March 28, 2016

“Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.”

--Helen Caldicott


Celebration!! Congratulations to recently named principals Lisa Anderson, Becky Ash, Josh Groves, and Dana Powers.



What is going great for you right now? What keeps you up at night? These are two questions I often pose during site visits.

Recently, I have heard principals say they worry about how well students will perform on end-of-year assessments, if they will find the right teacher to fill a position, etc. Then we talk about the celebrations, and the list is much longer. We all know it is important to celebrate the great things in our schools , and to provide recognition for a job well done, but why is this important?

  • Celebrating helps us keep our focus on our goals, and to remind us why we set the goal in the first place. If we forget why the goal is important, our work loses meaning.
  • Celebrating helps keep the focus on the positive possibilities instead of the occasional negative realities that arise.
  • Celebrating builds momentum, which increases the likelihood everyone will continue to work toward a common goal.
  • Most important, celebrating helps us enjoy time with each other and to build those personal connections.

In our busy, busy lives, please remember to celebrate the successes you and your team see every day!


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Blended, Match the model to the role of the teacher and the physical space

Teachers are by far our greatest asset in public schools. In some circumstances, students need face-to-face instruction, but at other times an online experience may be more beneficial. Face-to-face tends to lend itself to station and lab rotation models. Online learning supplemented with tutoring, guidance, and enrichment from the teacher is more appropriate for flipped classes, individual rotation, flex, and enriched virtual models. Purely online models are best suited for a la carte learning. (Descriptions for each model are in November issues of snl.)

Another major consideration when choosing blended models is the restrictions of physical space. In a perfect world we would have unlimited funds to provide the facilities our students and staff deserve, but I digress. For the “traditional” classroom, station rotations and flipped classes are an easy fit. Lab rotations also work in this environment, but are enhanced if a computer lab is available. If you are fortunate to have large spaces, these are ideal for individual rotation, flex, and enriched virtual. A la carte can be delivered in about any safe setting.

While space can be a major constraint, I recently observed two impactful lessons in small classrooms. A fifth-grade teacher constructed a station rotation with a museum walk to introduce students to the laws of motion. A GHS teacher developed a lesson for students to work cooperatively and to utilize media equipment to create lessons on the real-world applications of math concepts.


In homage to those of you immersed in the joys of building master schedules:

A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.

--Groucho Marx