Schools are supposed to be educational institutions where students are engaged, teachers are nurturing and offer rigorous lessons, and principals are educational leaders where they can help create inclusive environments. Unfortunately, this is often a Utopian view of schools. Too often principals stay in their offices and teachers close their doors and become their own islands. Fortunately, those old practices are changing. Walkthroughs are becoming popular with principals. At least, they should be popular with principals because they are an effective way to observe what is going on in the classroom. Walkthroughs also provide administrators with the opportunity to establish ...


"NOTE: No one, under any circumstances, including the student, may alter the student's responses on these tests once the student has handed in his or her test materials. Teachers and administrators who engage in inappropriate conduct with respect to administering State examinations may be subject to disciplinary actions in accordance with Sections 3020 and 3020-a of Education Law or to action against their certification pursuant to Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education." NY State ELA Examination Manual Something new appeared on the state assessments manual this year. It was in a box on one of the ...


Democracy has a different meaning for different people. For most people it means the right to speak out and express their opinion. In our present dark education times we have plenty to speak up about, whether it is high stakes testing or unfair cuts to education. Unfortunately, we do not always allow our students to speak out about ways we educate them in the classroom. If we want our students to truly understand democracy we need to allow them to speak up in the classroom (and the school) because it is their right to do so. Teachers can easily teach ...


Every student has a right to feel nurtured when they enter into school. A few weeks ago I wrote a commentary for Education Week entitled Dignity for All. It was based on my book with Corwin Press that was released last week with the same title. When I was doing my doctoral work at Sage College of Albany, my research focused on safeguarding LGBT Students. It was not a topic I had planned to discuss because I did not see the need. I'm not a fan of breaking people into different groups. However, after reading the important work of the ...


Today's guest blog is written by Steve Constantino (Ed.D), Superintendent of Williamsburg-James City County School District in Williamsburg, Virginia. Traveling extensively as a speaker, capacity-builder and thought leader in the arena of family engagement has afforded me the distinct privilege of working in hundreds of schools in hundreds of districts on four different continents. Delving into the research and eventually conducting my own, the same set of facts continued to emerge. First, engaging families in the educational lives of their children supported better learning outcomes at just about every age. Second, there were specific strategies that could be employed ...


What is failure? In the media we hear about failing teachers, failing students and failing schools. Students who get retained, say they failed a grade, as much as the educators around them try to call it something else. There are so many ways we fail. Some of those failures are socially acceptable and others are not. If someone fails a test, they are encouraged to move on and try again. If they fail to get into the college of their choice they are persuaded to find another one that would be more fitting. When someone fails to make the basketball ...


"Students dislike writing because they often equate it with testing. Testing is stress, testing is not fun, and testing has taken over." Phil Bildner Educators are always looking for creative ways to inspire students to write. Too often students grow to dislike writing because they find it boring or they struggle with it and it's easier to give up and not write at all. In these days of modern technology it's easier for students to pick up a game that does all the creativity for them. However, writing can offer great experiences to students. It's how we communicate with one ...


We need to stop putting our expectations on our students and start helping them find their own. It's that time of year when educators continue the 3 R's but turn their attention to the 4th R, which is retention. Students who have struggled all year are now being put on the list of students who are in need of retention. Unfortunately, retention will not work for many of them and they will continue to struggle long after they leave the teacher who held them back. In a recent Education Week article entitled Data Show Retention Disparities by Erik Robelen, Caralee ...


"If we can't have fun in an elementary school, we have no business being there." Times are tough. School budgets are being cut, teachers and administrators are losing their jobs and state testing feels more like an interrogation than a tool to see how our students are doing. However, if we can't find a positive in a sea of negatives we have no business being in school. Kids did not ask for all of this and deserve better. Unfortunately, administrators are seen as the reason why all of these woes are hitting education. If administrators didn't have a strong bond ...


We all know what it's like to get on the computer and research a topic of interest. For some of us, it doesn't matter how many hours we spend or how much money we make when we complete the research. The journey and the final product are what we truly care about. As a writer, there are many topics that I find interesting. With the internet at my fingertips and a lifetime membership to my alma mater library systems (those pesky loans are worth something!), I can research what I want, when I want it. If it comes to presenting ...


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