Please, No More Professional Development!

Professional development are two words that teachers dread. But what if leaders and teachers changed the focus and followed this 5 point plan?

Source: blogs.edweek.org

200 colleges agree to let students skip remedial coursework if they reach the college-readiness on SBAC

Nearly 200 colleges and universities in six states have agreed to let students skip remedial coursework if they reach the college-readiness score on the 2015 Smarter Balanced assessment

Source: blogs.edweek.org

Want Reform? Principals Matter, Too

Teachers can’t do it all. The question of who leads a school is crucial.

Principals Said To Play Key Role In School Improvement.

Will Miller, president of the Wallace Foundation, writes in an op-ed in the New York Times (4/17, Subscription Publication) on the importance of principals for improving schools. He argues the need for getting great principals into “the schools that need them most — those with poor and minority students.” He also cites a study “covering 180 schools in nine states,” by “researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto” concluding, “We have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership.” He argues that this means there should be much greater investment in training and development for principals.

Source: www.nytimes.com

The Principal-Counselor Relationship

Principal-counselor relationships are critical to student success

“We hope that by sharing the results of our research – which we have undertaken in collaboration with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) – we can inspire principals, counselors and other educators to examine the principal-counselor relationships in their own schools. This can help them determine how they might be able to work together effectively to improve the educational outcomes for all students.”

Source: nosca.collegeboard.org

Five Essential Tech Tools to Keep Teachers Learning

Tech-using teachers must not only harvest the ideas of others but curate what’s valuable & create opportunities to learn. Curtis Chandler shares 5 digital tools

Source: www.middleweb.com

New brain science shows brain differences between poor and affluent kids

Research adds to the debate about the growing academic gap between poor and rich students.

The Washington Post (4/16, Layton) reports that neuroscientists have showed in a new study that the cerebral cortexes of affluent children are larger than those of their poorer counterparts. Theories posited by Noble and another scientist studying the matter include that poorer families lack the nutrition and healthcare needed to develop the brain and that poorer children undergo more stressful lives, which may “inhibit healthy brain development.” University College London psychologist James Thompson is paraphrased positing that intelligence has “a genetic component” and that less able, poorer families pass on their genes. The research and its implications are timely, as policymakers such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan seek to direct funding to promoting better education, especially in early education.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Literacy Lessons Learned – YouTube

Published on Apr 9, 2015

Literacy is the most important—and perhaps most difficult—initiative to implement in a secondary school. Yet new, more rigorous state standards view literacy as a shared responsibility across all disciplines. This makes implementing a schoolwide literacy movement even more critical.

Source: www.youtube.com

Leading Literacy for Learning…in the Golden Age of Literacy

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By Mel Riddile, Ed.D.

Associate Director, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

Literacy is the “cornerstone” of student success.

I have spent the last twenty years either developing or advocating for literacy at the secondary level. From my perspective as a school leader, the Common Core State Standards represent our greatest opportunity to finally make school wide literacy a permanent part of the culture and fabric of secondary schools.

On one hand, these are the best of times for adolescent literacy. On the other hand, the timing could not be worse.

At a time when expectations for student achievement have been completely reset, finally placing all students on a pathway to college and career readiness, schools across the country are experiencing budget shortfalls and, in many cases, staff cuts. Larger class sizes, retirements of veteran teachers, coupled with an influx of less experienced teachers and new, drops in enrollment in teacher preparation programs, and less experienced school leaders all add up to lower instructional capacity at a time when we desperately need all the experience we can get. Doing more with less is not exactly a recipe for success.

Ninety-nine percent of all students in the nation attend schools in states, who have embraced much more rigorous, college- and career-ready standards. Currently, 45 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards. These states serve over 80% of the nation’s students.

Adoption of more rigorous standards was a critical first step. Now the hard work of implementation begins. In fact, experience has taught me that the work begins in earnest when schools and teachers receive the results of the first summative assessments, which are in progress this Spring.

Standards alone will not improve schools, raise student achievement, nor will they narrow the achievement gap. It will take implementation of the standards with fidelity by schools and teachers to significantly raise student achievement.

It seems that every time expectations for student achievement increase there is a renewed interest in literacy, and the new standards are no exception. This time however, we are going to have to stop admiring the problem and actually implement literacy. Putting aside any doubt about the perceived importance of literacy the word text represents 19% of the total words in the Common Core State standards.

The new standards envision the ‘literate 21st Century student’ who possesses the reading, writing, thinking, listening, and speaking skills necessary for success in post-secondary education and training. Thus, cross-content literacy instruction has moved from an option to a necessity. In addition to English teachers, math, science, social studies, and elective teachers will be expected to integrate literacy throughout their instruction on top of the more rigorous course content. The success of the new standards will depend heavily on the ability of school leaders to implement school wide literacy initiatives in their school.

Cross-content or school wide literacy—purposeful reading, writing, speaking, listening—is perhaps the most significant change faced by secondary schools. Over the last decade, literacy has already proven to be the most difficult of all initiatives to implement at the secondary level.

