Blog

Critical Issues for Guiding Coalitions

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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

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

Even Now, It's About Culture and Vision

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We have been through the wringer. Wait—certainly, we are still mid-wringer. With so much disruption and uncertainty over the past few months, it feels like we are trying to navigate a course . . . 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

Key Turning Points

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I had read and memorized these words: “One of the most damaging myths about school leadership is that the change process, if managed well, will proceed smoothly” (DuFour, DuFour, . . . 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

An Administrator's Perspective for PLC Meetings

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There is an age-old question—If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? Here’s another question—If a collaborative team meeting takes . . . 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

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

Seven Norms for Collaborative Teams

During our first year working in the district office, we had monthly district grade-level meetings led by teachers who set agendas, provided oversight to the meetings, and facilitated . . . 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

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