We just welcomed our teachers and students back to school. It was hard work to prepare for all the moving parts that make up master schedules, professional development, and schedule pick-ups.
But there is also great satisfaction in having everyone back and knowing we’ve had a successful launch.
Each year I try to remember that the first days with our school team are as important as their first days with students.
New Teachers During time with new teacher orientation, I shared some reminders that also apply to the entire school community. Here are four start-of-the-year tidbits followed by some free resources you may find helpful:
1. Explore and define expectations for success. Each year is different from the next. With our school team, we try to create a focus for the school year. This year, for instance, we are trying to brainstorm creative ways to support struggling students while maintaining strong rigor.
Start by asking: If failure was not an option, what goals would you reach with students this year?
How do you create the right environment for this to happen within each classroom?
2. Set Ground-rules For Behavior In addition to defining expectations, I suggest operating with three basic classroom management expectations for students: Paying Attention, Participating, and Being Respectful.
Those three categories cover most behaviors you can anticipate, and they serve as an umbrella for learning.
Paying attention means being focused, alert, arriving on time, and planning ahead.
Participating means jumping in, not being a bystander, coming prepared, actively engaging with others, and completing tasks on time.
Being respectful means treating yourself and others how you would like to be treated. It minimizes conflicts. It doesn’t eliminate conflict since challenges are inevitable, but treating others with respect reduces the potential for drama.
In this article, Julian Vasquez Heilig, Keffrelyn Brown, and Anthony Brown offer findings from a close textual analysis of how the Texas social studies standards address race, racism, and communities of color. Using the lens of Critical Race Theory, the authors uncover the sometimes subtle ways that the standards can appear to adequately address race while at the same time marginalizing it—the “illusion of inclusion.” Their study offers insight into the mechanisms of marginalization in standards and a model of how to closely analyze such standards, which, the authors argue, is increasingly important as the standards and accountability movements continue to grow in influence.
Well, the textbooks based on the Texas State Board of Education’s revision to the Texas social studies standards are likely headed to a classroom in Texas and perhaps near you (if your state adopts this nonsense). Today MSNBC wrote
A [Texas] textbook based on the same controversial standards suggests Jim Crow sometimes wasn’t that big of a deal. “Under segregation, all-white and all-African American schools sometimes had similar buildings, buses, and teachers,” it says. “Sometimes, however, the buildings, buses, and teachers for the all-black schools were lower in quality.”
And a U.S. history textbook mentions segregation only in a passing reference to the 1948 integration of the armed forces.
The Republican Party doesn’t appear to like history that includes critical and diverse perspectives. MSNBC also wrote
Even the national Republican Party is focused on the issue. Last month, when the College Board released a new “curriculum framework” for the U.S. history test that involves a greater focus on women and minorities, the Republican National Committee called it a “radically revisionist view of American
Attorney for Supt. Deasy asks for L.A. school board emails
An attorney representing Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy is seeking records that would explore possible links between school board members and technology vendors.
The request opens a new front in the fallout over a contract between the L.A. Unified School District and Apple. Up until now, the focus has been on communications that Deasy and his team had with Apple, which supplied the iPad, and with Pearson, the company that provided the curriculum on the device.
The contract was the central piece in a $1.3-billion effort to provide a computer to every student, teacher and campus administrator in the nation’s second-largest school system. Deasy recently suspended future purchases under that contract. He has denied any improprieties in connection to it.
The district’s inspector general also has begun reviewing communications among the two companies, Deasy and then-Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino, who left the district at the end of 2013.
Deasy, through his attorney, Harvey I. Saferstein, is now apparently attempting to unearth any possible ties between board members and technology companies.
Part of Deasy’s defense has been that contacts with vendors are routine, even when they occur prior to the start of a bidding process. He also noted that board members meet with and accept campaign donations from companies and then later must vote on contracts involving these firms.
Deasy declined to comment about the records request. Saferstein could not be reached.
A request dated Sept. 10 targets board members George McKenna, Monica Garcia, Tamar Galatzan, Steve Zimmer and Bennett Kayser. It seeks “all meeting notes and correspondence (including emails and letters)” from Jan. 1, 2012, through Sept. 1, 2014, involving board members, their staff and a list of 18 technology companies.
The companies include Lenovo, Microsoft, Apple, Toshiba, Dell, HP or Meg Whitman, Acer, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Amplify Education Inc. or Joel Klein and News Corp.
