Guest post by John Clements
I am an optimist about the future of schools and learning. My unwavering hope as an educational leader springs from the expanding definition of what it means to be a successful school. For decades, perhaps since the foreboding message of “A Nation at Risk,” educators have equated success with one word: achievement. While the lens of student achievement may provide a well-intentioned view of school, it clouds the vision of schools as places that engage, empower, and inspire students. Achievement ignores the inherently aspirational aspects of learning.
Ask any mom or dad what type of schooling they want for their child and you’re likely to hear about (more…)
Guest post by Amber Schroering and Jim Snapp
In our post last week, we introduced you to The Brownsburg Way, the approach our district—the Brownsburg Community School Corporation (BCSC) in Central Indiana—uses to deliver consistent and high academic results year after year. We discussed how our narrow teaching and learning focus contributes to our achievement. Of course, curriculum and instructional programing aren’t the only factors. Without our stellar educators, none of our success would be possible. So how do we support our teachers so that they do their very best? (more…)
Guest post by Amber Schroering and Jim Snapp
The Brownsburg Community School Corporation (BCSC) in Central Indiana has a long history of academic excellence. For many years, BCSC has topped the state rankings for academic excellence in all of the areas of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP). Dozens of schools and school corporations visit our district each year to learn how “The Brownsburg Way” results in exemplary student achievement. They always ask what we do to get consistently high results.
One of the reasons we are successful is (more…)
Guest post by Deborah Moya
What makes ABQ Charter Academy (ABQCA) different from any traditional high school or charter school? I believe our mission statement says it all: “The mission of ABQ Charter Academy is to redefine the high school experience.” Many of our scholars have had very negative experiences in traditional high schools. They seek to find a place where they belong, and we offer an environment that is centered on each individual scholar and their unique differences. (more…)
Guest post by Nathan Boyd
One of the most important lessons I have learned as a school principal is that children need to be in a relaxed state of mind in order to perform at their full potential. If students’ physical and emotional needs are not being met, their minds will not be ready to engage. Sounds obvious, right? Actually, creating the right conditions for students to learn is one of the biggest challenges for us as educators, because so many factors are beyond our immediate control. (more…)
Guest post by Melissa King-Knowles
When I was a teacher, I started using feedback looping processes to survey my high school students about particular units and methods of assessment. I asked what they liked and didn’t like and sought input on my teaching practice. With their brutal (ahem, I mean beautiful) honesty, students brought me to my knees on a couple of occasions. (more…)
Guest post by Angela K. Doll
A parent request for hourly behavior updates.
A student sent to the office for repeatedly trying to staple himself to his chair.
A community member’s plan to improve the school by eliminating all technology. (more…)
Guest post by David Johns
Numerous tools exist to help Professional Learning Communities (PLC) grow. There are checklists to ensure that the right roles are assigned. There are accountability documents to ensure that teams meet on time and in a common location. There are even the four timeless guiding questions from Rick DuFour to keep PLCs focused on the work of improving achievement. So why then do most PLC conversations stall out once we’ve looked at student work? Why don’t we turn our attention to actions we need to take as educators to address what we see? (more…)
Having attended National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) annual conferences nearly every year since 1979, I can easily attest to the adaptive nature of our national organization to provide quality sessions that present innovative approaches, inspiring speakers, and valuable opportunities to network with diverse colleagues facing similar and different challenges. (more…)
Guest post by Melissa D. Hensley
Throughout my tenure as a middle and high school principal, the consistent request from teachers has been for ongoing, non-evaluative feedback about their pedagogical practices. Early in my career, this meant completing classroom walkthroughs, collecting data about instructional strategies, and offering recommendations. Providing this general feedback took a lot of time and often failed to improve instruction. I wondered, how could I help teachers get the ongoing feedback they wanted in a more efficient and effective way? (more…)