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…)
Remember when student learning took place in a one-room school (think “Little House on the Prairie”)? There was a time when all students were together—learning in one culture and one environment.
But as communities got bigger, we started separating students by developmental stages. As a result, students now have to transition from school to school—experiencing different cultures and curriculums each time. And there is no doubt that those transitions can be difficult. (more…)
In education, we rarely achieve success on our own. In fact, as school leaders, we do our best work when we share our goals and empower those around us to get there. (more…)
Guest post by Bill Coon, Ed.D.
You enter a social studies classroom and are immediately greeted by a student who welcomes you and introduces himself. The student explains the learning target, or the tangible learning goal he or she can understand and work towards, and then he explains the Habits of Scholarship, or character, target. He shares that today’s Habit of Scholarship is, “I can work collaboratively with my peers to draft a thesis statement for an essay about Peter the Great.” The student invites you to sit down and enjoy the class. After you sit down at a table with three other students, the students unpack the learning targets together and then break into small groups to begin their work for the day. As an observer, you begin to see multiple examples of collaboration in each group.