Tagged “Leadership”

Jeffrey Benson

Four Frames for Principals, New and Experienced

I was working with an elementary principal. One of the school's 3rd grade classes had given him a list of responsibilities they assumed formed his job. He showed me the list and chuckled, until he got to an item that he said made him shudder far more than smile: "You fix everything."

That overwhelming mandate contains a big piece of the truth: almost everything that happens in the school is ultimately the responsibility of the principal. What is equally valid is the reality that one person cannot know everything, be everywhere, prevent all problems, and fix everything.

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Klea Scharberg

What Advice Do You Have for New Principals?

As the key players in developing the climate, culture, and processes in their schools, principals are critical to implementing meaningful and lasting change in the ongoing school-improvement process. Those who have a clear vision; inspire and engage others in embracing change for improvement; drive, facilitate, and monitor the teaching and learning process; and foster a cohesive culture of learning lead our schools in ensuring that each student—and school staff member—is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

From July 21 through August 1, we'll be sharing advice for new principal leaders—those who are new to the role or new to a school. What advice do you have for new principals? Are you (or have you been) a principal and have a story or experience to share?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

How Do We Build Systems for All Learners?

All the talk of closing the achievement gap in schools obscures a more fundamental issue: do the grades we assign to students truly reflect the extent of their learning? In a new ASCD book, Grading Smarter, Not Harder, Myron Dueck reveals how many of the assessment policies that teachers adopt can actually prove detrimental to student motivation and achievement and shows how we can tailor policies to address what really matters: student understanding of content.

In this video, Dueck tells the story of how he saw the flaws in penalty-driven grading by trying to get his son to brush his teeth.

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Kevin T. Goddard

Motivation Matters

Middle school kids are a different breed. If you aren't motivating them, they are not learning. In fact, they are probably tearing something up if motivation isn't in the picture. During my years as a middle school principal, I figured out that building a school culture with character education, fun, and a sense of belonging was key to improving student achievement.

The year before I arrived at a junior high of 510 students, teachers sent students 5,090 times to the office for disciplinary infractions. Discipline was handled in three different ways: kick the kid out, let the kid sit on the bench outside the office and go to their next class with no consequence, or paddle them. The school board was very adamant that this building culture change.

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Walter McKenzie

MI21: Multiple Intelligences and Preparing Children for the 21st Century

Society is quickly shifting, and so with it shifts the dialog about meaningfully learning and contributing. What used to pass for preparation to participate in a democratic society with a free market economy no longer holds true. Public schools currently reflect the 1900s more than the 2000s, even as education bureaucracy has clamped down and locked in on traditional, measurable standards and assessments. Instead of opening things up to the marketplace of ideas, public schools have opened themselves up to the assessment and technology marketplace, investing in solutions to document and justify the last century's ideals.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Reflect or Refract: Top 3 Tips for the Reflective Educator

Post written by Barry Saide and Jasper Fox, Sr.

The dictionary definition of reflection states that reflection is light bouncing off a flat plane and returning back at the same angle. This allows us to see an image clearly, like when looking in a mirror. Reflection is an almost perfect representation. If the light bends prior to it returning, it's called refraction. What was once a perfect view becomes hazy, the representation distorted.

When applying these terms to education, how often do we reflect vs. refract?

Reflecting on our own pedagogy and practice takes a confident mindset. We need to be secure with ourselves in order to be open to honest feedback from others, admit mistakes made during delivery of instruction, and self-identify possible solutions for why things didn't go as planned. Reflectors do not blame students for their inattentiveness or behavioral issues. They identify ways to maintain consistent engagement and involvement throughout the learning process. If many students do not get the correct answer, the default response of a reflective teacher is not to state: "I don't know why they didn't get it—I taught it!" Instead, the reflective teacher reviews their approach to teaching the concept, and will try a new approach the next day. Reflectors know not all students understand content delivered the first time because reflective teachers are lifelong students, and may not have grasped content presented to them at some point, too.

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Jason Flom

Keeping a Hidden Population Safe at School

What percentage of students is it okay to let feel unsafe at school?

  1. 0 percent
  2. 1 percent
  3. 5 percent
  4. 10 percent

You, like me, probably answered zero percent. As an educator dedicated to a whole child approach to education, you recognize the value of each and every learner.

What if I told you we have allowed (albeit unintentionally in most cases), if not contributed to, an entire population of students feeling unsafe at school? A population of students you are most likely rooting for as they enter adulthood and pursue equal rights.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Encourage Student Passions with Genius Hour

Founded on an innovation championed by businesses like FedEx and Google, "the genius hour" sets aside school time (at least an hour, every week) for students to work on something they are passionate about. This video outlines some basic tenets of implementing "genius hour" programming at your school and points to further resources (tutorials, lesson ideas, and connections to other educators) at www.geniushour.com.

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Leader to Leader

Got Questions on Differentiated Instruction? Join the #ASCDL2L Chat!

#ASCDL2L - July 2014On Tuesday night, July 1, from 8–9 p.m. eastern time, join ASCD leaders and educators on Twitter for an #ASCDL2L chat discussing Differentiated Instruction in the 21st century. Carol Ann Tomlinson (@cat3y) will be the special guest author, 2013 Emerging Leader PJ Caposey (@MCUSDSupe) will moderate, and Education Week Teacher (@EdWeekTeacher) will be the guest host. We can' t wait to see you there!

#ASCDL2L is a Twitter conversation for education leaders with monthly chats facilitated by ASCD leaders. If you care about improving the way educators learn, teach, and lead, join the #ASCDL2L conversation. Add your voice to our online community of educators.

Kevin Scott

It’s the End of the Year as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

My oldest son is ending his elementary school career this week and I've been taking some time to reflect on his life and on my experiences as a teacher and educator. The end of year celebrations are a huge time drain and struggle as a teacher, but as a parent, it's one of the few times we are able to peek into the world own kids live in on a daily basis.

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