Blog

PLCs: Super Bowls and Super Systems

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Now that football season is officially over and Tom Brady has permanently secured his place as the greatest quarterback of all time, I cannot help but think of the plethora of parallels that exist . . . 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

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

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

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

PLC: The Catalyst for Change at Eastside Elementary

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Change and education go hand in hand. As Principal of Eastside Elementary, I can attest to the positive change from the two years as a PLC pilot school partnering with Solution Tree and Arkansas Department of Education. President Obama stated, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” This quote rings true for my staff, because they have truly embraced the process. If you were to ask an Eastside team member, they would say change has taken place by our work becoming more clear and focused. Read more

Put the “R” back into RTI by Reconnecting to the PLC at Work™ Model

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Many schools are frustrated by their attempts to answer Question 3 of the PLC at Work™ process, “How will we respond when students don’t learn it?” In many cases, this frustration is caused by the fact that they are attempting to answer Question 3 before answering Question 1, “What is it we want all students to know and be able to do?” In other words, what do we want all students to learn? Read more

Connecting PLCs and RTI

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The fundamental purpose of the Professional Learning Community process is captured in Big Idea #1: When a school or district functions as a PLC, educators within the organization embrace high levels of learning for all students as the reason the organization exists and the fundamental responsibility of those who work within it. (DuFour et all, 2016) Read more

New Twists on the Old Exam Week

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Over the past few years, our district and our school staff have been working to improve our assessment practices. Most of this has been centered around AFL: Assessment for Learning. In our high . . . Read more

No Excuses for No Homework

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I’d wager that most middle grades teachers spend incredible amounts of time dealing with students and their homework issues. I’m also willing to bet that homework plays a major role in . . . Read more

When Homework Is Not Being Done at Home

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Whenever I present on effective interventions, one of the most common questions I receive is: “Too many of our students just won’t try . . . how do we motivate them to do their . . . Read more

Driven by DIVAS (Data, Instruction, Varied Assessments, and Supports)

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How do educators focus on improving student achievement when demographics and performance challenges seem insurmountable? The teachers at Licking Heights High School recently addressed this . . . Read more

The Seven I’s

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As principal of Viers Mill Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland, from 1997 to 2005, I learned a great deal about the benefits of operating as a professional learning community (PLC). As a community, we tried to keep our focus on the four critical questions… Read more

Special Education Used as Intervention

Isn’t the system of interventions what special education is designed to do? Some people think the PLC concept is just another version of special education. They suggest, “If the kids can’t cut it, why not just put them in special education? That’s why we have it… Read more