How do you want to tackle trauma

How Do You Want to Tackle Trauma? Are You Focused on the Short Term or Aiming for Long-Term Solutions?

Categories: Authors, Pandemic Response and Educational Practices, School Improvement

Schools and districts are planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars next year so that 2021-2022 will be a better year for all our students and schools will be safe for students and staff. Thanks to Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, it almost feels like schools have won some lottery.

Yet, we need to ask ourselves, what could really make a difference? Is it the SEL program you purchase? Will it be a new air conditioning system? Or perhaps a new distance learning program? Right now, there are many commercial interests vying for our attention as school and district budgets are being formed with such rapidity that it is almost as if we are concerned that within a blink of an eye the monies will disappear. Which, in a way, is true. This is a time-limited deal. Buy now or lose out. So, what options do schools have? Read more

Physical and Psychological Environments for Every Body

Physical and Psychological Environments for Every Body

Categories: Authors, Instruction, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Solution Tree, Student Engagement

I like to think of myself as pretty aware of ableism. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder back in the 1990s and while I’ve learned to live with both thanks to having worked with great therapists (and, not for nothing, being married to one), my mental illnesses continue to be a trip hazard on my professional path.

Also, my husband and coauthor Jonathan Weinstein and I have a son who is autistic and goes to a school for students with special needs. From the moment I arrived at his campus, I noticed how his school environment is built for students with needs like—and unlike—his. Read more

Kicking open the trap door of student engagement

Kicking Open the Trap Door of Student Engagement

Categories: Authors

On a recent visit to a school, I listened to a student who complained to that everything that he was asked to do by his teacher was boring. When I asked him what he would like to learn about, he promptly responded, “Something interesting, like maybe something about dragons!”

My heart went out to him, for autobiographical reasons. It was the dragon Smaug in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit who lured me to take on the massive Lord of the Rings trilogy, and that gave me a new identity as a person who read for pleasure. Decades later, I still find one of my greatest joys in life entails reading a new novel, preferably about people who expand my horizons and keep me turning page after page, as I try to anticipate just what is going to happen next. Read more

illustration of books with text strengthen your skills in literacy leadership

Strengthen Your Skills in Literacy Leadership


Striking the balance of a focus on management and leadership is a daily dilemma for school and district leaders. Never has this been more critical or obvious than the school year that is finally coming to a close. Leading through a global pandemic has required leaders at all levels to make intentional efforts taking care of health and safety issues (management) while ensuring that student learning is a priority (instructional leadership).

The next school year will require all leaders and teachers to meet students where they are and to accelerate learning for all. It’s been well established that inordinate numbers of students need support to bolster their literacy capabilities. One avenue to cure this literacy malady is through strong leadership at all levels. Principals, district leaders, team leaders, instructional facilitators, and coaches can collectively help to combat the illness that plagues our students. How? By capitalizing on their roles for the betterment of teachers who directly interface with students day-to-day. It’s through the concerted efforts of all that will help to improve literacy rates so that students succeed in school and beyond. So, how do leaders assist teachers in making literacy a priority? What actions do you take? How can you champion the efforts? And lastly, how can leaders use the PLC process to further literacy goals? Read more

Being unfinished

Being ‘Unfinished’: The Essence of a Growth Mindset

Categories: Authors

How transformative would it be if we could embrace the idea that unfinished is our natural and permanent state?…Our path, if we’re lucky, is evolution without an end. –Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time Magazine, January 24, 2021

As we think about our lives and the lives of children, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all embrace the idea that our natural and permanent state is a sense of wonder, curiosity and continuous growth and development?

This is especially appropriate in a world that is constantly changing and evolving environmentally, economically, technologically, and culturally. For most, the permanence of work at one job, in one place, is no longer the rule but rather the exception. Even the ability to maintain the security of one career no longer means that the work will not change dramatically over time, that we will not continually need to learn new knowledge and skills. Many build new interests and talents. We are always figuring out evolving relationships and friendships. “Getting stuck in a rut” is no longer a viable option for successful life navigation for most Americans. Read more