The fiscal failures of Chris Christie are well-documented at this point: huge budget woes, no payments to the pension that were required under his own plan, bond ratings in a downward spiral, and the withering of Atlantic City's gaming industry have all occurred on Christie's watch.But we should also take a moment to acknowledge the failure of Governor Christie to competently administer the four l
Jersey Jazzman: @BobBraunsLedger is Right About the Newark Teachers Union & One NewarkLet me start this piece by reiterating one of the primary missions of this blog: I am pro-teacher and pro-union. I believe this country was better off when we had more union membership, and I believe teachers are better positioned to advocate for themselves and their students when they form unions.I am also s
“…we’ need to recognize that: * Change isn’t usually easy. * Change only happens when we create a need. * Change is not a thought or a discussion, but an action. * The time to act is now.
“If it’s important, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
The idea is simple. The greater the importance we place on something, the greater the challenge we are willing to face. We will find a way! However, if it is not important enough, then it is much easier to make excuses than it is to make the effort to face the challenge or to change.
Change happens when: Importance > Challenge.“
Despite saying, ‘the idea is simple’, I’ve come to realize that there are a few nuances about the original image that could be explained in a bit more detail than I provided. I’ve also created a couple more images, ‘Resisting Change’ and ‘Inspiring Change’ to contribute further to the conversation on change. If change happens when importance is greater than challenges, what can we do to increase importance and reduce challenges?
1. Embracing Change
One of the key elements of this image is the 1:1 relationship represented by the 45 degree slope. Any point on that slope (where I’ve placed the stairs) has the relationship of Importance = Challenge. Anywhere above that slope represents a point where Importance is greater than Challenge (and so we are likely to find a way to change). Anywhere below the slope represents a point where Challenge is greater than Importance (and so we are likely to find the challenge too great to change).
So ultimately, when we are implementing change we would want to create an environment where we either increase the importance or where we decrease the challenges we face. Accepting a 1:1 ratio is not leading. Furthermore, without 3 Images on Leading Change | Connected Principals:
Big Education Ape - Mid Day Banana BreakThe teaching profession is becoming less gray and less green, but more teachers are leaving poor schoolsMuch ink has been devoted to the teaching profession’s increasingly gray and green complexion — the profusion of teachers at the two extremes of the age spectrum. There are lots of veteran teachers older than 50. Meanwhile, school systems have hired hundre
NEA President Salutes Florida Educators For Focusing on the Whole Child | NEA Today: NEA President Salutes Florida Educators For Focusing on the Whole ChildSeptember 11, 2014 by twalker Filed under Featured News, Top StoriesBy Brenda ÁlvarezNEA President Lily Eskelsen García traveled to Florida this past week (Sep. 4-5) as part of the Association’s Back-to-School tour, where she visited schools i
So There’s A Moratorium. Now What? | Taking Note: So There’s A Moratorium. Now What?by JOHN MERROW on 11. SEP, 2014 in 2014 BLOGS, COMMON CORE Those seeking a moratorium on using high stakes tests to judge teachers seem to have gotten what they asked for. What happens now?Remember that a “moratorium” is nothing more than ‘a suspension of activity.’ It does not imply any pro-active behavior or a r
Embrace The Common Core – IQ2 Debates: Illustration by Thomas JamesTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2014In K-12 education, there is nothing more controversial than the Common Core State Standards, national academic standards in English and math. Adopted by more than 40 states, they were developed, in part, to address concerns that American students were falling behind their foreign counterparts and graduati
Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Byrd-Bennett promised not to close any more schools. But that doesn't mean she can't militarize them.: Byrd-Bennett promised not to close any more schools. But that doesn't mean she can't militarize them.Study war no more...?The Sun-Times reports:No teachers teach in this school. No students are enrolled. It has nearly no budget. The principal sits miles away in anot
New York Times Ignored Teacher Input on Eva Moskowitz | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.: New York Times Ignored Teacher Input on Eva MoskowitzThe September 7th New York Times Magazine ran a story by Daniel Bergner called “The Battle for New York Schools: Eva Moskowitz vs. Mayor Bill de Blasio”. Bergner’s piece reads as an astonishing piece of hagiography to appear in the paper of record, ignoring any substant
