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 ...


"Daily 5 takes the students from where they are in relation to their ability to be independent, and teaches them to become intrinsically motivated as they build stamina." Gail Boushey Sharing best practices is one of the most important components of any inservice or professional development session. Teachers are the experts in their field and sharing best practices allows them to bring their most creative and innovative teaching ideas to a venue where they can share with colleagues. Sometimes, teachers learn their most useful ideas from their colleagues. Five years ago I taught an inservice in the Averill Park Central ...


"Approaches based on lecturing by teachers, passive reading of textbooks, and "fill-in-the-blank" worksheets keep students from making decisions, from becoming actively involved in their learning, and from learning how to think and communicate effectively." Bob Peterson We are at risk of losing what is important about education. With new mandates and accountability, there is a risk that some of those student-centered experiences may disappear. Some state education departments are making things pretty hard these days but we are bigger and better than the state. We need to step back and take a breath and focus on what is really important. ...


Principals set the tone every day and the flipped model could represent a symbolic way of telling adults that we still have to be innovative, and it's really hard for a principal to preach innovation if they aren't using it in the venues they lead. Faculty meetings are as good or as bad as we want them to be. Some faculty meetings can be a time when there are great discussions about education and we feel as though we are a part of inspirational moments that we would only find in the Dead Poet's Society. Other times they are an ...


"The term Feedback is often used to describe all kinds of comments made after the fact, including advice, praise, and evaluation. But none of these are feedback, strictly speaking." Grant Wiggins As educators there are two types of impressions we can leave on our students. One is that we leave a positive impression and they remember us fondly as they move through life. The other is a negative impression, and those memories of us are not very fond at all. Both of those impressions can have a powerful impact on our students. Even in our own formative educational experiences we ...


"Districts wading into the "bring-your-own-technology," or BYOT, waters are wrangling with which issues should be tackled through districtwide policy, and which should fall under school-level procedural codes. In the process, they're trying to leave room to solve unanswered legal questions about Internet security and privacy." Quillen (Education Week) As our students get older, they become more responsible...we hope. A laptop or tablet has replaced the notebook and pen over the past few years since our present technological explosion. Many students can't wait until the age that their teachers allow them to bring in their own devices. Unfortunately, no matter ...


The opinions expressed in Peter DeWitt's 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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