Superintendent Laurie Kimbrel Tamalpais |Rigorous Instruction for all Learners

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Superintendent Laurie Kimbrel Tamalpais |Rigorous Instruction for all Learners

Shared By Laurie Kimbrel   /     Aug 23, 2015  /     Blog, Laurie Kimbrel, Laurie Kimbrel Superintendent, Laurie Kimbrel Tamalpais  /  

Shared but not written by Laurie Kimbrel


Rigorous Instruction for all Learners

The term rigor is extensively used by teachers to describe learning experiences, schoolwork, educational expectations and instructions that are intellectually, academically and personally challenging. For example, rigorous experiences help students understand concepts that are contentious, ambiguous or complex, and help students gain skills that can be applied in a variety of educational and career contexts during the course of their lives.

Instructions should deeply engage students and connect directly to their lives with the content for them to be better prepared to deal with the challenges presented in school and in their career paths. To be successful in the 21st century economy, students need to be accorded the chance to exercise higher order thinking skills, which includes  how to work collaboratively with others, distinguish facts from opinions, recognize bias, balance competing principles, weigh evidence, analyze an argument, and be able to communicate clearly. Contact Dr Kimbrel using this blog

What they understand. Students are also given the opportunity to  express what they have learned in a variety of ways, which may include giving the students  a platform to show their understanding through creative projects or through a range of questions. In order to achieve these goals, educators must make instructions rigorous and meaningful.

Teaching approaches that involve students working together  on projects or assignments that would require them to come up with a product or do a presentation is a sure way to bring rigor into the classroom. Students can do research or use what they know to take up on real problems and come up with solutions to real life problems. This enables them to engage both their peers and their subjects.

Though some educators may equate difficulty with rigor, on the other hand, most educators argue that rigorous instruction for learners should be appropriately and sufficiently for individual students. Advocates strongly believe that rigorous instructions for  learning experiences encourage students to learn more, while also giving them a sense of personal accomplishment when they successfully complete a challenge, unlike lessons that are simply ‘hard’  will often lead to students’ discouragement, frustration and disengagement.

With rigorous instruction for all learners, the role of the educators is simply to remove barriers to ensure the success of the students. To increase rigorous instructions in schools, educators may need to begin with the basics of developing a mutual understanding of rigor so that all stakeholders have a common point of reference. They can then develop characteristics that they feel can will be easily integrated into the school system and implement them.

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  • About Laurie Kimbrel

    The current project manager for the Atlanta K-12 Design Challenge, Laurie Kimbrel is an educator with many years’ experience. Before undertaking this position in 2015, Kimbrel served as Superintendent of the Tamalpais Union High School District in Larkspur, California, where she oversaw 4,200 students, 435 staff members, and managed a $63 million budget. Among other achievements under Laurie Kimbrel’s tenure, the district implemented a leadership model that formed Professional Learning Communities designed to augment teacher effectiveness through shared assessment data.

    Kimbrel holds a bachelor of science in music and business from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. She also received a master of science in special education from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, and completed her education with leadership-based doctoral studies at Loyola University in Chicago.

    Dedicated to her community, Laurie Kimbrel is a hospice volunteer and works with nonprofits aimed at ensuring every child has access to great teachers and schools. She is also passionate about education reform and champions efforts to bring about effective hiring practices in schools.

  • Education & Publications


    Loyola University Chicago - Doctorate, Curriculum & Instruction

    National Louis University, Certificate of Advanced Study, Educational Leadership

    Dominican University, Master of Science, Special Education

    Millikin University, Bachelor of Science, Music and Business

    It's a Man's World: How to Achieve Success as a Woman in High School District, AASA Women in Leadership Conference, 2013

    How to Run a Clean Construction Program, California School Board Convention, 2012

    A Transition Success Story: California School Boards Association Conference, 2009

    Program Growth and High Achievement: College Board National Conference, 2008

    Building Leadership Capacity through Effective Staffing Planning, Illinois Association of Personnel Administrators Conference, 2008

    Improving Student Achievement: Illinois NCLB Conference, 2007

    Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations: Lake County Personnel Administrators Conference, 2007

    The Impact of Proactive Classroom Management, Doctoral Dissertation, Loyola University, 2002

  • Community Service

    Laurie Kimbrel volunteers for a number of community organizations including Bristol Hospice as a patient volunteer, Destiny's Daughter's of Promise as a student mentor and Students First as an advocate for effective educational practices.
  • Contact Laurie Kimbrel