Louisiana Educator: Higher Student Expectations?: Higher Student Expectations?What is an acceptable level of performance for an 8th grade math student? All public school teachers are required to set student learning targets (SLTs) each year for each classroom of students. Where should the passing scores be set and what is an acceptable level of student failure? One good point of reference should b
LA School Report - What's Really Going on Inside LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District): Morning Read: LA Unified board enforces email deletion ruleMorning Read: LA Unified board enforces email deletion rule L.A. school board approves contract to destroy emails after a year The Los Angeles Unified School District took steps this week to enforce rules under which emails are deleted after one y
CURMUDGUCATION: Forever Less Than, Frederick Douglass, and No ExcusesMy esteemed colleague and exceptional citizen journalist over at Edushyster has an interview up that is well worth your time to read.She talks to Joan Goodman, director of the TFA program at U Penn, about the no excuse charters of Philadelphia (among other things, the piece is a reminder that we can not knee-jerkingly sort good g
New Testing Makes No Sense | The Crucial Voice of the People: New Testing Makes No Sense Two “Super Supers” came to Idaho to bring us their wisdom. It is always good to listen to the voices of experience; it helps clarify things. It certainly threw light on some issues for me.Dr. David P. Driscoll (MA) and Dr. Eric Smith (FL) were brought to Idaho by the Albertson Foundation, which has been financ
Principals’ Perspectives on Value-Added |: Principals’ Perspectives on Value-AddedPrincipals are not using recent teacher evaluation data, including data from value-added assessment systems, student surveys, and other student achievement indicators, to inform decisions about hiring, placements, and professional development, according to findings from a research study recently released by researche
Lecker: Our real national standards - StamfordAdvocate: Lecker: Our real national standardsWe now know that the fiction that the Common Core State Standards are nationally agreed-upon standards that grew from some grassroots movement in the states is manufactured hype. It is now broadly understood that these standards were developed behind closed doors under the direction of two private organizati
BIG EDUCATION APE - MORNING WINK AM POSTSWe coddle bad cops, vilify good teachers - Salon.comWe coddle bad cops, vilify good teachers - Salon.com: We coddle bad cops, vilify good teachersWe defer to cops even when they kill, and scapegoat schools for the ills America has given up on. This must changePAUL ROSENBERG Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan in "The Departed" (Credit: Warner Bros. Ente
We coddle bad cops, vilify good teachers - Salon.com: We coddle bad cops, vilify good teachersWe defer to cops even when they kill, and scapegoat schools for the ills America has given up on. This must changePAUL ROSENBERG Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan in "The Departed" (Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)The killing of Michael Brown brought a great many things into focus — so many t
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all: Frank Breslin: A Moral Vision of SchoolingThese days we seem to have forgotten what schools are for. Our national leaders see them only as economic institutions, preparing students for careers and college. Business leaders see them as workplace training. Frank Breslin, a retired high school teacher of German, Latin, and history, ha
Ed Notes Online: We coddle bad cops, vilify good teachers - Salon.comWe defer to cops even when they kill, and scapegoat schools for the ills America has given up on. This must change ---Paul RosenbergIn my inept manner, I've been trying to make this point. Teachers: Wear Blue Handcuffs on Tuesday to Suppor...Thanks to Vera for coming to my rescue: Vera Pavone: Why there must be accountability for
K-12 Leaders & Laggards Circa 2014: How the States Are Doing :: Frederick M. Hess: K-12 Leaders & Laggards Circa 2014: How the States Are Doingby Frederick M. Hess • Sep 11, 2014 at 10:04 amCross-posted from Education Week Print Send RSS ShareToday the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is releasing its 2014 report Leaders & Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on K-12 Educational Effectiven
Wait What?: CEA Education Forum 2014 – September 13, 2014The Connecticut Education Association will be holding their forum with the gubernatorial candidates on Saturday, September 13, 2014 with a follow up CEA Political Action Committee meeting scheduled for September 17, 2014. Having fallen short on the number of signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot, I will not be participating, b
Fred Klonsky | Daily posts from a retired public school teacher who is just looking at the data.: Chicago Tonight. Pension debate goes AWOL in the governor’s race.Click here for link to WTTW Chicago Tonight. There were Ralph Martire, Dan Montgomery, Bruce Dold and John Tillman to talk about pension reform and the Illinois Governor’s race on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. Host Carol Marin laughingly calle
