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Entries by Guest Author

Assistants as Members of the PLC

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Schools across the country are generally staffed with highly trained professional administrators, teachers and content specialists. In my work assisting schools with building PLCs, the staff members closest to the instruction are usually the ones that first come to mind when discussing who the “professionals” are that make up a PLC. However, in my experience as a building principal, I very quickly realized that the work of instructional assistants can be crucial in helping a school meet goals and sustain success. Read more

Prioritizing the C3 Standards to Address Question 1 of a PLC

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Many schools have already adopted or are in process of adopting the new C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The C3 Framework is organized into 4 dimensions. As schools using the PLC adopt the framework, the first step is to engage in the process of addressing Question 1: What do we want our students to learn? As with other standards documents, there are numerous standards in the C3. Read more

Celebrating and Curating for Curriculum Alignment

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Curriculum alignment is important. It is essential to ensuring rigorous learning for all and appropriate vertical and horizontal articulation. Curricular alignment requires assessment and instruction to be aligned to standards, including the intended rigor of the standard. It ensures that students have a clear, cohesive experience from year to year and leads to a guaranteed and viable curriculum. While many educators see the value in this work, it isn't necessarily something that many look on as an exciting or worthwhile experience. Read more

To Ability Group or Not to Ability Group? That Is the Question

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From Richard DuFour and Rebecca DuFour: At a recent PLC at WorkTM Institute that included over 1,500 educators representing 14 states, it became evident that ability grouping for homeroom . . . Read more

An Open Letter to My First-Grade Teacher

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I am a failure. Many define failure as lack of success and omission of required action. I would say that in my past, I qualified as a failure on both counts. Today, as a principal in a school, . . . Read more

Assessment: The Game Changer

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At Moriarty Elementary School in Moriarty, New Mexico, our process of collaborating professionally has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. When we began the journey, the idea of gathering . . . Read more

One Teacher Leader's PLC Journey

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Note: This blog post has been adapted from an email that Joshua Curnett sent to the staff at his PLC. It's February, the time of year when I cannot remember my name. It's (picture me . . . Read more

Channels and Eddies: Getting Students Downstream

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We can consider the way our students have learned over the first half of the school year as sort of river: a river’s water moves in a powerful way in its deepest parts, but at the . . . Read more

Finding Meaning in Texts

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While reading over fall break, I kept finding ideas about collaboration and success when I wasn’t really looking for them. I dog-eared a few pages in a few books to save the places because . . . Read more

Peers Helping Peers: An Update

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In my previous post, I described a new program that I and others are working on to improve the performance of students who struggled last year as freshmen, and I said I would report back when we . . . Read more

How Can My Child Get the Good Teacher?

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What parent doesn’t want to sigh in relief as they read their son’s or daughter’s new class assignment and see that their child got the “good teacher”? But not every . . . Read more

What Does It Mean to Be a Viking?

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Dave Wedlock's "What Does It Mean to Be a Viking? Collaboration and the Commitment to Continous Improvement as Core Values" is reposted here with permission from the author. In a . . . Read more

Success Looks Different in a PLC

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Josslyn arrived as a new student in our second grade, ready to learn, and sporting a pink streak in her dark brown hair. The file showed her previous school had given her extra support as she . . . Read more

High Levels of Learning for All

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Invent a low-cost incubator to reduce infant mortality in India, create a documentary about starring in a West End production, or design and market a product that will revolutionize . . . Read more

Peers Helping Peers

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Five summers ago, my professional life was permanently changed when I attended my first PLC conference. I frankly went with an attitude of “here we go again . . . ,” having been . . . Read more