How parent-friendly is your campus? When I worked on a campus as a teacher and later as an administrator, I was always aware of the fact that each campus usually had some parking area reserved for parents and/or visitors to the campus. Faculty and staff were not allowed to park there. I helped plan parent engagement activities and was involved in making decisions about which rooms would be hospitality rooms, meeting rooms, etc. and where signs should be posted to help direct parents and visitors around the campus. I also had the opportunity to work for and with a ...


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership Diane Ravitch, whom I follow closely on Twitter and who blogs regularly at EdWeek's Bridging Differences, regularly comments on the role of Race to the Top and related legislation on the state of teacher compensation. She has become an outspoken critic of merit pay schemes: I appreciate Diane's advocacy on behalf of teachers, but it appears that merit pay is coming whether educators like it or not. One way or another, compensation will be linked to measures of job performance for an increasing number of educators. Given the current level of interest in and funding for ...


Proposing to create more flexible schedules in high schools.


Raise your hand if you spent time exploring, challenging, refining, and enhancing your professional practice today? Now, raise your other hand if that professional learning took place in a collaborative context with other professionals? Is your hand raised high or "tied" behind your back? I’m not a reform expert, but if all educators are not raising their hands almost each and every day when asked, the talk about school change and 21st Century learning environments is lost to the reality that the professionals that make up educations are not professional learners and practitioners. They are simply rooted managers and ...


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership If you can bring about rapid, radical change to accomplish something important, go ahead - why not? We need bold experimentation and exploration. We need people to try things no one else is doing in education. I'm a big fan of pilot projects and trying new ideas, but we can't rest only on bold new ideas as our reform strategy. Why? The opportunities for radical change are fairly limited. In other words, radical doesn't scale. A bold reform may make headlines in one district, but it won't even be allowed on the table in others. In ...


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership We had a surprise on Saturday - our baby girl arrived nearly 5 weeks early and was breech, so we had to have an emergency C-section. The baby is in NICU right now and making steady progress. We're in one of the best hospitals on earth in which to have a baby, and I feel profoundly grateful for the care we're receiving. We'll be here for a while, and for a hospital, it's not a bad place to be. While we're here, there's plenty of waiting to do, and I can't help but draw some lessons ...


Last month we wrote about teacher preparation and what colleges may consider doing in an effort to better prepare teachers for the workforce. This blog entry examines options for districts to explore through an explanation of the orientation that takes place in our district.


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership I'm convinced that we need a little bit of firing in public education. Some principals, teachers, and other educators simply aren't cutting it, and are harming kids as a result. Some of us need to be fired. Not too many - just some. But what role should firing play in improving education, and how should we go about it? Results Now...Or Else A popular, yet still entirely theoretical, strategy for improving public education in America is to simply make it clear what results people are to achieve, and fire them if they fail to achieve ...


While on the plane from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) airport to Raleigh last month, I got the chance to sit next to Steve, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army. We talked about children, sports, and rivalry between UNC and Duke in basketball and how it compares with Texas and Texas A&M in football. I asked him after a bit to share a piece of wisdom that he had learned in working with the young enlisted men and women. He thought for half a second, then mentioned, "The biggest piece of wisdom I got in terms of working ...


Last month I wrote the article, All Systems Go, about how spelling out rituals, routines, and clear expectations for student conduct during the school day leads to a safer, more productive learning environment for all. I explained how empowering teachers to be the guiding force behind the change in school culture would lead to fewer behavior problems in the classroom, and hopefully, to the greater goal of improved student achievement. I also expressed how the systems were working well, and that the order created by the scripted expectations for conduct on behalf of the teachers and the students have been ...


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