I have been very fortunate to work with educators around the country over the past ten years who work in a variety of geographical areas with varying socio-economic degrees. We all agree that advances in technology have greatly aided the educational process, helping us to differentiate instruction as well as bring content to life in ways previously unimaginable. These advances have also made communication between school and home faster and more comprehensive with the seamless sharing of data. However, everywhere I go, I am confronted by the same concern when it comes to students using instructional technology at home.
We all know that great schools have strong communication protocols with parents. The research is quite clear that children benefit when educators and parents are in constant communication with one another. However, among secondary school parents, 66 percent do not agree that teachers keep them informed about classroom activities, events and requirements (National School Public Relations Association 2011). Fewer than one in four parents can name a basic milestone that their child should have learned in school over the previous year (Public Agenda 2012). We need to do better. We need to have several tools in our communication tool belt. With that said, here are five ways to increase communication with parents.Continue reading “5 Ways to Increase Communication With Parents”
Over the past decade, social media has transformed communication. Pictures, videos, and comments can be easily posted and sent to followers instantly. For schools and educators, social media gives them another opportunity to share activities, programs, and student learning with the community.
Ask teachers what they would consider an optimal working condition and you will get a variety of different answers. However, one answer remains consistent: autonomy. In these days of high stakes testing, schools continue to micro manage instruction as well as the curriculum in hopes of achieving high test scores. However, this is counter-productive and can be very detrimental to staff morale, leading to uninspired instruction, which is unfavorable to student learning. Continue reading “3 Ways Principals Can Promote Autonomy”
Culture is king. Schools leap forward or jump back due to a positive or negative culture. This culture is built on creating positive, strong, long-lasting relationships. It is difficult to build these strong relationships when staff is moved around and in and out of the school every year. This is especially true in Special Education where students thrive on the connections they make with their Psychologist, Speech Pathologist, and Counselor.Continue reading “Staffing Consistency is Vital for a School’s Success”
Great schools / districts all have one thing in common: great organizational culture. Dedicated teachers and a researched-based curriculum isn’t enough to make a school great. Culture is everything. Management guru, Peter Drucker wrote, “Culture eats strategy for lunch”. He is right. A poor organizational culture will send these amazing teachers straight into the arms of another school or district. Continue reading “5 Ways to Build a Strong School Culture”
The summer months are ideal for educators to reflect, recharge and to begin planning for the next school year. I always try select one new idea, concept, tool, or program to explore during the first few months back. I have an idea that I would like to throw out to all administrators out there: rethink your meetings.Continue reading “Please Upgrade your Teacher / Principal Meetings”
I’ve said many times that educators need to stop referring to classrooms with rich technology use, project-based learning, collaborative groupings and an inquiry-based pedagogy as 21st Century Classrooms. We live in the 21st century. All classrooms should contain the previous elements. After all, it is 2020. We are in the 21st century, right? Continue reading “The Modern Classroom”
Assessment doesn’t have to be a “four letter word” in education. Assessments can be quite useful, informative, and purposeful when utilized properly. Unfortunately, assessments are often used to put a grade on a report card or as a district compliance measure that once given, the results are never analyzed.Continue reading “5 Tips on Making Assessments Useful in Your Classroom”
The job of a school principal has evolved over the last several decades. It has gone from manager, to instructional leader, to transformative leader, to everything including the kitchen sink. With everything principal have to do throughout the day, one of the most essential elements of the role is visibility. Continue reading “5 Ways for Principals To Be More Visible”