Blog

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

Keeping Your Fire Stoked

thumb

If you live in Texas like I do, you know that anytime the weather gets below 80, we celebrate with all things fall! Pumpkin spice, boots, and s’mores around the fire pit! Recently, my family and I were enjoying... Read more

Critical Issues for Guiding Coalitions

thumb

Change is messy. Change is hard. Change is unpredictable. These are the types of phrases I have heard over the past few months as educators around the globe prepared for several changes to the . . . 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

Finding Your Team's Foundation With Fundamentals

thumb

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

Pit Bulls and Fallen Trees: A Message to Principals

thumb

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

The 10 Deadly Sins of Improvement

thumb

As an educator for more than 27 years in the heart of California, I have learned a great deal about the challenges educators face to improve outcomes for students. I have spent my entire . . . Read more

Walking the Walk (Even When You Stumble)

thumb

“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

There is an 'I' in TEAM

thumb

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

Leading the PLC Journey at the District Office

thumb

School districts have the unique opportunity and challenge of educating the diverse population they serve. We know there is compelling research on the impact that professional learning communities have on student achievement. As a result, shouldn’t all school districts take on the challenge of doing this work at the district level to ensure all of their schools are on this journey? Read more

The Case for Coaches in Professional Learning Communities

thumb

Instructional coaching is a balancing act of working with teams to help ensure the fidelity of the three big ideas of a PLC and also provide the time and support to individual teachers who need it. If members of a collaborative team become worried about individual teacher performance, then they can get derailed from focusing on the four critical questions that should be guiding their work. Read more

Team Within a Team

thumb

The Lakeland Joint School District serves 4,100 students in 11 schools. Our journey as a PLC has helped us focus on the three big ideas: learning, collaboration, and results. One of our greatest . . . Read more

Should We Be Worried About Rigor?

thumb

As schools across the country are digging more deeply into the work of the Common Core, teachers are beginning to understand why people are calling the standards more rigorous. Many teachers have . . . Read more