All educators want to improve the work they do for students, their families, and the community. Whether it's instruction, school climate, leadership, family engagement, or any of the other issues schools face on a daily basis, all educators need tools to help them improve their actions and methods. A whole child approach sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success.
Education Week's 2013 Quality Counts report investigated the effect of a school's social and disciplinary environment on students' ability to learn and the educators responsible for teaching them. Watch this video to explore some of the ways to configure school design to support a positive school culture. Discover how some schools are creating flexible, adaptable learning spaces that encourage collaboration and reimagine schools as student-centered communities of learners.
March 2014 issue of Educational Leadership explores the many ways teachers can use assessments to help students learn. Articles in this issue look at how educators can use assessments thoughtfully to help students move forward.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer notes that it's not a revelation that teachers' daily assessment practices improve learning more than standardized tests. She writes
From building relationships to delivering a lesson that is challenging, engaging, and, sometimes, entertaining, teaching is very much a performance art that must be practiced on one's feet. Formative assessment presents another challenge—and requires sophisticated but quieter skills: observation, questioning, reflection. Teachers' daily ongoing practice puts the pieces together—and this practice has more potential to improve learning than all the high-stakes tests put together. It's no revelation, but something we have known all along.
As educators, we are the gatekeepers for society and the nurturers of individuals. We have an obligation to teach all students, but some are really hard to teach. How can we promote safety and success for all, while supporting our challenging students to grow and learn?
In this webinar, Jeffrey Benson, author of the ASCD book Hanging In: Strategies for Teaching the Students Who Challenge Us Most, helps you know what you can do now for a challenging student in your school. From that focus on one student, he explains how you can enrich your team's capacity to hang in with many students. With powerful stories of students he's worked with and a compassionate, empowering mind-set, Benson provides areas to focus on and a graphic organizer to help you identify positive and negative influences on student achievement.
Educators working in a positive school culture experience collegiality, trust, and tangible support as leaders and peers, creating an environment where there are high expectations, involvement in decision making, and open communication. Students entering a positive school culture feel safe, engaged, and connected and see school as a place where they can learn and contribute to the world around them. A positive school culture—morale—is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement.
School cultures should support, reinforce, and reflect the well-being of everyone in it, ensuring that students and adults feel valued, respected, and cared for and are motivated to learn, lead, and teach. Join us throughout February and March as we discuss how to build school morale so that administrators, teachers, students, and parents are energized and positive about learning. What practices build morale; empower leaders; and promote trust, mutual respect, and celebration? How can the demands of accountability and high expectations be realized without affecting a positive culture?
February 2014 issue of Educational Leadership explores why schools must become happier places for educators and how they can make it happen. Articles in this issue discuss both the reality that educators feel underappreciated and the small—or radical—changes everyone connected to schools can make to give educators reasons for optimism.
In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer notes that it's easy to list problems that contribute to low morale, but what is it that builds high morale? How do we rise above the anger and apathy engendered by simultaneously being treated as objects of distrust and being expected to change the world?
What is the iCitizen Project? Whole Child Podcast guest Beth Sanders, a high school social studies teacher at Tarrant High School in Alabama who was named an Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2013 and 2013 Teacher of the Year for Tarrant City Schools, explains:
Recently ASCD's Educational Leadership staff were contacted by a reader who, while doing research, came across an article from the December 1992/January 1993 issue on students at risk that struck close to his personal experience. He wrote,
Having come from an abusive home and just recently graduated, I think this needs to be read by every educator. I grew up middle class, and was a very "bright" student. I was beaten regularly, and I had many of these markers. I remember trying to tell a teacher about my situation, and her laughing me off. I have dealt with my issues, but I was hoping you could somehow market or re-publish this article, although it was originally published 20 years ago. I believe it needs to be seen.
This week, IBM released its annual predictions of the five technology innovations that will change the way we live in the next five years: The 5 in 5. This year's predictions center around emerging computing systems that will learn, reason, and engage with us in a more personalized way.
This past weekend marked one year since the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. During this time, we read, listened to, and participated in discussions on how to keep our schools safe and secure. And also during this time, at least 25 school shootings have occurred, including Friday's shooting at Arapahoe High School in Colorado. School safety is a complicated issue with no single or simple solution.