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Raising Wellness in Arizona

Guest post by Jeff Simon

While many of us are making resolutions for 2017 to lose weight, save money, and live life to the fullest, Payson High School students are hard at work planning our annual Student Wellness Conference, an award-winning event devoted to helping students become their best selves. (more…)

What I Learned in D.C.: Advocacy Matters

Guest post by Steve Carlson

A principal has many things to do—too many, in fact. This makes prioritizing crucial.
It can also mean that we also sometimes neglect things that just don’t have the urgency of a student crisis, a concerned parent, or a homecoming dance. But as I expand my personal learning network (PLN) I have increasingly come to realize that advocacy for education is something to which I needed to devote more energy. It’s important that we not only recognize the important work of principals but remember that advocacy—for our students and our schools—is part of that important work. (more…)

Goals for Communicating with Grieving Families

It’s estimated that one in 20 children will lose a parent by the time he or she reaches age 16, with the vast majority of children experiencing a significant loss by the time they complete high school. Because loss during childhood is an all-too-common and underaddressed issue in our nation’s schools, NASSP has joined nine other partners in creating the Coalition to Support Grieving Students.

School professionals have a vital role to play in providing support to grieving students and their families. It is important to reach out and make contact with families after a death, and the coalition aims to provide better bereavement resources for all members of school communities across the U.S. to encourage and empower them in their ongoing support of grieving students.

The coalition has created the following nine goals for school leaders communicating with grieving families: (more…)

Engaging Parents to Advance Higher Expectations | College Ready

Parents should know that Common Core State Standards are:

• High academic expectations for students in English language arts and mathematics;
• Internationally benchmarked expectations, similar to those in high-performing countries;
• Designed by teachers and other learning experts across the country;
• Informed by the most advanced and current thinking on what students should know and be able to do at each grade level;
• The result of a multi-state effort to prepare all children to succeed, especially students who by necessity move from one state to the next;
• Not curriculum or assessment. They are a clear set of learning expectations that local teachers and districts use to provide customized instruction that meets the needs of their students;
• Aligned with the development of 21st-century skills, which are necessary for success in college and the workplace.

Source: collegeready.gatesfoundation.org

Summer Learning Loss Statistics and Strategies to Reduce Impact

Did you know most students lose two months of knowledge in the summer? Find more statistics and how to promote summer learning in our guide.

Source: www.oxfordlearning.com

Beth Dichter’s insight:

The summer reading slump…as teachers we know that learners will lose skills if they do not use them during the summer. This article (which includes a lengthy infographic) shares statistics about what may happen over one summer (and also shares long- term consequences).

Did you know that a learner at the end of Grade 6 whom has experienced summer learning loss over the years may be 2 years behind their peers?

Or that 2.6 months of math skills are lost over the summer

(more…)

Most States Stay with Common Core w/ Diverse Political Responses

“You might be thinking that it has become hard to track just what states are doing with respect to reconsidering or taking a second look at the common core. Fortunately, Dan Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures has a handy map tracking reviews, executive orders, and other state actions with respect to the standards. Click here for the most recent version of that common-core map; a version of the map updated April 23 is below, with the key included:” (more…)

Vocabulary: Key Is Quality of Conversation, Not Number of Words

A seminal study on the early word gap between the children of college graduates and high school dropouts has led to more nuanced findings about language development.

Source: www.edweek.org

  • The researchers found that, on average, children from professional families heard more than 2,150 words an hour. Those in working-class families heard about 1,250 words. Children in families on welfare heard little more than 600 words an hour.
  • “It’s not just the word gap; it’s what you use language for,” said Barbara T. Bowman, a child-development professor and co-founder of the Chicago-based Erikson Institute.
  • Children of professionals also heard twice as many unique words, and twice as many “encouraging” versus “discouraging” conversations (“What did you think of that?” versus “Don’t touch that,” for example.) (more…)

Teacher Engagement Matters

While this study relates to business, it does apply directly to principals’ efforts to engage teachers in collaborative decision making.

“Engaged companies outperform their competition, Gallup finds. And when it comes to assessing their workforces’ engagement, those companies measure the right things in the right way.”

Collaborative leadership makes a huge difference in a number of key areas of school effectiveness: (more…)

Computer Troubles (Yet Again) Create Havoc on Testing Day in FL (State Test)

The state blames the vendor.

Students across Florida were supposed to spend Monday taking computer-based standardized exams — high school students, end-of-course tests; kids in Grades 5-10, the math portion of the new high-stakes Florida Standards Assessment.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

In some states, it is the vendor. In others, the problem is the state computers and servers. In some instances, the district is the problem. While in other situations, the school has the problem.

States, districts, and schools with more experience with online testing have fewer issues. (more…)

Principals Getting Into Classrooms

Getting Into Classrooms

  1. Block out time: I find that when I make the effort to block out time for observations, I can tell the urgent demands to wait until I am done with my observations. Perhaps even more importantly, if I share my plan with my secretary, she can hold at bay many of the urgent demands and sometimes solve them for me.
  2. Set a goal and announce in publicly: Just as a goal is a wish unless it is written down, when we share our goals with others, they can help us reach them. I have found that it is helpful to let my teachers know of my observation goal to visit their classroom every day and enlist their help in making it happen. If I know that a teacher is expecting me to be in his classroom that day, it is more likely that I will make every effort to be there. After all, I do not want to let the teacher down or show lack of professionalism or poor planning.
  3. Set up a routine: This helps me because I don’t have to think about a habit. (more…)