Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 15:24 Monday, 20 May 2013 09:52
We have kids now who join us each year in kindergarten who suffer from the 50 million word gap. Students who have not heard rich language in the home and have received more admonishments than positive affirmations. These kids start kindergarten behind their peers in oral language development. Can you imagine how many more kids we are going to get in our schools lacking in oral language development now that the cell phone goes with us wherever we go? It used to be that we worried about the amount of television that kids watched. I have seen many of these cell phones become baby sitters and believe that Ipads and/or other tablet devices are the next vocabulary development deadener for young children.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 09:48 Monday, 20 May 2013 09:39
As I mentioned a month ago, I am providing a series of columns about issues related to the end of the school year:
- Assessments to use to determine progress with issues of school culture
- Conversations as part of final evaluation conferences in the spring
- Looking ahead to the new school year
This week, I want to focus on the concept of professional learning community. For more than a decade, the DuFours and their colleagues have provided us with strong guidance, instruction and ongoing support for building and sustaining learning communities in our schools. As most of us know, the three big ideas of a professional learning community are:
- Clarity of Purpose
- Collaborative Culture
- Focus on Results
Schools vary in their processes of building and sustaining collaborative work through late-arrival sessions, early-release sessions, common planning periods, and other creative scheduling options. Some school faculties have a strong commitment to working in collaborative teams but need more time to do so while others have time structures in place but are far from a shared commitment about working collaboratively. Still, other faculties have both allocated time for collaborative work and a commitment to work collaboratively, but lack the skills to truly work in collaborative teams.
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 14:27 Friday, 10 May 2013 14:06
Dr. Mark D. Reckase , metrics expert and member of the MCEE, shared his perspective with us this week and gave us a hint as to the committee’s final recommendation for an evaluation tool. In the past we believed that teachers could be evaluated by the amount their students learned. It is not that simple. As Dr. Reckase points out, students also learn outside of the classroom from parents, friends and their environment. They learn language skills from family members but not as much mathematics. So how much credit does the teacher receive for a child’s learning knowing that there are multiple factors that determine the quantity and quality of student learning? A teacher with lots of resources, highly capable and motivated students gets the high grade?
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2013 08:37 Monday, 13 May 2013 08:14
I have been working HARD on writing good columns this year, all about school culture, evaluation of teacher performance and student learning, improvement plans…..and the column which has received the most attention was last week’s column on stress reduction! A sign of our times, it seems.
As I begin my final four columns, I return to ways to think about the upcoming school year. As one of our wonderful Leadership Matters participants mentioned last summer: “Every new school year provides me with a ‘do-over’!” Several weeks ago, we talked about school culture and I provided you with a School Culture Audit and another strategy for reflecting on this year’s culture and how to look ahead to further develop the culture you and your stakeholders envision.
This week, I am going to build on some ideas provided in the attached article which will be very useful to those of you who will lead “new” schools in the fall: “Starting Confused: Where Leaders Start When They Don’t Know Where to Start” (Jentz, B. Kappan. 2005).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 13:36 Wednesday, 08 May 2013 13:31
Outside of school, students’ lives often revolve around technology. Inside the classroom, however, many students face a tech-free world and outdated resources. Using digital tools in the classroom lets students engage with materials, information, and their peers in ways that are fun and natural to them. As a result, students are more motivated to learn and take more responsibility for their learning, which improves achievement.
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