Showing posts from June, 2017

Adding “Soft Skills” to Report Cards

Last night, and every other weeknight for that matter, my kitchen table is a story of two boys raised by the same parents who approach their school work from two opposite ends of the spectrum. For my 11 year old, homework time can’t end soon enough. He gets easily frustrated when he encounters something challenging that he can’t quickly and effortlessly complete, and he shuts down. My 9 year old, on the other hand, has developed a series of coping strategies to help him persevere through challenging academic situations with grit and tenacity. These strategies did not manifest themselves on their own. They have been specifically taught to him by his third grade teacher over the past year as a concerted effort to focus on the development of learning skills, also known as soft skills, alongside academic standards and competencies. For many schools, my kids elementary school included, the next iteration of this work is to include soft skill grades on report cards.
The need to teach soft sk…

Flexible Periods Allow for Personalized Learning Opportunities

For decades, school principals have searched for better ways to use time more effectively in the school. At the high school level, this search has manifested itself through iterations of daily period schedules, sometimes referred to as “bell schedules.” Schools, on average, change their bell schedule every five to seven years as needs in their building evolve. In schools today there are traditional schedules such as a 50-minute 7 period or 45-minute 8 period day. There are block schedules which allow fewer classes each day for longer periods of time (typically in the 90-minute range). There are waterfall schedules and drop schedules, both of which which allow for classes to cycle through each day and perhaps drop certain periods from the rotation each day. A common occurrence with many of these variations on the high school schedule is the inclusion of a period known as “advisory”, an opportunity where a small group of students can be matched with one adult with the goal of relationsh…