Answer Sheet: Kindergarten teacher: ‘There is a good possibility I will be fired but…’Teachers are increasingly speaking up about the onslaught of standardized tests that students in all grades — including kindergarten — are required to take in public schools today. Some are refusing to administer the tests, which can result in a teacher being dismissed for a breach of contract. Here is a letter
Shanker Blog » The Fatal Flaw Of Education Reform: The Fatal Flaw Of Education ReformPosted by Matthew Di Carlo on September 11, 2014In the most simplistic portrayal of the education policy landscape, one of the “sides” is a group of people who are referred to as “reformers.” Though far from monolithic, these people tend to advocate for test-based accountability, charters/choice, overhauling teach
Seattle Schools Community Forum: The District's Real ResponseThis is good news.It's beginning to look like Seattle Public Schools is finally going to take real action in response to the reported rape of November, 2012 and how that case exposed district failures in both prevention and response to sexual assault and harassment complaints. The real action from the District now includes improvements t
Schools Matter: The Common Core Dissertation on 9 + 6by Jim Horn / 1min hide // savePrimary Common Core Math Termsfrom Boerne County, TX ISD:2 by Jim Horn / 10min 9-10-14 Schools Matter All WeekSchools Matter: Outraged at the coreSent to the Washington Post, September 9, 2014The Post says that progressives are "uncomfortable with the role of the Gates foundation and new tests associated wit
4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: Updated: LA SCHOOL BOARD TO RECONSIDER ITS EMAIL ARCHIVING POLICY by Annie Gilbertson| 89.3 KPCC | http://bit.ly/1owOzcV School board member Monica Ratliff in her former classroom at San Pedro Street Elementary. Rebecca Hill/KPCC September 10, 06:11 PM :: The Los Angeles Unified School District said Wednesday the board will revisit its email archiv
With A Brooklyn Accent: The California PAR Program- How Teachers Unions Have Collaborated in the Removal of Veteran Teachers and Helped “Whiten” The Teaching Profession.During the last fifteen years, the teaching profession in the United States has undergone a massive upheaval. The average length of a teaching career has declined to 5 years; many veteran teachers have left the profession, either v
the becoming radical | A Place for a Pedagogy of Kindness (the public and scholarly writing by P. L. Thomas, Furman University): Imagine: On Bravado and Humility, 11 September 2014On the eve of 9/11 2014, President Obama admitted, “Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat,” adding: We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great ha
Hemlock on the Rocks: Garcetti endorses Torlakson in state superintendent racehttp://laschoolreport.com/garcetti-endorses-torlakson-state-superintendent-race/ Garcetti endorses Torlakson in state superintendent race Mayor Garcetti Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today endorsed state Superintendent Tom Torlakson in his bid for reelection against Marshall Tuck, a former charter school executive. Cit
Perdido Street School: De Blasio Caves To Charter School SectorIf there was ever a time when Mayor de Blasio could tell Governor Cuomo to go @#$% himself, this is the time.Cuomo needed de Blasio's help in securing the Working Families Party ballot line last May, something that was very important to Cuomo since the woman who might have gotten that line had de Blasio not helped Cuomo out - Zephry Te
We will not be silent: What parents want around state accountability | Philadelphia Public School Notebook: We will not be silent: What parents want around state accountabilityBy Helen Gym on Sep 11, 2014 09:38 AMShare on emailMore Sharing ServicesCOMMENTS (0)PRINTPhoto: Parent United for Public EducationParents United's Robin Roberts, with Sen. Larry Farnese (3rd from right) and Sen. Vincent Hugh
empathyeducates – The Wal-Mart-ization of Education: Wal-Mart Wants Classrooms to Run More Like a Business, Teachers Are Fighting Back: The Wal-Mart-ization of Education: Wal-Mart Wants Classrooms to Run More Like a Business, Teachers Are Fighting BackWalMart | FacebookBy Randi Weingarten and Joe Hansen | Originally Publish at Huffington Post. September 3, 2014 12 PM EDT Updated: September 3, 2014
9/11/2014 – Real Leadership For Education Progress: 9/11/2014 – Real Leadership For Education ProgressSeptember 10, 2014 SubscribeTHIS WEEK: U.S. Teachers Work Harder For Less … We’re #1 On Cutting Education Spending … Anti-Testing Movement Grows … Teaching In Ferguson … Government Partnering With College Debt CollectorsTOP STORYRecognizing Real Leadership For Education Progress: Mayor Bill de Bla
The recent visual and virtual reminder of the need for strong student privacy laws | Crazy Crawfish's Blog: Crazy Crawfish's BlogZesty Louisiana Education PoliticsThe recent visual and virtual reminder of the need for strong student privacy lawsPosted on September 11, 20142I think the internet just exploded. At least, that’s what I’m thinking based on the number of articles I’ve seen come out in t
