Blog

A Book Review: PLC+ Better Decisions and Greater Impact by Design

I became a champion of the PLC process fifteen years ago, when I started working in a school that opened as a professional learning community. What left me so jazzed about the PLC process was . . . Read more

PLCs: The Path to Educational Equity

At Alisal, we know that being a Professional Learning Community means focusing on efforts on the four crticial questions. We know that we use data, not feelings, to drive what takes place in our . . . Read more

Pandemic Provides New Lens for Clear Mission

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Over the past 17 years, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with a wide variety of schools. Some of them were public, others private or charter schools. Some were comprised of students from . . . Read more

Mrs. Gorman Changed My Life

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Not in an awe-inspiring, mind-blowing, hoping-Disney-buys-the-movie-rights type of way. But she was a life-changing teacher nonetheless. She was my English teacher in 1985, during my 7th-grade year at Richardson North Jr. High School in Texas. 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

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

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

Game On

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My phone rang that Sunday and, on the line, I heard my 18-year-old son’s quivering voice say, “Dad, Kobe died.” I sat in the car stunned. I turned on the radio to find out . . . Read more

Finding Your Team's Foundation With Fundamentals

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Fundamentals are never fun. Fundamentals are never exciting. But fundamentals are necessary. NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan summed up the importance of fundamentals when he said, “The . . . Read more

Does 'All' Mean 'All?' Labels, Be Gone!

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[Photo courtesy of Kenneth Williams’ Defenders and Disruptors of the Status Quo: Who Will Educators Choose To Be? (2017)] Great teachers who truly want what is best for their students . . . 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

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

There is an 'I' in TEAM

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Like many educational terms, we throw them around and often use them loosely. I find we often use the term “team” in this manner. “We are a great team.” “I . . . 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

PLC Collaboration: District and School Leaders

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Our district went through an organizational reorg during the 2018-2019 school year. As we morphed into the school year, we wanted to work on improving PLCs. Each level in Jefferson County Schools has a team of district resource teachers to provide support for schools. We have been working with the schools on becoming highly effective PLCs. Our ELA resource teacher created a learning walk tool, PLC Check In, we could use when visiting collaborative teams. My administrative assistant and I looked at the weekly reports to monitor what was taking place during the week. Read more