On the First Day of School

I love the first day of school; I have always loved the first day of school. Sure, I love the ritual of it all – and of course, the new school supplies – but I think what I really love is all the possibilities that come with each back-to-school beginning. Even more so than New Year’s Eve, I love that … Read More

Management by Exception

In many educational organizations, the management practices revolve around “management by exception?” When one or a handful of folks, do not abide by the guidelines of the organization, all are subsequently held to task. Here’s a perfect example. Schooltime for teachers begins at 7:20 am. A small group of teachers is commonly known to arrive late.  A mass communication goes … Read More

Thinking of Individual Education Plans as Personal Learning Plans in a Competency Based Education System.

Competency-based education lends educators to think of terms like mastery, exceeding, and rigor.  These terms are not just synonymous with Advanced Placement courses and honors programs.  Within a competency-based system, all students can be masters of content and exceed competency standards.  This is especially true for students with learning differences.  Developing a personalized learning plan for students within a competency-based … Read More

Providing Hope to Students Through CBE & Developmental Relationships

The past few years in education have proven to be difficult. Many educators and administrators will tell you that the past two years have been some of the most challenging years of teaching and leading. Remote learning widened an already wide gap between students. While many students were safe, fed, and as focused on school as much as they could … Read More

What Business Are We In?

In 1975, Theodore Levitt wrote a piece in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Marketing Myopia.”  In it he discussed the plight of the U.S. railroad industry’s decline over time.  The finding was not that the needs for the rail system had diminished.  The railroad companies viewed their essential purpose as moving goods across the country instead of overall transportation—that included … Read More

A Challenge and a Mystery: A Moment of Reflection

This is the home stretch, Team; count downs to summer are in full effect. Testing windows are closing. End of year events are starting to appear on (and in some cases, take over!) the calendar. Just the other day, we got the first email about what needs to be packed up for the summer, and the weather is finally saying, … Read More

Opening Doors

I remember the first time I participated in Instructional Rounds.  At that time, I was a middle school English teacher, and I had ALL SORTS of reasons why I should not be taken from my classroom to go watch other teachers teach. I had my own classes to teach!  And 7 of us were going to cram into another teacher’s … Read More

Fences That Free

     It was 1948.  Willy Mays, an all-star major league outfielder and batter of all time, first played for the Chattanooga Choo Choos in the negro league.  Many ballparks back then had outfield areas with no fence to delimit or define left, center, or right field.  The real estate went on and on.  Willy hit a ball one day that … Read More

Purpose of Learning

ISN’T IT INTERESTING…… …that the gap between what cognitive science is learning and what schools are doing is getting wider and wider. The reality of education today challenges us to rethink our focus.  The solution for meeting the needs of our learners is not algorithmic, following a set path for all students to follow.  It is in fact heuristic, breaking … Read More

Collaborative Conversations and the Intentional Magic of Protocols

Recently, 21 of our teachers came together to experience a day and a half training on using different protocols to look at student work, receive feedback on unit plans and solve dilemmas. Though not an official Critical Friends Group training, we were able to practice a variety of the School Reform Initiative protocols (which are all free!) with the guidance … Read More