Blog

The Three Big Ideas That Drive the Work for Lead Learners

thumb

“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

thumb

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

thumb

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

thumb

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

thumb

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

thumb

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

thumb

[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

thumb

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'

thumb

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

thumb

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

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?

thumb

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