Blog

Growing and Utilizing Your Guiding Coalition

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Change is hard, but inevitable. Schools are complex…I would argue they are extremely complex. Name another industry where you have as many variables (students, parents, teachers, bus . . . Read more

Finding the Opportunity in the COVID-19 Crisis

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The 2019-20 school year will certainly go down in history as unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic turned all aspects of society, including school systems, upside-down. As schools were mandated . . . Read more

An Administrator's Perspective for PLC Meetings

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There is an age-old question—If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? Here’s another question—If a collaborative team meeting takes . . . Read more

What Does Your School’s Success Rest On? The Four Pillars in Action at East Pointe Elementary

Editor’s note: This entry is a joint publication by Jonathan G. Vander Els and Dr. Josh Ray. Testimonials from Dr. Ray, the principal at East Pointe Elementary School, are noted with the . . . Read more

An Elementary School Schedule that Promotes Student Learning

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[Editor's note: Refer to Table I and Table II above for a visual representation of the author's scheduling practices.] Spring is a great time to consider some high-leverage work that . . . Read more

From Independence to Interdependence

The story of Quitman Public Schools (QPS) does not begin or end with us. For more than 150 years, QPS has been the heart of the Quitman community, and the staff has demonstrated high levels of . . . Read more

On a Mission: Building a Culture of Continuous Growth

Before Morrilton Intermediate School was selected to be a part of Cohort One of the PLC at Work® process in Arkansas, we had common planning times, but there was no expectation of . . . Read more

Seven Norms for Collaborative Teams

During our first year working in the district office, we had monthly district grade-level meetings led by teachers who set agendas, provided oversight to the meetings, and facilitated . . . Read more

Let's Be Prescise

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On my mind a great deal lately is the precision that is required of schools. I often hear my father-in-law in my head saying, “Start straight, stay straight, and you will be . . . Read more

Game On

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My phone rang that Sunday and, on the line, I heard my 18-year-old son’s quivering voice say, “Dad, Kobe died.” I sat in the car stunned. I turned on the radio to find out . . . Read more

CFA Data Inquiry Helps Foster Collective Teacher Efficacy

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In a school with strong collective efficacy, all of the faculty feels they have a hand in helping each child excel. Students are valued for the diversity of their learning profiles, and teachers . . . Read more

Finding Your Team's Foundation With Fundamentals

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Fundamentals are never fun. Fundamentals are never exciting. But fundamentals are necessary. NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan summed up the importance of fundamentals when he said, “The . . . Read more

'But They Don't Speak English!'

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When our daughters were 7 and 9 years old, being a military family (my husband was a naval officer), we received orders to move to Bahrain in the Middle East. This would be our next “new . . . Read more

Pit Bulls and Fallen Trees: A Message to Principals

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It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving break. As a busy elementary school principal, I spent the previous four days resting, relaxing, and gearing up for the mad dash to winter break. I renewed . . . Read more

Does 'All' Mean 'All?' Labels, Be Gone!

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[Photo courtesy of Kenneth Williams’ Defenders and Disruptors of the Status Quo: Who Will Educators Choose To Be? (2017)] Great teachers who truly want what is best for their students . . . Read more