Blog

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

Four Key Leadership Actions in Developing and Sustaining a PLC

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I was first introduced to the PLC process in 2004, and in the last 16 years as a school leader, I have been in the “arena” at all points of the journey of the PLC process. My . . . 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

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