Inch By Inch Chronicles – Who is Aime?

This is a guest post from Aime Hutton, a 5-time international best-selling author/compiler.

So, who am I?  I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but I grew up in Pickering, Ontario, Canada.  

buklied girl

Growing up, school was not a safe space for me. School is supposed to be a happy place for kids.  A place where they can learn, meet new friends, and develop their self confidence.  I had the complete opposite experience.  As a 1st through 3rd graders, I was happy to be going to school. By 3rd grade, I had made a few close friends.  However, in 3rd grade, things changed as well.  I started to have problems in my studies and was really struggling with basic core subjects like spelling, grammar, math, and comprehension.  My teacher noticed it as well.  She had a meeting with my parents, guidance counselor, and the principal.  The academic team wanted me to move into a special education class for the remainder of my time in elementary school.  The academic team said I would never learn to write well, that I would have struggles in all areas of my studies, and be the C student, never the A student.   My parents disagreed.  and advocated for me to be pulled out from time to time for extra help. That is how she will get through the year.  I ended up repeating 3rd grade. 

Continue reading “Inch By Inch Chronicles – Who is Aime?”

5 Ways Principals Can Lead In A Virtual Environment

Many school districts across the country are either choosing or being mandated to begin the 2020-2021 school year with distance learning. While this is disappointing to so many of us, we must also recognize our new reality and put measures in place to ensure that students experience a robust and comprehensive online learning environment. 

School principals will be critical in supporting this robust environment. Teachers and parents will be looking for leadership during these uncertain and ever-changing times. Principals must rise to this challenge and bring together communities. Continue reading “5 Ways Principals Can Lead In A Virtual Environment”

3 Ways School Will Look Different In The Fall

This article was orginially posted on Forbes.com writen by Robyn D. Shulman and Dr. David Franklin from The Principal’s Desk.

This is what most students can remember before the pandemic arrived, and school will most likely look quite different this academic year.

Group of smiling preschool students

To develop strong social and emotional skills, kids must be in an environment where they feel safe—this includes everything under Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs such as food, water, rest, a safe home, meaningful relationships, and having a sense of self and accomplishment. All social emotional learning or lack thereof can have a crushing domino effect—one that begins in the classroom and may lead to the boardroom.Continue reading “3 Ways School Will Look Different In The Fall”

5 Ways Schools Will Look Different In The Fall

For most of us, April and May felt like they lasted way longer than 30 days each. Unfortunately, August and September probably won’t look a whole lot better. Teachers across the country are doing the best they can in delivering content that was designed for in-person instruction over the web. Parents are struggling to balance their own workloads with their children’s school work. Kitchen tables have become offices and classrooms and life in America has been turned upside down. 

Teachers and parents are all holding their collective breath for the end of the school year. With many school districts set to end the school year at the end of May, some of us are starting to see the light at the end of the remote learning tunnel. 

But …

We must acknowledge that states and districts across the country are making plans for the 2020-21 school year that include social distancing and remote learning. Top doctors and researchers around the country including Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx are warning that there might be a second round of outbreaks this fall and winter. Collectively, we must be prepared for school to look different in the fall and that we might not be back to normal come the start of the regular school year. 

Here are 5 ways school will look different in the fall:

  1. AM / PM Schedules

Many health and school professionals are acknowledging that having 500 – 3000 students on a single campus at one time might not work if we are still social distancing in the fall. Some school leaders are preparing a schedule in which half of the students attend school in the morning hours, while the other half attend in the afternoon. This solution will allow schools to have half the amount of students on campus. This plan is much easier to manage at the elementary level as students do not rotate through classrooms and teachers as much as they do in middle and high school. Additionally, it is easier to manage some level of social distancing with 250-300 students on campus than it is 1000-1500 students. 

desks 6 feet apart

      2. Rotating Days

There has been discussion about having students rotate days in which they come to campus in order to get in a full day of instruction at a time rather than half days in person with their teachers. Proposed schedules for rotating days has one group of students attending school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while the other group attends on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Groups would switch every week to allow for equity of time on campus. Another version of this schedule would be to flip every other Friday, with one group attending every Monday and Wednesday and the other every Tuesday and Thursday with Friday switching off between the groups. 

