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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…)

Want Reform? Principals Matter, Too

Teachers can’t do it all. The question of who leads a school is crucial.

Principals Said To Play Key Role In School Improvement.

Will Miller, president of the Wallace Foundation, writes in an op-ed in the New York Times (4/17, Subscription Publication) on the importance of principals for improving schools. He argues the need for getting great principals into “the schools that need them most — those with poor and minority students.” He also cites a study “covering 180 schools in nine states,” by “researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto” concluding, “We have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership.” He argues that this means there should be much greater investment in training and development for principals.

Source: www.nytimes.com

The Principal-Counselor Relationship

Principal-counselor relationships are critical to student success.

“We hope that by sharing the results of our research – which we have undertaken in collaboration with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) – we can inspire principals, counselors and other educators to examine the principal-counselor relationships in their own schools. This can help them determine how they might be able to work together effectively to improve the educational outcomes for all students.”

Source: nosca.collegeboard.org

New Brain Science Shows Brain Differences Between Poor and Affluent Kids

Research adds to the debate about the growing academic gap between poor and rich students.

The Washington Post (4/16, Layton) reports that neuroscientists have showed in a new study that the cerebral cortexes of affluent children are larger than those of their poorer counterparts. Theories posited by Noble and another scientist studying the matter include that poorer families lack the nutrition and healthcare needed to develop the brain and that poorer children undergo more stressful lives, which may “inhibit healthy brain development.” University College London psychologist James Thompson is paraphrased positing that intelligence has “a genetic component” and that less able, poorer families pass on their genes. The research and its implications are timely, as policymakers such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan seek to direct funding to promoting better education, especially in early education.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Literacy Lessons Learned – YouTube

Published on Apr 9, 2015

Literacy is the most important—and perhaps most difficult—initiative to implement in a secondary school. Yet new, more rigorous state standards view literacy as a shared responsibility across all disciplines. This makes implementing a schoolwide literacy movement even more critical.

Source: www.youtube.com

Principals Work with the Team They Are Given: 5 Musts

So why must leaders accept the team they are given?

The answer is simple: most of our teams are filled with people who care and want to do a good job. Presumably they were hired for their strong skills and may be having a difficult time navigating the different personalities on the team or tackling the more challenging assignments. Although the team may resemble the “island of the misfit toys”, it is not hopeless.

I work with imperfect teams all the time- some more imperfect than others. Some teams possess better managers and some teams have true leaders. Regardless, it is helpful to reframe our perspective a bit and instead of looking at imperfection as a pure negative, see imperfection as an opportunity to lead a change.

So why must leaders accept the team they are given? (more…)