Category: Education

2020 is an opportunity for schools to re-explore their relationship to digital citizenship. The growing erosion of our privacy as well as our amplified cohabitation with Artificial Intelligence (AI) present…

Read More Digital Citizenship to Digital Fluency

Teacher as compass: Teachers provide the true north, and help students find a worthy course… one that will challenge their skills on the open learning seas.

Read More Teacher as compass

One of my favourite quotes is: “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” from D.L.Moody. Our character is very much defined by our…

Read More Putting values first in education

The degree to which school leaders are involved in actual teaching practice varies considerably between schools, which brings us to the question: Should school leaders teach more? To clarify for…

Read More Should school leaders teach more?

This past school year I accepted the #500c challenge (thank you @eduleadership!): visit 500 classrooms over the course of the school year. In making visits part of my daily routine,…

Read More Classroom Visits #500c

Every year has its moments, and 2016 was no exception. Various significant shifts occurred, including changes in the political landscape in the United States, United Kingdom, and Turkey. And the…

Read More If we forget to look out of the window.

A colleague of mine and her Kindergartners were busy exploring where an egg comes from. “Was it born like a baby? Does it grow on its own? Where do they…

Read More Hal is in the house

There is no question that educational leaders today deal with a relentless stream of competing demands, requiring them to work at a rapid pace, shifting quickly from one task to…

Read More How to Get Valuable Feedback

I am late to the party on this one, but I’ve finally realized it: testing IS the answer! My favorite NFL football team has not won a Super Bowl in…

Read More Testing IS the Answer

Spring time is not only busy as we finish out the school year, but also it is often a busy time for hiring new teachers or staff.
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Even with the pending cuts in state funding, we were excited to be able to fill a couple of openings for the coming school year.

As I’ve looked for strong candidates this spring, I’ve kept in mind some lessons I learned from Jimmy Casas earlier this year (see previous post on Tips for Hiring for Excellence). Jimmy’s advice has been spot on with tips on reaching out to candidates ahead of time, having multiple conversations, and rallying around a common vision.

If I could add anything to Jimmy’s suggestions, it would be some feedback I received from a candidate today. Read More 5 Steps for using YouTube in Hiring

Think of what Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon services and products you use daily. How much are they a vehicle for communications, work, social life, purchases and tasks? How often…

Read More Living in a GAFA world.

When Education Week did a survey a few years ago, principals were asked about the biggest frustrations of their jobs. At the top of the list was the response: “Mandates without Money.”
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If you’ve been in education for a few years or a very long time, you can relate to that concern. In fact, this year the federal government produced 81,611 pages in new regulations.

In my state, for example, high schools are mandated to teach personal finance, CPR instruction, test students in 7 end-of-instruction exams, and remediate students who don’t pass them–to name a few.

From the federal level, we are also expected to enforce NCLB regulations until they are replaced with new ESSA regulations (once they are finalized). And we are inundated with infinitely-growing pages of documents and guidelines surrounding federal regulations for children with medical or learning difficulties.

So with the consistent frustrations that surround unfunded mandates, how do you structure your priorities so that you can serve students and support teachers while still fulfilling these imposed expectations?

Here are four suggestions for keeping mandates in perspective:
Read More What Do You Do With All the Mandates?

One day when I was a young teacher, I was shopping at a local grocery when I saw a very large man talking to a teenage girl down the aisle from where I was standing.

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A story of courageous choice

I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he was moving his hands aggressively, and she was backed against the shelves behind her.

I did what I believe most teachers would do: I walked over and asked what was happening.

“Butt out,” the man told me. He was at least a foot taller than I and outweighed me by at least 50 pounds.

I turned my attention to the girl. She was wearing a worker’s uniform. “Are you frightened?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “He’s married to my mother, but he’s not supposed to have contact with me. I’m just trying to get to work.”

“This is none of your damn business,” the man said stepping between us. Read More Making the Courageous Choice

The other day I was presenting to a small group of teachers and assistant principals on the many hats school leaders wear.
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As I was closing, I asked them to look at me. Everyone fixed his or her eyes on my own, and suddenly I was overwhelmed.

I wanted to tell them how much our schools need their leadership…how much our students need men and women who are passionate, caring, determined, courageous, and committed…how we can’t do this without them.

But all I could get out was, “We need you.” And then I was too choked up to continue. Read More Dear Educators, We Still Need You!