Blog

Leading and Monitoring the Work of Teams While Incorporating Virtual, Face-to-Face, and Blended Instruction

When I began my new journey as a secondary school principal in the summer of 2019, everything was relatively normal—meeting new staff, identifying great things happening at the school and . . . Read more

Pandemic Proved Importance of PLCs

At the start of the pandemic, our teachers struggled to know what to teach, how to teach, and most importantly, how to ensure high levels of learning for their students in a remote format, despite . . . Read more

The Three Big Ideas That Drive the Work for Lead Learners

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“The most powerful and effective role the principal assumes is that of lead learner, not expert or ‘all knowing one.’” (Kramer & Schuhl, 2017, p.9) Phew...now . . . Read more

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

Saving Grace

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I believe it is fair to say that we are going through a significant trial, and some may even say, a crisis. Experiencing a months-long school shutdown was not something I had ever . . . Read more

Our Mission Remains Clear: Focusing on Student Results

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In this world of uncertainty, where everything is changing by the hour—wait, by the minute!—there are crucial questions that need to be answered. How do we continue to ensure that . . . Read more

How PLCs Guided Our Work Through the COVID Crisis

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As the dynamics in education across the world changed in March and the months after, so did the thoughts of many educational professionals. Leading a large urban-suburban high school provided . . . Read more

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

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

'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

Staying the Course with a Smart Assessment Plan

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It’s a cool Saturday morning in October. Everybody is gathered at the Tim Nixon Invitational Cross Country meet in Liberty, Missouri. Parents gather on the sideline straining in . . . 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