Tom Hierck

Tom Hierck has been an educator since 1983 in a career that has spanned all grade levels. He has been a teacher, an administrator, a district leader, a department of education project leader, and an executive director.
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Trauma-Informed Teaching


Becky is a ninth-grade student at Mills High School. Her parents are divorced, and she is living with her mother. Becky’s mom is gone a lot with her job and dating. Becky is responsible for her two younger siblings. She makes them dinner most nights. Becky’s mom comes home late and sometimes brings home her newest boyfriend. It’s during these times that conflicts can arise that cause Becky and her siblings to get scared and have to hide. The fighting usually ends up with Becky’s mom getting hit, pushed, or beaten in some way.

In the mornings, Becky helps quietly get her siblings ready for the school bus. She also rides a bus and has to get herself ready. All of the children leave quietly so they don’t wake the boyfriend or their mom.

When Becky arrives at her school, she hears a lot of noise and chaos. This noise can be overwhelming and sound similar to the chaos she experiences at home. Luckily, Becky’s homeroom teacher Ms. Lennox understands the stress some of the children are under and has put strategies in place that make her room calm and welcoming for all students. Becky looks forward to going into Ms. Lennox’s room. Read more

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How Can I Prevent Cyberbullying Among My Students?

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Authors

Based on Pyramid of Behavior Interventions: 7 Keys to a Positive Learning Environment

Perhaps the single most rapidly growing behavioral issue facing schools today is cyberbullying.

Most teenagers today have grown up never knowing a world without smartphones. The Pew Research Center reports that 95 percent of all teens currently have access to or own a smartphone, and 45 percent indicate they are online almost constantly. That leaves educators with the nearly impossible challenge of teaching those whose attentions are divided, with their thoughts wandering to their devices. Read more

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RTI and Parents

Categories: Authors, RTI

Based on Starting a Movement: Building Culture From the Inside Out in Professional Learning Communities.

Response to intervention, or RTI, is a structured, multitiered approach to help identify and support struggling students. It is one of the most research-based, effective practices that schools can employ to ensure all students learn and at high levels.

In the book Starting a Movement: Building Culture From the Inside Out in Professional Learning Communities, Williams and Hierck (2015) talk about this being an effective tool, a part of the “how” phase of being an effective professional learning community (PLC). It only becomes an effective tool, however, when schools have purpose clarity, the “why” stage of being a PLC. Once schools are clear on their purpose and mission, the tools are used by all members of the school community and known by all members of the school community. An important part of that community is the parent body. Read more