      3. Fully Remote Learning

It is quite possible that we will be heading into the 2020-2021 school year remotely. If that happens, schools will need to ensure that devices are in all student’s hands and that they can connect to Wi-Fi. Districts should use the summer months to plan out the logistics in deployment and access. Schools will also need to address the notion of asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities for students. If remote learning stays with us for several more months, there must be a balance of both learning modes. While school systems across the country were caught off guard for remote learning this spring, they shouldn’t be in the fall. 

Child-and-teacher-Zoom-time-600x450

      4. Saturday School

While not being addressed in public schools … yet, this idea is being floated for private schools. Similarly to the rotating days schedule, some schools are talking about the possibility of students attending Saturday school. In this solution, one group of students attends school Monday, Wednesday, Friday, while the other group attends Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. While this is sure not to be a popular solution for many, it is being discussed as a viable option as it allows for weekly equity of instructional minutes with their teachers. 

      5. Alternative Learning Spaces

Our final school solution could be one that is embedded into all the preceding plans. Schools are taking a hard look at learning spaces and realizing that keeping students six feet away from each other is a herculean, if not impossible task. Be prepared for auxiliary spaces to be transformed into learning spaces. These spaces include gyms, cafeterias, theaters, fields, and libraries. It is possible that these spaces will be redesigned for classroom instruction as they provide more space for students to social distance. 

Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at david@theprincipalsdesk.org or at www.principalsdesk.org.

Facing the Unknown

This guest article was written by Jesse Greaves-Smith of Teachers Starting Fires. He is an experiential educator and eLearning instructional designer focused on helping teachers free their potential and light their spark.

The secret to growth as human beings is that we must boldly face the unknown. We must find one small piece of it to conquer and to make known to ourselves, and then go and face the unknown again. Each time we face the darkness and chaos willingly we come back just a little stronger, a little more capable.Continue reading “Facing the Unknown”

5 Lessons Learned From Distance Learning in the Time of COVID-19

Right now, millions of children across the United States are learning from their teachers from their own kitchens, living rooms, and backyards. The reality is beginning to set in that children might not be returning to school for a while. Teachers are working hard to pivot from in-person instruction to an online approach, attempting to continue to serve the individual needs of their students using web chats, email, phone calls, and screen sharing applications. Continue reading “5 Lessons Learned From Distance Learning in the Time of COVID-19”

The Kids Are Not All Right

Close your eyes.

Picture a school. Any school. What do you see? What do you hear? The sights and sounds of a school are universal: Children laughing and running around on a playground, teachers working with students through math problems or science experiments. There is noise, lots of noise. There is movement, a lot of movement. There is noise, a lot of noise.

Now, those same schools are quiet, still, absent of what gives them life. Continue reading “The Kids Are Not All Right”

5 Ways to Conduct Safe Intruder Drills

Mental health support can be a key to preventing on-campus violence, but what can schools do to protect students and staff in an emergency?

Intruder-Drill_ResizeBlog_0220.jpg

Behind the walls of schools located in urban centers, rural landscapes, and suburbs, US students and teachers have been practicing for the worst situation possible. Since the tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999, there have been 230 school shootings that have left 138 students, teachers, and staff members dead.Continue reading “5 Ways to Conduct Safe Intruder Drills”

Build Up Student Mental Health, Not Fences, to Prevent School Violence

The number of shootings that are occurring at schools is rising.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there have been 417 school shootings in the United States between 2010 and 2019. Sadly, when those annual totals are broken down, an upward trend becomes quite clear. The past two years have seen more school shootings than all five years prior.Continue reading “Build Up Student Mental Health, Not Fences, to Prevent School Violence”