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How Principals Can Develop APs as Leaders

Principal as Instructional Coach: Developing Your AP in Leadership

By Terry Wilhelm

This post begins a new series devoted to how principals can develop leadership in assistant principals. This is as important as any other aspect of the principal’s role as instructional coach. APs are generally viewed as being in the pipeline for principalships in the districts where they work, and as such, the mentorship of their principals is key to their development.… Read the rest

New teachers need to make a great impresssion and build connections with students, families and other teachers

How New Teachers Can Get the School Year off to a Great Start

By Brian P. Gatens 

All teachers need to start the school year strong, especially newer teachers facing the added pressures of learning the culture of their new schools, enduring a more intense observation process and introducing themselves to the community. If you’re new to the job, these tactics can improve your chances of getting off to a great start that leads to success for the entire school year: 

Work hard to connect

Teaching, at its core, is about developing strong relationships.… Read the rest

today's plugged-in students are telling educators to embrace a technological future

Plugged-in Students are Telling us to Embrace the Future

By Brian P. Gatens

A common theme I tend to dwell (harp?) on is that the children coming to our schools are the most plugged-in, socially aware and savvy students we have ever seen. Their constant access to all forms of media requires us to be aware of their needs and, more importantly, reminds us that their continued learning is contingent on schools changing their approach to learning.… Read the rest

Does Internet Filtering Hurt Students?

“I Can’t Search YouTube for Abraham Lincoln!”: How Internet Filtering Affects Education

By Monica Fuglei

Does Internet Filtering Hurt Students?

As students enter school and encounter curriculum increasingly technology-based, their exposure to the Internet increases dramatically. Since 2000, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) has provided filtering guidelines for schools and libraries intended to protect students from access to content that is obscene, involves child pornography, or is harmful to minors in some way.… Read the rest

Just for APs: How Restorative Justice Works

Just for APs: Moving Toward Restorative Justice

By Terry Wilhelm

Just for APs: How Restorative Justice Works

In the first of my two-part post about how assistant principals can model respectful discipline for teachers, I discussed the notion of using logical consequences. Instead of punishment for punishment’s sake, logical consequences attempt to connect the infraction with a consequence that makes sense in light of the misbehavior; for example, “If you make a mess, your consequence is to clean it up on your own time.”

Restorative justice teaches logical consequences and apology skills

A related idea is restorative justice.… Read the rest

Teachers at mid-career should think about taking on new roles like library science or STEM leadership

Fresh Ideas for Mid-Career Teachers

By Brian P. Gatens 

What makes some mid-career teachers want to get out of the business, while others are as passionate about their work as they were the first day on the job? Researchers have made some intriguing discoveries.

For instance, Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project on the Next Generation of Teachers published a report in 2005 exploring a wide range of topics including the recruitment, length of service and retention of teachers.… Read the rest

Teachers have plenty to be positive about.

Tune out the Negativity: Teaching is Still a Great Profession

By Brian P. Gatens

By about mid-July, after the hectic final days of the school year, I finally have a chance to decompress enough to sit back and think about why I believe that I work in the world’s greatest profession.… Read the rest

Ed Allen is a graduate of Concordia University's MBA program

Ed Allen, Concordia MBA Recipient, Thrives on the Challenges of Leadership

Ed Allen earned his MBA from Concordia University-Portland in 2003. Allen started his career as a part-time driver with a small Oregon paper company while earning his undergraduate degree in marketing from Portland State University. One thing led to another and Allen stayed at that firm, which was absorbed by multiple mergers and is now the conglomerate Spicers Paper.… Read the rest

U.S. Teachers Need Better Resources

International Survey: U.S. Teachers Grapple With Low Support, High Rate of Student Poverty

U.S. Teachers Need Better Resources

By Monica Fuglei

The headlines have spoken: According to new data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), American teachers have some of the longest work weeks, highest student poverty rates, least guidance, and lowest collaborative work time among their international peers.… Read the rest

Principal as Change Agent

PD for Principals: Executing the Change Agent Leadership Responsibility

Principal as Change Agent

By Terry Wilhelm

In my columns for principals and district leaders, I frequently make reference to the 21 leadership responsibilities for principals that were surfaced in the meta-analytical research of Robert Marzano, Brian McNulty and Timothy Waters and discussed in the resulting 2005 book, “School Leadership That Works.”

Using the 21 leadership responsibilities for principals as the foundation for a learning community

I tell administrators that these 21 responsibilities are as essential for school leaders as the nine classroom strategies are for teachers.… Read the rest

Teachers who find ways to collaborate can strenghten their skill and enjoyment of their work

How Teachers Can Build Valuable Partnerships with Colleagues

By Brian P. Gatens 

When I started my teaching career in the early 1990s, I received a textbook, a class list and a hearty pat on the back. There was barely a connection with my new colleagues, and the idea of deliberate and consistent collaboration with my peers didn’t exist.… Read the rest

Self-advocacy means students have the confident to speakup for themselves

The Power of Teaching Students to Speak Up for Themselves

By Brian P. Gatens 

As educators, our primary responsibility is to empower our students. Because we’re obliged to strengthen young people’s academic habits, personal behaviors and social lives, we have to teach them how to speak up for themselves when necessary.… Read the rest

The importance to social connection and empathy in school

How Can Teachers Cultivate Social Connection and Empathy in the Classroom?

The importance to social connection and empathy in school

By Monica Fuglei

At Franklin Elementary’s fifth grade continuation ceremony, Principal John Melkonian made a bold statement. He referenced the school’s teaching of core virtues and asked students to remember that while academics were important, being good people was what would make them successful in life.… Read the rest

Google Apps for Education - What You Need to Consider Before Diving into Free Services

By Brian P. Gatens 

Google has grown from a search engine into a cultural force. Its products, research and worldwide spread have been powerful in forming today’s world, and its Google Apps for Education, or GAFE, have been a tremendous boon to schools around the world.… Read the rest

Teachers can try many tactics to improve test scores without sacrificing their devotion to their careers

Boosting Test Scores Without Selling Your Educational Soul

By Brian P. Gatens

Let’s talk about practical tips teachers can use to help students excel on tests without sacrificing their drive to help children become better learners.

Teachers can try many tactics to improve test scores without sacrificing their devotion to their careers

The role of standardized testing in the classroom has evolved tremendously over the past 20 years.… Read the rest

How Teachers Use Test Data

How Teachers Use Student Data to Improve Instruction

How Teachers Use Test Data

By Monica Fuglei

Formal and informal assessments provide significant insight into students’ progress, curriculum effectiveness and teaching strategies. Although there has been recent parental pushback on overuse of standardized tests, the data collected from them does not drift off into the ether.… Read the rest

District Leaders: Reducing Barriers to Change

District Office Leaders: Reducing and Eliminating Barriers to Change

District Leaders: Reducing Barriers to Change

By Terry Wilhelm

In a recent post in my series on PD for Principals, I discussed how district leaders can encourage and support principals in holding difficult — and essential — conversations with staff members about performance and professional behavior issues.… Read the rest

Teachers hoping to become administrators need to weigh many factors

Teachers who Want to Become Administrators Have a Lot to Think About

By Brian P. Gatens 

I’ve loved my work as a school administrator, and I’m asked from time to time about the factors that led me from the classroom to the administrative ranks. Leaving the classroom was not easy. Sure, there have been difficult and trying times along the way, but I have never regretted my decision.… Read the rest

Substitute Teaching has a Lot More Advantages than You Might Suspect

By Brian P. Gatens

Don’t believe the negative things you’ve heard about substitute teaching. For many recent college graduates, or even those looking to enter teaching later in life, the thought of being a substitute teacher is a distant one. Yet, from my experience, solid and dependable substitute teachers often become the first person called upon when a teaching position opens up.… Read the rest

Do Colocated Schools Create Inequality?

Together and Unequal: The Conflict Surrounding School Colocation

Do Colocated Schools Create Inequality?

By Monica Fuglei

As the nation celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education last month, education leaders reflected on the development of America’s post-segregation public school system. In their speeches commemorating the event, Arne Duncan and Eric Holder both celebrated our post-Brown v.… Read the rest

Employee Recognition Programs are Ineffective

District Office Leaders: Why Employee Recognition Programs Can Make Customer Service Worse

Employee Recognition Programs are Ineffective

By Terry Wilhelm

In my last post for district leaders, I mentioned the Gallup Q12 survey as an example of a tool for examining the leadership effectiveness of specific leaders, measured by the level of engagement of the teams they lead.… Read the rest

High school teachers can explore specialties like the sciences

Where to Teach Part 3: High School

Last of three parts

By Brian P. Gatens

As a former middle school and high school teacher, I can see the appeal of both of these levels. As I explored earlier, middle school enables the teacher to work with children during an academically and socially developmentally challenging time in their lives.… Read the rest

Middle school students require teachers attuned to their emotinoal development

Where to Teach Part 2: Middle School 

Second of three parts.

By Brian P. Gatens

Ah, middle school, the middle child of schools.

Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders don’t quite fit into the world of elementary-school students with their bulletin boards, class parties and “little kid” stuff; nor do they fit into the loud, crowded and bustling halls of the high school.… Read the rest

Educators are dealing with an uproar over the books students use.

Banned Books and Trigger Warnings: How Should Teachers Navigate Tough Subjects in Literature?

Educators are dealing with an uproar over the books students use.

By Monica Fuglei

Recent headlines on the use of “trigger warnings” in college-level literature classes inspired a variety of reactions. Defenders see them as an essential part of open discussion; critics like Patton Oswalt argue that they discourage true engagement with literature. 

College professors aren’t the only educators who deal with uproar over the books students study.… Read the rest

Principal as Instructional Coach: Student Data and Teacher Summits

By Terry Wilhelm Student Data and Teacher Summits

In recent years, a district-level trend in some areas has been to institute “principal summits:” sessions held monthly or bimonthly, with individual principals making formal presentations to their superintendents, or sometimes the full cabinet, focused on student data.… Read the rest