Tagged “Professional Learning Communities”

Klea Scharberg

How Did You Reflect and Recharge This Summer?

Summer for educators is often a time to look back on the past year—and look forward to the coming one. What worked, what didn't, and what will you change? Educating the whole child and planning for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement requires us to be "whole educators" who take the time to recharge, reflect, and reinvigorate.

Last summer the Whole Child Podcast highlighted educators' need to reflect, refresh, and recharge. ASCD's Kevin Scott was joined by ASCD Emerging Leader Program alumni Peter Badalament, principal of Concord-Carlisle High School in Massachusetts, and Jason Flom, director-elect at Cornerstone Learning Community in Florida where he was a founding teacher of the elementary school, to discuss their strategies for reflection.

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Laura Varlas

Are You Ready to Go Digital?

How many kids are going to check out a whole set of encyclopedias? With digital, they do it every day, without a second thought. But digital curriculum is not just about a bigger backpack or cramming more content into a smaller container, explained education innovator Hall Davidson in his 2014 ASCD Annual Conference session, "The New Book as the Old Backpack: The Unintended Consequences of Digital."

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Leading and Learning as a Principal

Post written by Ashley Allen, a master's student in communication management with an emphasis on marketing at the University of Southern California. She received her bachelor's degree from San Jose State University last spring and hopes to use her writing skills to make a difference.

Short on Time - ASCD AriasTeacher and principal job satisfaction is down, but Bill Sterrett, an education leadership professor, started off his 2014 ASCD Annual Conference session with some great ways to focus on the positives and bring satisfaction up. In his session and ASCD Arias publication of the same name, Short on Time: How do I make time to lead and learn as a principal?, he emphasized that although there will always be challenges in education, it is vital that educators and administrators bring attention to dedicated teachers, hardworking students, and the success of the school. Doing so can help create an uplifting and thriving environment. Some of Sterrett's quick tips include:

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Ashanti Foster

A Letter to My New Principal

Welcome to our school. I have been here for a few years so I wanted to be the first to officially greet you. I am excited to learn more about you and your leadership style. I can imagine that you'd like for me to be to work on time, have prepared lessons and execute them in a personalized manner for my students. I know you expect me to have my attendance done accurately daily and to respond to parent and student concerns in a timely manner. I pledge to do all of those things, so will you do a few things for me?

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

ICYMI: Principals Share Advice on Whole Child Podcast

Principals are the key players in developing the climate, culture, and processes in their schools. They are critical to implementing meaningful and lasting school change and in the ongoing school-improvement process. There is also no doubt that the role—or roles—of a principal has changed dramatically in recent years and will likely change even more in upcoming decades.

In a 2013 episode of the Whole Child Podcast, ASCD's Sean Slade and Donna Snyder are joined by Kevin Enerson, principal of Le Sueur-Henderson High School in Minnesota (an ASCD Whole Child Network school), and Jessica Bohn, principal of Gibsonville Elementary School in North Carolina and an ASCD Emerging Leader, to discuss the qualities principals in today's (and tomorrow's) schools need to fulfill their roles as visionary, instructional, influential, and learning leaders.

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Dawn Imada Chan

What Happens When You Believe

I was recently asked if I remember teachers or educators that made a difference in my life and learning and how they inspired me. Yes, for a while I was that "middle" kid. I was your student who came diligently every day to class, completes their work, and if given the choice, would have been perfectly happy blending into the background. I was eager about the world's possibilities (which you wouldn't have known unless you asked), but had little belief in myself that I would be a part of making a difference in it. I was the kid who had mastered the art of not being noticed, but not well enough to fool the untrained eyes of some of my teachers.

You, too, likely have had one of these teachers. The teachers who are passionate about their work and believe in the potential of each child, love their content area, but believe in the importance of making real connections with their students even more. They are the ones that make the most indelible impressions on your heart and their belief in you is what made you think differently about yourself so you could soar.

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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?

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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