Guest Blogs

Keeping Our Eye on the Ball

Guest post by Danny Steele 

Dear Principal: I suspect you’re tired. It is easy to get discouraged. Some principals may even be disillusioned. As Tim Messick noted, “Job descriptions are written in such a way that a principal needs to be a superhero. A principal needs to have the power and strength of Superman, the intelligence of Albert Einstein, the popularity of Princess Diana, the political savvy of a presidential candidate, and the care and compassion of Mother Teresa.” (more…)

When Tragedy Strikes: Tips for Coping with Student Deaths

Guest post by Paula Callan

It’s the crisis response plan we as school administrators pray we never have to implement: The sudden loss of a student. But when tragedy strikes, it’s up to school administrators to provide leadership to the entire school community and implement protocols to support the immediate family, students, and staff most affected.  (more…)

Safe Schools: Are You Ready?

Guest post by Jeff Simon

Many are concerned about the growing reports of school safety incidents. According to the Educator’s School Safety Network, U.S. schools experienced 745 bomb threats in the 2015–16 academic year. And since 2013, there have been 210 school shootings, as reported by the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. This escalation of school threats and violence is generating fear and anxiety in students, parents, and educators and wasting precious learning time.

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Graduation: How Do We Get Students There?

Guest post by Ginni McDonald

Graduation is something every student should have the opportunity to experience. Aside from the indisputable benefits of a high school diploma, the preparations for graduation—the career action plans, the individualized academic plans, and the conferences—assist students in making choices that are right for them and their future. How do we connect with students to ensure they are on the road to graduation? There is no single answer to this question simply because each student is unique. (more…)

Using Restorative Circles to Build Accountability and Empathy

Guest post by Heberto Hinojosa, Jr.

In Texas and many other states across the country, school districts are abandoning or limiting the use of traditional exclusionary discipline practices such as detention, in-school suspension, and suspension to tackle student behavior issues that affect the learning process. Instead, many campuses are turning to restorative discipline to help teachers and administrators prevent and respond to behavior problems. (more…)

See Your School Through the Eyes of a Student

To discover new ways to make our schools ever better places to learn, we have to understand the school experience—but as the students see it, not as we believe it to be.

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Changing Grading and Reporting Practices to Enhance Student Learning

Guest post by Tom Dodd

Three years ago, our teachers began changing the way they assess student progress at Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins, CO. Standard/criterion/competency-based grading and reporting, as it’s commonly known, allows teachers to authentically evaluate student learning progress based on state academic standards, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), or in our case, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) Aims and Objectives to better communicate levels of academic performance and work habits. (more…)

The Model Classroom: A Makerspace for Teachers

Guest post by John Carder

By now, most educators have heard the term “makerspace.” The idea of a makerspace originated outside of the school setting as a place for community members to design and create manufactured work that wouldn’t be possible to create without the space. School makerspaces give students a place to work individually and collaboratively through hands-on creative projects that encourage them to design, experiment, repurpose, and innovate.  (more…)

This New Year, Resolve to Develop a Growth Mindset and Build an Instructional Identity

Guest post by Justin Cameron

Resolutions. Most of us make them. Personal resolutions and professional resolutions are too often prey to self-fulfilling prophecy resulting from a mindset that the resolution will be broken. Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth, architects of growth mindset and grit, can help shift that thinking. Their extensive work is worth exploring.

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Money Matters: 5 Tips for Tackling Scholarship Application Essays

Guest post by Andrea Elzy

Andrea “Drea” Elzy recently led a National Honor Society virtual college application essay writing workshop on the topic of scholarship applications. Here, she offers valuable tips that can be shared with students.

The college admission process can be a rigorous one—and requires reflection on what schools to apply to, why to apply to those particular universities, and how students might potentially finance their education.

Scholarships can be a great resource and an often untapped way to help ease the burden of educational expenses. There is no shortage of funding through scholarships—and, in many cases, students may find that there are scholarships available for not only academics and extracurricular involvement, but also scholarships available for personal attributes, qualities, etc.

Here are five tips (more…)