Can hear me now? How about now? Did my stream cut out? Or, more embarrassingly, did I forget to unmute myself? Today’s educators have taken on a task no other industry has accomplished. We completely changed our methods, our platforms, and our engagement from in-person to online in record time. (more…)
I’m trying to figure something out.
At the risk of admitting my age, I will disclose that when I was in middle school, the following were popular “first run” television shows: “The Brady Bunch,” “The Partridge Family,” “The 6 Million Dollar Man,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Happy Days,” and “Laverne and Shirley.” That was some great TV right there. The thing is, I watched an appalling amount of television when I was a kid. (more…)
You have to make 10 decisions before lunch, then after lunch you have 15 more to make before dinner.
Have you been there?
Educators frequently experience decision fatigue. There are literally hundreds of decisions that are made during a week, and decision fatigue is a real thing. (more…)
Two teachers at our school both have Kevin, a sixth grader, as a student in their class. Kevin went to one of the elementary schools that many of our kids attended. They know him. He’s registered and has a student ID number. His particulars, even his photo, are in the student management system. He’s been assigned to a sixth-grade middle school team of two teachers, Lauren and Bess. But Kevin has an illness that prevents him from coming to school for the present time. He’s going to get better, but he has yet to step foot in our school building. Consider how difficult that must be for this boy. (more…)
In today’s connected world, the importance of leveraging technology in education cannot be underestimated. Through the Digital Principals of the Year (DPOY) program, NASSP honors principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals. (more…)
We lead busy lives as administrators, with items getting added daily to our already busy to-do lists. How do we keep up? Why not use the power of technology to communicate with all stakeholders in an efficient, consistent manner? That is not to say that phone or face-to-face conversation should be replaced, nor should the letter home or the programs that give students a tangible certificate. However, immediate feedback is something that we teach our staff at Governor Livingston High School to employ in their classrooms, so let’s develop ways for school leaders to do the same in our buildings. (more…)
I can admit it now; I was probably the wrong man for the job.
As building principal, I knew that we needed to redesign and reinvent the space we called our library media center. We had a pretty obvious problem in there—students and teachers were not really using it. This large space situated in the center of our school had been remodeled several times—it used to be the library and before that it was actually the cafeteria. I added some fresh paint, new carpeting, new furniture, and bought some new books—popular young adult fiction and non-fiction. There were a handful of desktop computers and a SMART Board. Despite these superficial upgrades to the learning environment, it was still essentially a warehouse for a mostly-dated print collection and still largely unused. (more…)
Do you dread staff meetings as the principal? Does your staff audibly groan when you discuss policy changes or district minutia? Do you see your teachers watching the clock and counting down the minutes until they can leave? A few years ago, staff meetings at Harrisburg South Middle School were just this way, tedious gatherings that both the staff and I wished would just end as soon as possible. (more…)
With a career in education spanning over 23 years and 11 children of my own, I have come to respect and recognize that happiness is paramount in education. Unhappy high-achieving students have similar struggles to their unhappy underachieving peers as they navigate through life after high school. Yet happy children (and adults) are more productive, healthy and successful. They earn more money, live longer, get and stay married longer—and yes, achieve more. Educationalist and philosopher Nel Noddings sums up happiness best for me when she says, “Happy people are rarely mean, violent or cruel.” Let’s fill our schools (and homes) with opportunities for our students and adults to be happier and healthier. Here’s how we can use technology to maximize our efforts. (more…)
No one can deny the fact that we are seeing some pretty exciting changes in teaching, learning, and leadership. Advances in research, brain science, and technology are opening up new and better pathways to reach learners like never before. This excitement, in some cases, effects real change and has supporting evidence of improvement. In other cases, money is being dumped on the latest tool, program, idea, or professional development without ensuring that instructional design is up to par in the first place. Pedagogy trumps technology. It also goes without saying that a solid pedagogical foundation should be in place prior to implementing any innovative idea. (more…)