School Improvement

Acing Your Observation

Acing Your Observation

Categories: Instruction, School Improvement

Based on Kindergarten From A to Z

Many of my colleagues are eagerly awaiting the day when we can return to our physical classrooms full time to resume teaching as we have always known it to be.

However, there is one part of that process we are not looking forward to—the return of the dreaded observation. To some, the observer may be likened to the mother-in-law character from those 1950s sitcoms who comes into the house with white gloves, looking to find fault with everything. Read more

Strong Leadership in Uncertain Times: 5 Tips for Running the Leadership Roads Ahead

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

This entry is the sixth in a blog series called Pandemic Response and Educational Practices (PREP), which aims to highlight and further the important work educators are doing amid the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.

Based on Messaging Matters.

One recent morning, I was running a three-mile track around my neighborhood. As I passed the houses and occasional drivers, I felt a sudden kinship to my neighbors that I’m not sure I’ve felt before.  Read more

Building Your Building When You’re Not in the Building: Strategies For Hiring Great Teachers During Social Distancing

Categories: Leadership, Pandemic Response and Educational Practices, PLC at Work, School Improvement

This entry is the fifth in a blog series called Pandemic Response and Educational Practices (PREP), which aims to highlight and further the important work educators are doing amid the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.

Based on Building Your Building: How to Hire and Keep Great Teachers.

Surreal. Unbelievable. No words. None of us can quite put into words what we’re going through right now during this global pandemic. Read more

Kindness Amidst the Anger Storm

Kindness Amidst the Anger Storm

Categories: Instruction, School Improvement

Based on HEART! Fully Forming Your Professional Life as a Teacher and Leader

“Anger is not impressive or tough—it’s a mistake. It’s weakness. Depending on what you are doing, it might even be a trap that someone laid for you.” —Ryan Holiday

During the fall of my second year as superintendent at Stevenson HSD 125 (birthplace of the PLC At Work® process), I picked up the phone, only to be verbally assaulted by a very angry parent about an issue regarding her son, who was not receiving the resolution she sought.

I listened for about three minutes and tried to deescalate her anger, but it only got worse. Despite my best intentions to understand her concerns, she mostly just wanted to vent, but her yelling and the cruelty of her words got in the way of her message. Sound familiar? Read more

Bus driving past a school

The Heart of the Matter: Cultivating Compassionate and Mindful School Communities

Categories: School Improvement, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Based on Mindful School Communities, scheduled for release in February 2020.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” —The Dalai Lama

Compassion and love are needed in all areas of our lives. Quite simply, people are hurting and in need of healing. Schools are no different.

Students, teachers, and whole school communities are wrestling with how best to understand and respond to the impactful nature of trauma and stress and how it collides with our ability to function, teach, learn, live, and just be. Sometimes, “students are too scared to learn” (Lacoe, 2013). For many of our students, the impact of stress and trauma is formidable, compromising their physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being and academic development (SAMHSA, 2014), playing out in the form of their physiological response system of fight, flight, or freeze (Schwartz, 2016). Read more