If principals build a school culture where their teachers can take risks, teachers will be more apt to have classrooms where risk taking is encouraged. Yesterday, most of the staff and students in our school district wore blue to Stomp Out Bullying. Students entered school with their homemade shirts while others just wore blue. It was a proud day when the K-12 buildings come together and everyone shows their support to end bullying. As Todd Whitaker always says, "It's people not programs." "There is extensive research that shows school climate having a profound impact on students' mental and physical health" (National...


A few years ago our school raised money for the Heifer Project. Though we had a two year goal, we raised the money in less than one year. We achieved our goal in less time because of a dedicated staff, hardworking students and very supportive parents. It didn't happen because of points on an evaluation. It didn't happen because someone told us we had to do it. The Heifer Project was an idea that a few staff members had and it was something they had never done before. Those staff members were not worried about failing or who was watching. ...


"If we visualize each student as a jar of potential, our responsibility is to take the lid off and point the jar in the right direction, not tighten the top so the highest level of creativity never gets out." Todd Whitaker Recently, I read an outstanding and very eloquent blog by Todd Whitaker. He wrote it for Smartblog on Education. The blog is entitled When We Get There Are We Going to Be Happy When We Arrived. Whitaker said, "I always tell my children that a follower will never cure cancer. And personally, I would like someone to come up ...


"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) recommends school climate reform as a data driven strategy that promotes healthy relationships, school connectedness, and dropout prevention" (Thapa et. al. 2012). According to the latest National School Climate Study (2012) "A growing number of State Depart¬ments of Education are focusing on school climate reform as an essential component of school improvement and/or bully prevention" (page. 2). Schools are often looking for quality ways to create a safe atmosphere for students. Using advisory groups is one way to promote a healthier and more nurturing school climate. Student advisory groups are ...


"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear...It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to." Marilyn Ferguson A few years ago, I stood in front of all of our fourth and fifth grade students in the school cafeteria and told them that I was allowing them to bring handheld games to school for inside recess when the weather does not allow us to go outside (Handheld Games in School). ...


When comparing the growth of a student from last year's test to the one they took this year (and keeping the same cut points) is like taking their time from running the mile on a rubberized track last year and expecting them to run the same time on a steeplechase track with a few water pits thrown in for a mile and a ¼ this year. About five years ago I was a member of a team of administrators who went through a training to understand the Value-Added Model. Although one of the days was during a snowstorm bad enough ...


Conferences are really great venues to get new ideas, share best practices and meet with colleagues from near or far. They are planned a year ahead of time and educators can plan ahead and choose from a menu of great presenters or workshops. Unfortunately, conferences can be very expensive although many of them are worth the money. • What can schools do to fill the void between great conferences? • How can schools substitute for the fact that they may not have the money to send teachers or administrators to conferences? • How can schools be innovative at a time when they...


"What started here as a traditional labor fight over pay, benefits and working conditions has exploded into a dramatic illustration of the national debate over how public school districts should rate teachers" (Rich. N.Y. Times). High stakes testing does not accurately measure a child's progress. Let me restate that...they accurately measure some children's progress but there are other students who will not do well on high stakes tests. That is not because there is something wrong with them or their teacher. It just means that there are children who are not test takers. Unfortunately, we are at risk ...


"Too often we leave our communication to monthly newsletters or school wide e-mails. There are many changes happening in education, so flipping the communication I have with parents offered me an opportunity to let them know what is going on." The flipped classroom model has been all the rage in schools. Teachers use it to create a more engaging classroom experience for their students. Some administrators have followed suit, or taken the lead, and flipped their faculty meetings (Flipped Faculty Meetings) to create a more engaging experience for their teachers. Too often classrooms are filled with lectures and faculty meetings ...


If we allow ourselves to...we can learn more from a bad situation than we can from the good ones. Bad situations force us to dig a little deeper, and reflect a little harder. After three years or more of some negative situations in education it's time to look at what we can learn from this. There must be something that we can do in our own practices to make things a bit more positive. We don't control the accountability coming at us, and we certainly don't control testing but we do have input into our daily interactions with students ...


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.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments