First Wave of ESSA Plans Gives Early Look at State Priorities

First Wave of ESSA Plans Gives Early Look at State Priorities” is written by Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa.  They take time to review how some states recent submissions are providing us a preview into how the ESSA is effecting our states priorities.

ESSA is giving the freedom to each state to find/design it’s own accountability systems.  The goal is to move on from just ranking districts on how they perform in math and reading to a more holistic approach.  Some states have began to implement their own methods recently, Texas being one of them, but they have not been submitted and approved to quality for ESSA.

The 12 states to submit so far are: District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Vermont.

Check out the details here in their post!

What is the experience our students tell others about their time in school?

George Couros poses a great question in one of his recent posts: What is the experience our students tell others about their time in school?

George pulls an excerpt from Jeff Bezos, CE) and founder of Amazon, where he talks about Day 1 vs Day 2 and a “true customer obsession” focus.  It is interesting to read his perspective as he runs, what could be, one of the most popular brands in the country.

He then turns and asks how it can relate to education.  I love the “obsessive customer focus” that Bezo’s references because this is something that we all need to think about.  Our community (parents and students) are our customers and we HAVE to always have their best interest at heart.  Often, as teachers/administrators, we find ourselves more worried about what would be or what is best for us while we let the kids adapt.  That is certainly the wrong approach.  We have to be willing to put ourselves out, try new things, and go above and beyond to make our students happy and successful.

George often talk about, and asks again in this post, “Would you want to be a learner in your own classroom?”

So take a few minutes to read Georges post and then as your self that question.  If the answer is no then what can you do tomorrow, Day 1, to make those changes and then avoid Day 2?

Leadership…The Biggest Issue in Education?

The featured image is borrowed from jimmycasas.com

This is a really power piece written by Jimmy Casas where he discusses “Leadership…The Biggest Issue in Education?”.

Jimmy talks about how he frequently poses a question to the audience: “What do you believe to be the biggest issue facing us today in public education that is resulting in many of our schools to be labeled as low performing?

He lists those most commonly heard responses and I want you to take a second to do the same.

He talks about how those are all valid responses but in the end, it all comes down to leadership.  I could not agree more with him.  You probably thought of standardized testing, poverty, lack of resources, state rules, etc. but through all of those, if you have a strong leader guiding the school, you will be successful.

Think about this.

How many of our have worked for a great leader?  Do you feel like you dwell on the shortcomings of education when you are being led effectively?

Conversely think of a bad leader that you have worked for.  Did the shortcomings of education then impact your growth, abilities, etc?

For me the answer is clear which is why I loved this post so much.  When I worked under strong leadership there was always a sense of love, trust, and empowerment in the building.  Teachers felt good about being there and students felt loved, respected, and heard.  I did not get caught up dwelling on the issues surrounding education because I was confident in my leader and felt that my leader was confident in me.

Working for poor leaders brings a sense of anxiety that is easily felt and seen.  You are worried about your job, meeting test scores, your next teacher review, etc because you do not believe in or feel supported by your leader.  You do not feel safe and comfortable.  If you are feeling this way, what do you think the students are feeling?  They certainly are aware of this and can feel it as well.

Leadership is crucial and I believe, the key to a successful classroom, school, and district.  I agree with Jimmy that it is a major weakness in education today because far too many are not leading effectively.  What do you think?

S01 Episode 03: Lead Like a Pirate with Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf

Episode 3: Lead Like a Pirate

Our guests for episode 3 were Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.

Shelley has served as an award-winning teacher, principal, Director of Student Achievement, and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Leadership. Her highly respected work focuses on building leadership capacity through coaching, collaboration, and building a positive culture of change which leads to dramatic improvements in teaching and learning. She now works as a full-time partner in Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. and is the co-author of P is for PIRATE: Inspirational ABC’s for Educators and Lead Like a Pirate.

Beth is a middle school principal passionate about innovative and transformational leadership to maximize school culture and student and staff learning. Beth is an eMINTS (enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies) trained educator. She is a facilitator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Leadership Academy, providing monthly professional development to state educational leaders through the integration of 21st century learning skills.  Beth is also passionate about developing schools that encourage high levels of learning and empowerment for all… schools where students and staff are running to get in, not out!  She is the co-author of Lead Like a Pirate.

In this episode we discuss:

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

S01 Episode 03: Lead Like a Pirate with Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf

Episode 2: Lead Like a Pirate

Our guests for episode 3 were Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.

LISTEN HERE

Shelley has served as an award-winning teacher, principal, Director of Student Achievement, and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Leadership. Her highly respected work focuses on building leadership capacity through coaching, collaboration, and building a positive culture of change which leads to dramatic improvements in teaching and learning. She now works as a full-time partner in Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. and is the co-author of P is for PIRATE: Inspirational ABC’s for Educators and Lead Like a Pirate.

Beth is a middle school principal passionate about innovative and transformational leadership to maximize school culture and student and staff learning. Beth is an eMINTS (enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies) trained educator. She is a facilitator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Leadership Academy, providing monthly professional development to state educational leaders through the integration of 21st century learning skills.  Beth is also passionate about developing schools that encourage high levels of learning and empowerment for all… schools where students and staff are running to get in, not out!  She is the co-author of Lead Like a Pirate.

In this episode we discuss:

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

How school districts are leveraging Twitter to become rock stars

Love, love, love this post by Amy Jenkins via eSchool News!!  In this day in age districts should be 100% engaged with there community.  They are their customers, consumers, and spend countless hours supporting the district.  This post highlights 4 ways that districts are using Twitter to revolutionize how the share, collaborate, and learn.

  1. By Hash(tag)ing Out Ideas
  2. Jump Into Larger Covos
  3. Meet Your Work Spose
  4. Get a Little Informal

If your wondering why or dont believe in the power.  I challenge you to open a twitter account and then look up a few hashtags from districts where I have friends working: #yoursalisbury (Salisbury SD, PA) #Engage109 (Deerfield, IL) #katyISD (Katy, TX) and there are tons more!  Check them out and see what all is being shared.  It’s an amazing way to connect and grow your district’s culture.

Don’t forget…relationships should include parents too! What do parents want from a principal?

I recently participated in #IMMOOC (Innovators Mindset Massive Online Book Course with hundreds of ed enthusiasts.  Today my featured post comes from one of the educators that I had to privilege to encounter.   Her name is Amber Teaman and she is principal of Whitt Elementary in Wylie ISD in Wylie, Texas.

Her post is fantastic and one of my all-time favorites!

In it she discusses what she would want her parents to know about her, her passion for education, and her passion to help their students be successful.  Before she releases these 5 heartfelt ideas she has one of her parents highlight the parent perspective.  What a parent would want from their principal.   Before I give away the details-take 10 minutes and read it now.  You will not be disappointed!

 

20 Strategies for Motivating Reluctant Learners

Katrina Schwartz highlights the work of Kathy Perez in her recent post “20 Strategies for Motivating Reluctant Learners” via MInd/Shift.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

“She’s a big proponent of brain breaks and getting kids moving around frequently during the day. She reminded educators that most kids’ attention spans are about as long in minutes as their age. So a third-grader can concentrate for about eight minutes before losing interest. It’s a teacher’s job to make sure there are lots of quick, effective brain breaks built into the lesson to give children a moment to re-calibrate. Perez says teachers must be prepared for a diverse cross section of learners with a large toolkit of strategies for teaching in multiple modalities, with many entry points to participation and content.”

I love some of these things that she highlights.  As someone who has taught for years we encounter PLENTY of these students.  The question is:

“Do you let them fall through the cracks or find ways to meet their needs?”

Some of Kathy’s ideas may sound like common sense but I have seen them overlooked hundreds of times.  Here are some of my favorites from her list; are empathize, focus on the ABC’s: acceptance, belonging, and community, give breaks, snowballs, and HOPE!  Another gem in the post is this video: Ned’s Great Eight to Heart.

The Case for Chronic Absenteeism With ESSA

I have stated my opinion/vision for the importance of Chronic Absenteeism through several blogs in the past but this new post from FutureEd add more to it!

The post written by Raegen Miller highlights the impact of students missing school but also the impact on teachers missing school.  They discuss that Chronic Absenteeism is much more than just students missing school.  Check it out here and post your thoughts!

FutureEd is relatively new movement coming from Georgetown University. Here is their mission:

FutureEd is an independent, solution-oriented think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. We are committed to bringing fresh energy to the causes of excellence, equity, and efficiency in K-12 and higher education on behalf of the nation’s disadvantaged students. As a nonpartisan, public-facing organization, we work to produce clear, compelling analysis on key education issues for policymakers, practitioners, the media, and other key education change agents and influencers at the federal, state, and local levels—promoting smart policymaking in a complex and fast-changing educational landscape.

The featured image  for the article is from the United Federation of Teachers website

Why Educators Need to Promote Themselves

Love this post by Anne O’Brian via Edutopia that highlights “Why Educators Need to Promote Themselves“.

This one line – the start of her post caught my attention right away… “Back when I was a classroom teacher, my principal — to whom I rarely spoke — came by one day to tell me that one of my math students had gotten the highest score in the school on a standardized math test.”

Whaaaaaat!?!?! Rarely spoke – that just sounds depressing and the fact that they didn’t throw the kid a party, recognize him/her, or even a high five!?  I find odd.  I realize I am making assumptions here but the post leads us to believe that the purpose of the visit was just that – to tell the teacher of the students accomplishment.

In the post she highlights ways to “bragg” and tips to help you do it.  In today age Twitter is a powerful tool when it comes to education.  There are several chats daily, #BookSnaps, book studys like #IMMOOC, all occuring using social media.  It has changed my life and I LOVE interacting with everyone.  The one beautiful think about educators (the majority I guess I should add) is that they are collaborative and nice, beautiful people at heart!