"Relevance makes rigor possible." Dr. Bill Daggett Recently there was a story in Education Week that focused on turnaround schools (Samuels). This idea of turnaround schools is becoming increasingly more popular in our present era of mandates and high stakes testing. There are numerous consulting firms that offer their services to schools by offering one size fits all silver bullet solutions. Unfortunately, those do not work. One organization that has been working to turn around schools for over twenty years is the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), which was founded by Dr. Willard (Bill) Daggett who is also ...


Children learn many lessons when they are at school, both in the classroom and out. The bus ride and recess are places where children may learn things from their peers that are not age appropriate. They also learn lessons from the adults around them that may not be age appropriate either. One of those lessons is an equality issue and it is based on position. Positional hierarchy happens in suburban, urban and rural schools and refers to how people are treated based on their position within a school. This positional hierarchy can lead to school climate issues and often goes ...


"Because teaching as a profession is so poorly understood there's always the temptation for those not active in the classroom to try to "codify" it and make it seem like some mechanical process which can be "time and motion" studied and optimized." Scott Johnston, Australia In decades past, teachers were allowed to teach what they wanted when they wanted. Administrators did not enter the classroom unless they were there to discipline a student. Usually they stopped at the doorway and with a wave of the finger, the student in trouble left the classroom, as the students left behind whispered and ...


We chase who we want to be without ever taking time to figure out who we are. Educators are bombarded with the "best" "new and improved" ideas in education on a daily basis. Everyone who has a blog (including me) has an idea of how teachers should teach and students should learn. That's not a bad thing but it is when we make educators feel like our ideas are the only ideas that they should use. We hear it all the time with our 24/7 resources. Don't be the "Sage on the Stage" be the "Guide on the Side." ...


As of September 20th, 2011, the federal government ended the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) Policy. Although the repeal was initiated in 2010, it took months for the policy to officially end. Don't Ask, Don't Tell prohibited any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation while serving in the United States armed forces. If those members disclosed their orientation, they would be discharged from the military. Although DADT may have ended in the military it is still an issue that exists in public schools around North America. Students as well as teachers and staff do ...


If you're sitting on the sidelines watching this happen, it's time to join the game. The dean of Harvard University called me yesterday. After I hung up the phone and visited some classrooms I went back to my office and received a message that the dean of Yale called. They wanted transcripts for a few of our students. It's amazing to be on the phone with such prestigious universities. Another day in the life of an elementary school principal. The reality is that none of that is true. Harvard and Yale have not been calling, nor are any other colleges ...


Don't keep moving forward toward the iceberg when you know it's going to sink your ship. This past semester I taught a graduate course in action research. Action research is completed by a classroom or general education teacher. Teachers take an issue they are having in their classroom and research methods to improve it (i.e. struggling learners, technology, behavior issues, co-teaching, homework, etc.). Many school districts have adopted goal setting between staff and administration as a teacher evaluation tool. Goal setting is a year long method of making improvements in the classroom. It provides a focus for teachers and ...


Last week, as I got ready to end the week and begin the weekend, I said goodbye to the eight pre-service teachers who ended their student teaching experience in our building. They handed me thank you cards, and the classrooms where they spent their experience had parties to provide closure to the whole experience. Many of them would be graduating and looking for jobs in a market that can be challenging. Others made plans to continue their education to pursue a graduate degree. Our school participated in a program with Sage College of Albany. We were considered a professional development ...


Not only is this system being built on the shoulders of tests harmful to students it is resulting in a form of educational malpractice. The other day I was on Twitter reading messages and blogs from educators from around the world and found a blog by Joe Bower who is an educator in Alberta, Canada. After reading some of Joe's posts, I realized that he and I share the same philosophy about grading, homework and many other areas of education. Many of us believe that education needs to change. One of his posts stood out to me. It was a ...


As some teachers try to find ways to educate 25 to 27 students in their classrooms, other teachers are trying to figure out how to manage 40 students in their classrooms. As some schools purchase IPads for their staff, other poorer schools are scrambling to make sure their teachers have paper, pencils and enough chairs. As some teachers try to find ways to educate 25 to 27 students in their classrooms, other teachers are trying to figure out how to manage 40 students in their classrooms. As much as all schools should be innovative and offer 21st Century Skills to ...


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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