Principal Difference

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…)

Your New Budget Workout—Don’t Forget to Stretch!

Guest post by Justin Barbeau, Director of Technical Assistance, Building Assets, Reducing Risks i3 Project; former Minnesota high school teacher

As next year’s school budgets turn over, administrators start the annual “new budget workout”: the challenge to maintain current programming and support services for students and their families. In order to balance the new budget, district and building leaders must do some heavy lifting, often making difficult curriculum, staffing and student support service decisions.

These decisions are based on: 1) reallocating existing funds or 2) tapping new “outside” funds. With diminishing opportunities for the latter, a school’s ability to stretch existing funds takes on ever increasing significance and scrutiny.

Administrators now need to leverage student performance data to calculate ROI, identify specific areas of inefficiency, and immediately act to make effective structural and procedural improvements.

With the administrators I work with, I specifically talk about the cost of student failures. (more…)

Poverty: A Reason NOT An Excuse

Top teachers say that poverty is the most important barrier facing them in their classrooms. Reformers insist that those teachers are merely making excuses for poor achievement of low-income students.

Having worked in and with many high-poverty schools I am, on the one hand, discouraged by the current fad du jour of ignoring poverty as a detractor, and on the other hand, inspired by the fact that I know that, if schools do the right things, the right way, long enough, their students can achieve at high levels. Every day, we learn that more and more schools are beating the odds.

While the mantra of education reformers continues to be ‘No excuses, because poverty is not destiny,’ researchers and practitioners know that “socio-economic circumstance matters to education outcomes.”

Blaming Only Hurts Those Most In Need (more…)

Principals and Online Testing – Part II

Note: This is the second of a two-part post on the challenges faced by principals implementing online testing tied to the Common Core and new college- and career-ready standards. So much has happened in recent weeks that I divided the entry into two parts because one post would not do justice to the topic.

GetItRight.jpg

In part 1, I described that with the spring testing season now winding down, principals in a number of states feel as though they are under siege. For some schools, whatever could go wrong has gone wrong.

From my contact with principals in a number of states and my ongoing work with principals in schools in five states, I have learned that online assessments present principals with a number of new and old challenges.

I divided this post into two parts. Part 1 addressed no-technical challenges principals face in implementing the new assessments. This entry will address the technical issues.

(more…)

Principals and Online Testing – Part I

Note: I intended that this blog entry would focus only on the technical side of online testing, but so much has happened in recent weeks that I would not do justice to the topic if I ignored the context in which the new, online testing occurs.

WiGetItRight.jpgth the spring testing season now winding down, principals in a number of states feel as though they are under siege. For some schools, whatever could go wrong has gone wrong.

From my contact with principals in a number of states and my ongoing work with principals in schools in five states, I have learned that online assessments present principals with a number of new and old challenges.

I have divided this post into two parts. Part 1 will address no-technical challenges principals face in implementing the new assessments. Part 2 will address the technical issues.

(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…)