Guest Author

Solution Tree blog post authors have been personally invited to share their expertise. All contributing experts have firsthand experience driving positive school change and impacting student achievement.

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Interest, reflection, anticipation

A Lesson in Teacher Efficacy from a Rock Loving Three-Year-Old

Categories: Instruction

Recently waiting in a security line at the airport, between consulting opportunities with two districts in two states, I noticed a young couple and their two children behind me, both boys under the age of three. The scene is familiar. Stroller, backpacks, carry-ons, and this mom’s “purse” filled with toys, snacks, and tissues. The three-year-old boy had that typical energy and anticipation as he prepared to fly on an airplane. He, like so many other children, wasn’t super keen on waiting in line, though. Read more

Student can use eWriters to improve literacy

Using eWriters to support reading and writing instruction

Categories: Instruction, Literacy, Technology

(Note: This post is co-authored by Kristine E. Pytash and Richard E. Ferdig, and guest authors John Dunlosky and Karl W. Kosko of Kent State University.)

Whether children are reading electronic storybooks, creating interactive videos and multimedia stories, or reading and responding to standardized tests in digital formats, technology is influencing what it looks like to read and write and how teachers and parents are using new digital tools to transform reading and writing instruction. As researchers and teachers, we are interested in these various ways technology and digital media support reading and writing instruction. Recently, we’ve been studying eWriters and how these tools might influence children’s writing acquisition and composition process. Read more

Student Learning, Authentic Pedagogy, School Organizational Capacity, External Support

A School That Takes Student Learning Seriously

Categories: PLC

(This is a guest post from Dr. Angel de Dios, a parent of a student at Mason Crest Elementary School, a recognized Model PLC.)

Actions are supposed to speak louder than words, but words are seen in media much more often. Worse, society with its limited attention span and general lack of critical thinking is now at the mercy of sound bites. What works in education is therefore frequently missed as a careful and thoughtful attention to details is usually absent.

Twenty years ago, the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools published a report synthesizing education research to find what it takes to reform schools successfully. The main authors of the report drew the following diagram to highlight what is necessary for improving schools.

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A book as an IV bag

Reading Recovery

Categories: PLC

Rebecca DuFour was recently contacted by an interventionist at an elementary school just beginning the PLC process. A new master schedule has been created that includes (1) weekly time for team collaboration and (2) daily intervention and extension time for all students. The Reading Recovery specialist is currently scheduled to work with first-grade Reading Recovery students one-on-one each morning, which is required to maintain Reading Recovery certification. During the afternoon each day, the Reading Recovery specialist will work with flexible groups of students identified for targeted support based on data from team-developed common formative assessments.

The interventionist asked for information from PLC elementary schools that have intervention plans that successfully incorporate Reading Recovery. Rebecca reached out to Jacquie Heller, a reading specialist at Mason Crest Elementary School. The following is Jacquie’s response:

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Leadership: Key Competencies for Whole-System Change

1Comment tail

7 Leadership Competencies for Whole-System Change (A Review)

Categories: School Improvement

(This post by Carri Schneider was originally published on Getting Smart.)

There are leaders, and there are EdLeaders. Then there are leaders among EdLeaders–like Lyle Kirtman and Michael Fullan. This expert duo, applying decades of work in the field, recently came together to write and release a powerful guidebook for leading systemic (and sustainable) change.

Leadership: Key Competencies for Whole-System Change, published by Solution Tree (a Getting Smart advocacy partner), is an important contribution to the field for a number of reasons.

Kirtman & Fullan’s book is:

  • backed by research;
  • situated in the context of learning innovations;
  • supported by real stories from practicing leaders;
  • grounded in a whole-system approach to change;
  • intended to spark action; and
  • built to inspire.

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