

Sari Factor 31:45
It’s empowering people.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:49
And what is something that most folks don’t know about you?

Sari Factor 31:53
I think I started a little bit earlier before, I never felt successful as a teacher. And it’s very humbling for me. I know today that I’m serving many more teachers, and many more students do the work on doing not teaching directly. But it’s that frustration that I had as a teacher that has really fueled me, I have tremendous respect for the work that teachers do. And I think it comes from the fact that I never felt successful as a teacher. And I’m trying to do everything I can today to help teachers find success in everything they do, to empower kids to learn.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:34
I love that and that you’re taking something that was frustrating. And using it as a catalyst is powerful. I think there’s lessons to be learned everywhere. And sometimes I just don’t want to learn them. And it sounds like you do and that’s awesome.

Sari Factor 32:49
Thank you.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:50
Sari, I wrap up my interview with a magic wand moment. So I am handing you the education evolution magic wand. What would you wish for in the world of EdTech?

Sari Factor 33:08
I-It goes back to the equity question. Right, it goes back to the issue of enabling every learner to follow their dreams to maximize their potential and give everybody a chance at success in their life, whatever they want to do. I think education is a great leveler technology underpins the ability of education to be able to do that. Like dry magic one.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:39
I love love, love it. Sorry. Thank you for the work you’re doing with Imagine learning and for your empathy and creativity. It is a pleasure to have you as a guest.

Sari Factor 33:52
Thank you so much, Maureen, great to see you.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:04
We know that technology is transforming our world. It is wonderful to see organizations such as Imagine learning, use this power of technology to gather data and personalize and move learning ahead. I especially appreciate that Siri is reframing words like loss and deficit, and continuing to have an asset and strength based approach. Questions like What are the gifts that each learner brings? Where are they in different subject areas? Where do we want them to go? are so important? We can become very clear and goal driven and efficient. Now is the time to prioritize and use technology to get our learners where we want them to be. John Bergman in his recent book launch and interview, emphasized the importance of mastery learning. I am a believer, I will put the link to his podcast interview and book in the show notes. Sari’s suggestions to counter burnout are great reminders for all of us. We need to manage our resources and energy and pay careful attention of our workload in creative ways. serious commitment to every learner deserving to learn is beautiful. And her use of technology to help unleash learning and empower people is also amazing that Sari uses her frustration as a catalyst to move forward is impressive. And her magic wand. Yes, please, let’s enable every learner to follow their dreams and maximize their potential. As always, thank you for being a part of the education evolution.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 36:20
I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I’ve spent years working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me how much schools were able to get done with the right tools and guidance. If you’re ready to make changes like this in your own school, let’s talk and put together an action plan. Visit for a free 15 minute call. And let’s see if we’re a good fit for more work together. Thanks again for listening. To support the education evolution. Subscribe so it lands in your podcast app and gets out to more decision makers. Then rate and review it. For more information in shownotes go to Education Evolution listeners. You are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen heard, valued and thriving. We are in this together and we need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.

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