"To get anywhere you have to build relationships with many different people-people who disagree with you, the skeptical and cynical. If you are to have any chance of progressing, you have to have enough empathy for their situation so that you can relate to them." Michael Fullan (The Moral Imperative Realized. P.6) Educators will tell you that teamwork is vitally important to moving forward, especially during our present times in education. Without a team teaching, building or district leadership can feel very lonely. The problem is that a team dynamic can create problems when trying to confront an issue. ...


"The old image of a teacher is one where they keep their lesson plan books at the end of the school year and do not take the time and effort to change their lessons year after year." Have you ever woken up and just wanted to do something different? As an educator, do you long to do one thing new in your instructional practice with students? The old image of a teacher is one where they keep their lesson plan books at the end of the school year and do not take the time and effort to change their lessons ...


New textbooks that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards...check. Professional Development so teachers understand the Common Core...check. New state mandated teacher and administrator evaluation tools...check. Regional training to become certified evaluators...check. An increase in the amount of testing in schools...check. Cost of achievement...priceless. There is an old saying about shared decision making, which is that in most cases, it doesn't work. That is unless the committee shares in the decision of the person leading the committee. I'm not sure if I am completely on board with that logic but I do see ...


If you have ever stood in a school cafeteria during lunchtime you understand that many of our students are eating unhealthy lunches. The unhealthy lunches are not just the ones they bring from home; some schools are responsible for serving food that is high in fat and sugar to students. In addition, the portions that students eat are too big. Too often, America believes in super sizing many of their meals. As much as eating small snacks throughout the day is considered a healthy alternative to three square meals a day, it will not help students if all of those ...


"If school leadership were a true/false test, we could raise our scores by looking over the shoulder of an unsuccessful principal and choosing the opposite answer to each question." Todd Whitaker The other night I sat in a conference room with about 50 other educational leaders from the building and district level. We were together for a cohort dinner for the Sage College Doctoral Program. Every year those of us who graduated from the program get together to welcome the new cohort coming in. This year, the Deputy Commissioner of Assessment in New York State was the guest speaker, ...


Some educators have internet-phobia. Even worse, some have computer-phobias. After all, clouds disappear, networks go down and files get lost. The internet isn't as secure as the filing cabinet in the classroom and there is less of a chance of a hacker breaking into a manila folder or a briefcase. However, in these days of instant access 24/7, isn't it worthwhile for educators to try to get on the internet and join the 21st century? There are people who enjoy writing notes in a notebook or bringing their personal calendar along so they can literally write in dates. Typing ...


"I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." George Bernard Shaw What if college wasn't an option? What if you soured academically though your secondary education but knew that you could not further your education anymore because of money? In ...


"In a world dominated by images and video, the ability to see through propaganda and understand the ever-present slick marketing messages, is critically important. By some estimates, we are exposed to an average of 3,000 media messages everyday. Everyone, it seems, is out to sell us something. Today's young people, exposed to thousands of media messages, don't think critically about their media habits or consumption. They tend to believe everything they see, read, and hear. If it's on television, or the Web, then (they've concluded) it must be true. Media illiteracy is rampant." Frank Baker Do we really believe ...


A friend of mine was on the train from N.Y.C. to Poughkeepsie and watched as a few young children began jumping around the seats and doing pull-ups on the luggage bars. As much as most adults would prevent their children from doing these activities in the first place, these children were fortunate enough to have parents and relatives who cheered them on. Apparently they must be training for the Cirque du Soleil. Some passengers on the train stared in disbelief and others tried to ignore the spectacle. Using her 21st century skills, my friend posted a comment about ...


Have you ever read a story and wondered if it was accurate? When doing research, do you not only read your primary sources but also dig down a little deeper and read the sources they used? Do you take it a step further and look for arguments that give the other side of the story? In these days of 24/7 media we are hit with so much information that I often wonder if it is true. I don't mean to sound like a pessimist, but there is no way that all the information that is present in our world ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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