School Improvement

We Need to Create PLC Dream Teams

Dream Teams: Collaborating for the Success of All

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

“We really need to get together now and make a big push.” —Peter Jones

Up until about ten years ago, most cancer researchers and institutions would work in direct competition with one another, trying to be the first one to come up with life-saving treatments. Undoubtedly, they worked diligently and passionately, every day laboring over one of the most critical challenges in our society, and doing all this in isolation and in direct competition with other individuals committed to the same cause. Yet, this is the way research had always been done, and in many ways, it made sense to some of the world’s most talented individuals and respected institutions. Read more

Start visiting your classrooms more with these tips.

Getting Started with Informal Classroom Visits

Categories: Instruction, School Improvement

School leaders belong in classrooms on a regular basis. As I’ve promoted this belief around the country and online, I’ve rarely encountered anyone who believes otherwise.

Most administrators complete the formal teacher evaluations that are required by law or school policy, and most administrators seem to believe they get into classrooms informally on a fairly frequent basis.

I certainly thought I was in classrooms all the time. I believed, as a K–5 principal in Seattle Public Schools, that I spent a great deal of time in classrooms, supporting teachers and keeping my eyes open to information that would make me a more effective leader. But then I decided to collect data on my own practice—and I was stunned. Read more

It's as simple as saying thank you with sincerity.

Practice Gratitude: Showing Appreciation Intentionally and Sincerely in Your School

Categories: School Improvement

Disclaimer: This weblog contains the opinions and ideas of Dean Shareski. While there may be references to my work and content which relates directly to my work, the ideas are mine alone and are not necessarily shared by my employer.

I realize how simplistic this sounds and also that many will read this and nod their heads and feel like either they already do this or that it’s a nice but unnecessary component. But I can tell you that in general, schools and districts generally suck at this: gratitude. Read more

Is your school culture toxic?

School Culture: The Essential Element of Successful Schools

Categories: School Improvement

In our book, Working with Difficult and Resistant Staff, we talk about the importance of addressing problems and the people causing these problems in order to nurture a productive school culture. We also share strategies for strengthening the positive people in the school so they can stay strong when facing negative colleagues and situations. So, just what is this element called school culture, and what does it have to do with the success of the school? Read more

Common assessment is key to improving student learning.

Improving Student Learning: Together, We Can!

Categories: Assessment, PLC, School Improvement

Teaching can be exhausting. You work hard to create meaningful lessons, assessments, and interventions. You manage students in class with varying learning needs, behavior needs, and experiences. You grade papers and answer emails and phone calls. You participate in parent-student conferences, IEP meetings, and serve on committees or leadership teams. You manage duties on campus and fill out report cards. And all with little fanfare for the effort.

And, on top of everything, the hard work can be made more frustrating when high-stakes assessments show consistently poor student performance or little student growth. What is a teacher or school to do? Read more