School Improvement

Whose Permission Are You Waiting For? 4 Ways to Promote Your School

Categories: School Improvement

Five years ago, after I was named Oklahoma’s Assistant Principal of the Year, I had been asked to present at graduate classes or workshops. I realized I had a learned a lot of valuable lessons to share from my years as a school administrator. I began to ask myself how I could find more opportunities to train, teach, or share with aspiring school leaders. Read more

Foster a sense of community for your students.

Building a Learning Community All Year

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

This blog post is based on the book EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience.

How do you build community in class?

Sometimes we do activities designed solely for community building, such as filling out bingo boards with each other’s names (“Find a classmate who was born in another state.”), interviewing each other (“What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?”), bringing in pictures or artifacts for show-and-tell, or creating a class handshake. Usually we do these kinds of activities early in the year; we want to ease into the school year and get to know a little bit about who’s in the room before starting our schoolwork. Read more

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

This blog post is based on the book Now We’re Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership.

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