by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership I've been trying a few different methods for doing walkthroughs and giving feedback to teachers using my iPad. I used a paper log and paper notes for feedback in previous years, but now that I have an iPad, it's time to go paperless. I've tried a few different solutions for organizing walkthroughs and giving feedback via iPad, and here's what I've come up with. Trial and Error Chris Lehmann developed a great form using Google Spreadsheets, which I tried and found very easy to use (for entering feedback, at least). You create a form and enter ...


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership Yesterday I spent the day at another elementary school in my district as part of our district's Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for principals. The five of us spent the morning identifying a problem of practice and visiting classrooms, and spent the afternoon debriefing and identifying implications for our work. It's always stimulating to talk with other principals and learn how they lead their schools. I got great ideas for what I could do in my school. At the end of the day, though, I was exhausted by possibility. There is so much I could be doing, ...


As an administrator of a K-8 school, one of many responsibilities is to measure and report student progress to the larger community and particularly to the parents. I am not referring here to high stakes testing but to the individual learning taking place with individual students. Seeking answers to the following question form a central part of my work each day. “How are students learning? What are students learning? How do we know that they are learning?” Over the last two or three years, the question of assessments and grades has been a critical piece of my personal reflection and ...


Seattle Principal Justin Baeder argues that the teacher and principal evaluation process doesn't have to be perfunctory, and is more productive when it focuses on rigor, relevance, relationships, and results.


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, a bevy of urban superintendents (including Klein, Rhee, and Huberman of NYC, DC, and Chicago, respectively) offer their manifesto on "How to Fix Our Schools." Puzzlingly, rather than celebrate their accomplishments and boldly commit to the next steps in their ambitious agendas for change, they promote charter schools and technology-based learning as promising solutions to America's education woes. Not only does the editorial obfuscate the superintendents' actual plans for improving their districts; it tosses red herrings in front of a national audience hungry for tough talk about education ...


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership In his recent post on Reality Check, Walt Gardner rightly points out that accountability for teachers must be matched or exceeded by accountability for principals: Unless principals are blatantly incompetent, they tend to remain in their jobs. Nevertheless, principals can be evaluated using multiple measures. The most obvious is the progress that their students make on standardized tests from year to year. They can also be assessed by their own faculty. Every year, United Teachers of Los Angeles uses principal surveys for this purpose. Parents can be included in these surveys. Finally, the ratings of those ...


With a whirlwind of action greeting me at the door, I entered the classroom unsure of what I was getting myself into with these scientists. Within moments of being in the room, the learner-centered feel of the room became clear as the students engaged deeply with their explorations into the world of material science. Nearly an hour later, I left spinning with excitement about the energy, engagement, and learning that was taking place in the classroom. I left excited about how empowered the students were with their explorations and how connected they were to their peers. I left reminded of ...


by Justin Baeder | @eduleadership We have long believed that there is a link between school leadership and student performance; many studies (such as those conducted by Kenneth Leithwood) have explored this relationship and have found principals to be second only to teachers in their impact on student learning. Schools are provided with principals with six-figure price tags on the basis of the logic that schools need instructional leaders in order to have a positive impact on student achievement. Indeed, virtually every discussion of the role of the principal in recent decades has centered around instructional leadership. What's surprising, though, is ...


October is National Arts & Humanities Month. With the push in our country for greater accountability (i.e. higher test scores) and an emphasis on STEM education, too frequently the arts get short shrift. At best, they suffer from reduced funding for supplies and materials. At worst, they are cut completely from our schools. Keep Arts in Schools (http://keepartsinschools.org), one of the many online resources for arts education advocates, provides educators, parents, and community members with research on the impact of arts education and toolkits for advocating for arts education in our schools. Administrators and educational leaders are in ...


Therefore, we would like to discuss the possibility of including something in the coursework for the teacher and administrators' college curriculum... something we like to call: "Reality Check: What your role as teacher or administration REALLY looks like!"


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