August 2006 Archives

Sam of Clean Up On Aisle Life is almost beside herself with joy and disbelief about the school where she's landed: There is a procedure for everything, and it is spelled out for you in efficiently run meetings, then followed up with real action. Whenever I speak with a teacher, they say, "This school is so great because of the administration." Whenever I speak with an administrator, they say, "This school is so great because of the teachers." I feel as if I have entered an education fantasy land of mutual respect, genuine concern for student goals that leads to ...

Joanne Jacobs takes a look at a newly published book, The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids, thoughtfully left on her kitchen table by her daughter, "a classic overachiever." According to a review of the book posted on, author Alexandra Robbins follows the lives of students from a Bethesda, Md., high school as they navigate the SAT and college application process. These students are obsessed with success, contending with illness, physical deterioration ... cheating ... obsessed parents. (Publishers' Weekly) Sounds like the stuff neuroses are made of. "The book paints a true picture for a few students," Jacobs writes, ...

Vicki A. Davis at Cool Cat Teacher reports on her six-week odyssey moving from a manual system to an automated one: the PowerSchool system. It was a long six weeks. But, says Ms. Davis: Moving from manual systems to PowerSchool has gone relatively smoothly largely because of the amazing leadership from administration. Ms. Davis outlines some detailed lessons she learned along the way, including reflections about ownership, communication, and empathy. And, the proof is in the pudding. When the teachers opened up the gradebook and already had rosters with parent names and phone numbers, squeals of delight filled the classroom! ...

Polski3, a middle-school teacher who blogs at Polski's View From Here, ventures into his classroom for a quick look-see before school starts. He has a brief chat with the principal, who says that ... he wants all the teachers in lock-step; everyone teaching the same thing on the same day, being on the "SAME PAGE" at the same time, including testing the students with the SAME TEST on the SAME DAY ... Polski3 isn't sure that's quite the right approach. He adds: Our opening day inservice is "Step Up to Writing." We've done some of this before, but I don't know of ...

Administrators in Mei Flower's district, having decided that teachers needed just half a day of classroom preparation before the onslaught of classes, planned a half-day inservice "pep rally" for the afternoon. The program included such standards as the Pledge of Allegiance ("This went well. We all knew the words.") and an address by the local union president, plus "special" fare like a slideshow from the previous year ("I already lived through last year, thanks, let's move on.") and local kids singing a medley of Broadway show tunes ("I don't understand why we had a concert forced upon us when we ...

It’s that time of year when many, if not most, teachers may be wondering: “Where’d the summer go?” Hobo Teacher, indulging his inner conspiracy theorist, has even taken to speculating that there may be a secret plot to gradually eliminate teachers’ summers entirely: Conspiracy Hobo Teacher is thinking that the district is shaving off days of summer break ever so discretely. There's a day knocked off the beginning, one dropped from the end, little by little, until BAM--no more summer break. I half expect that the administration will slip a mickey into the punch bowl at the next ...


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