Texas School Funding Once Again Ruled Unconstitutional | janresseger: Texas School Funding Once Again Ruled UnconstitutionalPosted on September 11, 2014 by janressegerFor a at least a dozen years now we’ve been operating across the country as though we can simply command that public schools do better and expect them to accommodate our expectations. Nothing required of us at all as citizens. Teache
#Commoncore Proponents Roll Out New Video: Make the Grandfather Look Stupid. That’s the Ticket. | Missouri Education Watchdog: #Commoncore Proponents Roll Out New Video: Make the Grandfather Look Stupid. That’s the Ticket.The Common Core proponents want to change hearts and minds and use emotion to garner support. Here’s their first foray into becoming, well, more warm and cuddly so parents will
Vergara v. California highlights the need for a teacher-powered educational strategy | The Hechinger Report: Vergara v. California highlights the need for a teacher-powered educational strategyBy Carrie BakkenThe Vergara v. California ruling that every student has a Constitutional right to learn from an effective teacher has been labeled bold — but it actually mirrors the counterproductive strateg
Sacramento News & Review - So dreamy - Bites - Opinions - September 11, 2014: So dreamySacramento city schools still dealing with problems of yesteryearBy Cosmo Garvin Last week, Bites reported on the sacking of Sacramento Bee editorial-page writer Pia Lopez.There are some good reasons to question the fairness of her firing. But Bites didn’t forget that Lopez was a driving force behind some of
NYC Educator: In the Beginning...: In the Beginning...I'm continually frustrated the first few weeks of school. Here I am in a classroom, but it's not really my class yet. I'm struggling to learn names, my kids come from all over the world and it turns out in many parts of the world they use names that are wholly unfamiliar to me. No matter how many years I teach, that doesn't seem to get any easi
Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: A ray of hope in Chicago: A ray of hope in ChicagoWhile the mayor and his City Council minionsargue over which IG should investigate their own bad behavior, it's pretty clear now that there will be two viable, progressive opponents running against Rahm and his machine in next year's election -- CTU President Karen Lewis and the council's Progressive Caucus leader Bob
Seattle Schools Community Forum: City of Seattle Pre-K InitiativeHere's a thread to discuss the City of Seattle's pre-k ambitions and their co-ordination, or lack thereof, with Seattle Public Schools.by Charlie Mas / 1h hide // saveThe District's Title IX PR EffortSeattle Public Schools has a real problem with Title IX compliance. They knew about this problem for years and took no action. Recent
Louisiana’s NCLB Waiver, Complete with Promised CCSS and PARCC | deutsch29: Louisiana’s NCLB Waiver, Complete with Promised CCSS and PARCCSeptember 10, 2014No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was not reauthorized in 2007. Nor was it reauthorized in 2008. Nor has it been reauthorized in 2014.NCLB, with its nonsense “100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014,” has been lingering on legislative lif
In Newark–finally, some heroes, some risk-takers | Bob Braun's Ledger: In Newark–finally, some heroes, some risk-takersStudents hold the line against efforts by mounted policeman to break throughNewark’s public schools will be saved from privatization only if supporters are willing to take risks. Yesterday, Newark finally saw some risk takers–the high school students and handful of adults who blo
History Scholars Criticize Social Studies Textbooks | The Texas Tribune: History Scholars Criticize Social Studies Textbooksby Bobby BlanchardSept. 10, 201427Comments Comment Republish Email Tweet RecommendEnlargecredit: Ross RamseyREFERENCE MATERIALAffirmative Action Alien Cartoon From Proposed TextbookPDF (280.8 KB) downloadScholars recruited by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund are criti
Teachers For Social Justice: Talking with Students about Ferguson: Talking with Students about FergusonSEPTEMBER 10, 2014 LEAVE A COMMENTChicago State University'sCenter for Urban Research and Education (CURE)Presents...2014-15 Lecture SeriesSeptember Event*Talking with Students about FergusonMeaningful Classroom Dialogue about What Happened in Ferguson & What it MeansPanel/Discussion with CSU
Michelle Rhee, Education's Lightning Rod, Shifts Focus | C-Notes | OZY: Michelle Rhee's Next Frontier: Q&A With the Former D.C. School HeadWhy you should careMichelle Rhee’s fingerprints are all over today’s debates on the best way to educate our kids. W hen Michelle Rhee ends her tenure as CEO of education policy advocacy group StudentsFirst, as she announced Aug. 13, it will be the first tim
James Baldwin said it best: "For these are all our children, and we will profit by or pay for whatever they become."A BIG EDUCATION APE NITE CAPThe question is how do Mayor Johnson’s words measure up to his deeds, Sandronsky Cities of OpportunitySandronsky Cities of Opportunity: Cities of Opportunity?By SETH SANDRONSKYSacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a second-term Democrat, kept the city’