Blog

From Theory to Practice: A Jigsaw Approach to an Elementary Master Schedule

Creating a highly collaborative school culture and high performing teams is multifaceted and can take many years to establish. Creating and maintaining a system of excellence is a hard job! Schools do not become great overnight and they certainly do not remain great without constant evaluation of systems and practices. The fundamental purpose of a school is learning, not teaching. Read more

Moving from a Belief to an Action

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In the summer of 2015, I met Dr. Sharon Kramer, Professional Learning Community, continuous school improvement guru and a mentor of mine. She asked the question: What do kids get? I was knocked off my feet as I could not necessarily answer her question. Read more

It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.

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The start of the 2020-21 school year has been anything but business as usual. We have found ourselves navigating uncharted territory, tasked with reimagining teaching and learning amidst a global pandemic. Read more

Assessing the Remote Learner

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Shifting to remote learning over a weekend and then starting the fall semester remotely has been a challenge for many teachers. Read more

In a Changing Time, Remember the Fundamentals

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So much of the national conversation has shifted towards reopening school to our students and to our communities. Locally, you may be hearing conversations about reopening to full in-person . . . Read more

Everything I Learned About Leadership, I Learned at Summer Camp

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I used to have the greatest summer job during college and my early years as a teacher. I spent 10 summers as a sports camp counselor in southern Missouri. I was fortunate to surround . . . 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

Leaning on Parents is NOT an 'Intervention'

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The joy of my life is my 10-year-old daughter, Reece. She’s beautiful and funny and smart and curious—and I’d do anything to help her succeed. That’s why her third-grade . . . Read more

'Better' Doesn't Happen All By Itself

My granddaddy used to say, “Tighten up every little chance you get. ‘Better’ doesn’t happen all by itself.” And my granddaddy was always right. (With the exception . . . Read more

Redesigning Our Schools: How Can We Do That?

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I recently had the opportunity to attend the RTI at Work Institute™ in Edmonton, Canada. One of the great things about attending a Solution Tree Institute is the opportunity to learn alongside educators from all over North America. The opportunity to hear different perspectives and ways of thinking around the school improvement process is an invaluable learning experience. Read more

Collaboratively Designing and Delivering Lessons: The Instructional Diamond

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Since the work of Madeline Hunter, a lot has changed in education. We now have ample resources and robust technologies that can provide engaging, vivid experiences for students. More important, we have much more research about teaching and learning than we ever have previously. We know more about how students learn. Even with all these changes, the framework for building lesson plans and delivering instruction has not evolved. Read more

Are you a tutor or teacher?

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In one of the schools where I work, the principal once commented that it makes a difference if you believe yourself to be a tutor or a teacher. We discussed it further, and she shared her belief that living as a PLC helped pave the way for many of her teachers to make the shift. Read more

How Hundred Day Plans Sustain a Culture of Continuous Improvement

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You’re feeling good – you have created demand for modeling your school as a PLC and have structures in place to answer the key questions. You are making progress along the PLC journey… Well, you think you are. Or perhaps your PLC is stagnant; you are not seeing progress or you are not sure about how to measure it. Or maybe your school is just beginning the PLC journey and you are questioning how to monitor the first stages, especially since small wins are essential in the beginning to sustain the momentum. Or perhaps you’re wrestling with when and how to lay out the next steps of your school’s improvement work and are trying to determine how it fits into the larger school improvement plan. Read more

Curriculum Pacing – are we focused on coverage or learning?

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My job as a Support Counselor is to help students be able to manage their stress in healthy and productive ways; and as a PLC Associate, I can’t help but think about how different our school will be once we master a shift of practice from teaching to one of learning. Read more

Harnessing the Collaborative Power of the Four Critical Questions of a Professional Learning Community

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With so many demands on curricular teams these days collaborative time can quickly be sacrificed for coordination tasks such as scheduling events, casual dialogues of best practice, rote test modifications, and adjusting curricular pacing guides, to name a few. This kind of collaboration tends to produce shallow curricular changes, narrow instruction adjustments, non-timely remediation, and superficial assessment modifications. Read more