Simply put, reading and writing instruction has not been a normal part of the culture of most schools. Despite advances in the field of adolescent literacy over the past decade, few secondary schools across the country have successfully implemented or attempted to implement a comprehensive school wide literacy initiative.

From a practical standpoint, secondary schools simply lack the capacity to integrate literacy instruction in the content areas. Even if teachers are receptive to the idea of incorporating literacy into their daily instruction, they lack the training and resources to deliver that instruction.

Money is not the biggest barrier to school wide literacy at the secondary level. Talking from experience, I know that the mindsets of the staff must be addressed or literacy instruction never goes mainstream in the school. School leaders know they will get resistance from their teachers. The problem is they haven’t had enough experience to know what the resistance will look or sound like and they don’t know how to respond when it arises.

The best way to help school leaders is to prepare them to respond to the mindsets of their teachers. Each of the following four concerns and responses has been proven to save years of push-back from staff members and thereby accelerate implementation of school wide literacy initiatives.

  1. “Students “should” already know how to read.”

Response: The fact is that very few secondary students are illiterate. They are functionally literate, but cannot comprehend academic text. Historically, the focus has been on ‘learning to read’ in grades K-3. Our average entering ninth grader read at a fifth grade level, because, while they were taught to read, they were not taught to ‘read to learn.’ All students can learn, but not all students learn at the same rate or in the same way. Many students, particularly under-resourced students, need direct, explicit literacy instruction every year or their skills will not improve. Literacy is not just about our struggling students. Even our best students need to improve their reading and writing skills.

  1. “I don’t have the time.”

Response: The best place to teach literacy skills is in the content areas. Good teaching and good literacy instruction are inseparable. Reading, writing, listening, and discussing course content improves student understanding and promotes higher-level thinking in your content area.

  1. “I’m not a reading teacher.”

Response: We do not expect teachers to be reading teachers. Teachers teach using language. All we ask is that each teacher teach the language of her content area. For example, science teachers need to teach students to read science text, the content and academic vocabulary of science, how write like a scientist, and how to think and talk like a scientist.

  1. “I don’t know how.” (This is the real issue.)

Response: (The Pledge) We are going to ask you to make a pledge to our students that you will not hold them accountable for anything that you don’t teach them. If you expect students to highlight, annotate, and take notes from text, we expect you to teach them. Likewise, we will make a pledge to you. Except for the knowledge of your content are, for which the state has issued you a license or certificate to teach, we will not hold you accountable for anything that we don’t teach you. It is our job to show you how.

 

Principals work with the team they are given: 5 Musts

So why must leaders accept the team they are given?

The answer is simple: most of our teams are filled with people who care and want to do a good job. Presumably they were hired for their strong skills and may be having a difficult time navigating the different personalities on the team or tackling the more challenging assignments. Although the team may resemble the “island of the misfit toys”, it is not hopeless.

I work with imperfect teams all the time- some more imperfect than others. Some teams possess better managers and some teams have true leaders. Regardless, it is helpful to reframe our perspective a bit and instead of looking at imperfection as a pure negative, see imperfection as an opportunity to lead a change.

So why must leaders accept the team they are given? The answer is simple: most of our teams are filled with people who care and want to do a good job. Presumably they were hired for their strong skills and may be having a difficult time navigating the different personalities on the team or tackling the more challenging assignments. Although the team may resemble the “island of the misfit toys”, it is not hopeless.

I work with imperfect teams all the time- some more imperfect than others. Some teams possess better managers and some teams have true leaders. Regardless, it is helpful to reframe our perspective a bit and instead of looking at imperfection as a pure negative, see imperfection as an opportunity to lead a change.

- See more at: http://terriklassconsulting.com/2015/04/06/five-ways-to-lead-an-imperfect-team/#sthash.bjqwMdPz.SU7nzLeE.dpuf

So why must leaders accept the team they are given? The answer is simple: most of our teams are filled with people who care and want to do a good job. Presumably they were hired for their strong skills and may be having a difficult time navigating the different personalities on the team or tackling the more challenging assignments. Although the team may resemble the “island of the misfit toys”, it is not hopeless.

I work with imperfect teams all the time- some more imperfect than others. Some teams possess better managers and some teams have true leaders. Regardless, it is helpful to reframe our perspective a bit and instead of looking at imperfection as a pure negative, see imperfection as an opportunity to lead a change.

- See more at: http://terriklassconsulting.com/2015/04/06/five-ways-to-lead-an-imperfect-team/#sthash.bjqwMdPz.SU7nzLeE.dpuf

Source: terriklassconsulting.com

Five musts for leading your team:

  1. Vision
  2. Communicate Direction
  3. Maximize Strengths
  4. Growth Mindset
  5. Leaders Grow Leaders

5 questions to ask before buying any “Common-Core aligned” product

You’d think this would be old news by now, right? I can’t think of an education company out there that doesn’t purport to have CCSS-aligned products. And yet just last month, EdWeek reported that 17 out of 20 math series that claimed to be aligned to Common Core still fail to live up to their…

Source: thecornerstoneforteachers.com

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