Recently, a friend, who serves as principal of a middle school, had a valued team member resign to pursue another interest. This colleague is incredibly talented, he thought she was happy, using her talents to her fullest, and aligned with my friend's organizational mission. Her resignation came as a surprise, although he says he might have seen warning signs. Her leaving caused him to think again about his school's talent retention strategy. One study (T&D magazine, December 2007) suggests that 75% of managers are unaware of their organization's talent retention strategy (No-55%, Unsure 20%, Yes 25%). It's not just ...


Nothing has promised so much and has been so frustrating wasteful for teachers and leaders as the thousands of workshops and conferences that led to no significant change in practice. -Michael Fullen- Great teachers help create great students, agreed? In fact, research shows that an inspiring and informed teacher is the single most important school-related factor influencing student achievement. So, what helps teachers become great? What equips them in helping students reach their highest potential? The easy to say professional development,but unfortunately we have all experienced what Micheal Fullen is speaking of. When I think of my own teaching ...


Recently a colleague posted a link to an article from the denverrpost.com, a Colorado newspaper site. The headline reads “Adams 50 skips grades, lets kids be pacesetters.” The concept is pretty straight forward but its underlying model and the actual implementation of the program require us to really stretch our thinking about teaching, learning and school itself. The concept is to do away with age as a determining factor in school placement, teach to the standards and use student mastery levels rather than traditional grades to determine placement. I hope you will take time to read the whole article...


(Cross-posted at Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?) I stand in the same place every day between every class. I see hundreds of kids file past me four times a day and I never thought they even noticed or cared. I say "hi" to kids who make eye contact with me and I smile a lot. I joke with kids who bump into me while they perform the dangerous "walk and text" maneuver. But overall, I doubt many of them even know who I am. Shortly before the holidays, I was having one of those stressful days where it seemed ...


I’ve often been asked how I can deal with a student a number of times without allowing what has gone on in the past affect each new encounter. Along the same lines, I sometimes have people tell me that they don’t want to disclose a student’s name for fear of repercussions that might take place because of what is being said. Both of these situations, and many others, came to mind when I was reading the entry over at principalspage. Now, the discussion that takes place there is somewhat tongue-in-cheek but it did resonate with me since ...


On January 2, 2009, I challenged readers to consider what happens to our students when you test them in a language that is not their native language, and then pass judgment on them and on their teachers based on the predictable results! I invited readers to take a quiz and to not be discouraged by the fact that the quiz is in a foreign language. This issue is huge. It has less to do with test scores and more to do with how we are preparing our children to compete globally. Or not. (Check out who is about to become ...


When I started my educational career in the 1970's, I didn't really think much about what was next in my life. Everything just kind of snowballed along; and now it's 2009, and I spend quite a bit of time planning the next phase of my life... the finishing of my educational career in a couple of years or so. It seems that education has always been in some kind of mess since I began my mostly urban career. I have always been working at the impossible and loving it. I have enjoyed blazing my own path to most answers I ...


Definition: ” a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system.” Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006. Dysfunction? * When it becomes normal to attend meetings and pretend to go along with the flow and then leave the meeting and complain about it or the people who attended… and/or undermine the decisions that were made…it’s dysfunction. * When it becomes commonplace to pretend to trust each other and at the same time secretly solicit information and opinions from others because...


Time is a very important commodity, and there is never enough of it in the day. I could use more time at school visiting classrooms, talking with students, working with teachers, and meeting with parents. I could use more time at home, too. I would like more time to play with my kids, fix and clean up around the house, and of course, I would like more quiet time with my wife. As the end of 2008 was approaching, I began to reflect on my reasons for spending time blogging. This reflection started as a result of my launching a ...


We all probably have New Year resolutions that are personal and that we try to keep up. However, what is your New Year's resolution in your professional life? More importantly, how are you insuring that you keep it? Please comment so everyone can see what great things that people are trying to do in their school district. I will raise the proverbial glass to all in the hopes that we are all successful in our resolutions. Happy New Year! James Yap...


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