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Showing posts from December, 2018

Call To Action: Is Your School Best Preparing Kids For the Future?

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As we embark on a new calendar year, I ask my fellow school principals whether or not your school is best preparing kids for the future. This will be my single focus as we start 2019. Earlier this year at our graduation ceremony, I reminded graduates that they entered the PK-12 education system at just about the same time that the first iPhone was introduced to the market. I noted how much our world and our society has changed as a result of personal smartphone devices, and drew a parallel to how much our school’s definition of “college and career readiness” has had to evolve over that same timeframe. This example reminds all of us as educators that our world is changing rapidly, and it is getting more and more difficult to predict what our future will look like. Given this, how are our teachers preparing students for this brave new world? Have their instructional approached changed? Have our school priorities changed? Do they need to change?

Our American PK-12 education system is at …

How to Fire Kids Up to be Excited for Their Core Subjects

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I spent years as a high school math teacher unsuccessfully trying to find an answer to this question: Why didn’t my students have as much passion and enthusiasm for math as they did for their extra curricular activities, and what could I do as a teacher to change that? The closest I had ever come to reaching an answer actually came two years after I left the classroom to become a school administrator. That year (over a decade ago), my school tried an experiment. We paired a math teacher with a woodshop teacher to offer a class entitled “Geometry in the Woodshop.” The class was offered as an interdisciplinary project-based experience where students would work through a series of woodshop projects that would apply various geometry topics. The two-credit class was co-taught by both teachers each day. As a whole, the experiment was a success as kids generally found success and increased their engagement and excitement for math. Of course, it helped that we started with a group of students…

Understanding the Impact of Chronic Absenteeism For Students

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Chronic absenteeism data for schools is about to become much more public. By the end of this month, the Every Student Succeeds Act has required that schools list chronic absenteeism rates on their state report cards. Many schools across the country have already started to do this, and the work started with states defining at what point absences would be considered a chronic issue. Some states have identified a fixed cap for the number of days of school that a student can miss. Other states have adopted a percentage-based definition, such as a rule that student cannot miss more than 10% of school days each year. By whichever standard you use, there is no debate that chronic absenteeism among students is a growing problem that plagues all schools.
According to this recent Education Week report, 1 in 7 students were identified as chronically absent in the 2015-2016 school year, meaning that they missed fifteen or more days of school, according to a report released by the Attendance Works…