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

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

'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

Develop a Collective Commitment Calendar to Ensure PLC Success

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Rick DuFour details the litany of expectations thrust on today’s teachers and administrators in his book, In Praise of American Educators. Unfortunately, many educators grapple with punitive . . . Read more

'Equitable' Means 'All'

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As a fledgling educator in Dallas Independent School District, where the majority of my students were English Language Learners, I quickly realized a few things: much like my family’s . . . Read more

Walking the Walk (Even When You Stumble)

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“I swear we just said goodbye to our students in June just last week!” “It’s probably because the polar vortex added extra days to the end of last year, but this summer . . . 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

Understanding the 'What'

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While I was a school principal, our teams went into the PLC process with the aim of meeting each and every student where they were. Our mission was to collectively support all learners in moving . . . Read more

The PLC Journey Starts With Community

“What is labeled as ‘fluff’ is more often the stuff of leadership and culture.” —Terrence Deal, Kent Peterson, Shaping School Culture While the word . . . 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