Leaders must always be ready to deal with adversity. How a leader responds is watched closely by those around her. Dwelling too long on a mistake or complaining too much about what could have been can be toxic to those the leader relies on. I came across an article about Eli Manning and how he has learned to forget.
· “He forgets bad throws, bad games -- even bad months….. forgetting is Manning's singular genius…. Manning's ability to forget allows him to not only just play but play free of self-consciousness…. Not that Manning is immune to being down…. But he doesn't
By following Eli’s practice of forgetting, leaders will lessen the chance of holding grudges, and being distracted from their real work. Leaders will be able to respond to resisters more effectively by keeping their focus on their targets and goals instead of the “last play.” The game towards extraordinary is a long one and leaders who learn to move on and forget are more ready to win their own super bowls.
“ Where educators are challenged and supported to get off the hamster wheel of “covering” ever more material and work together on important questions driven by what they actually observe, student learning thrives. It’s time…to build capacity in our schools for smarter teaching and learning—educators are ready for it, students deserve it….”
- Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond,
Linda challenges us not only to figure out how structurally we can support teachers in their efforts to collaborate, but also making sure that time is used wisely so true collaboration takes place and not as DuFour has called “co-blab-oration.”
Teachers need support in developing effective teams. Principals can help facilitate the creation of norms, and SMART targets. Principals should monitor teacher progress and effective use of time by requesting periodic deliverables, not more paperwork but evidence of progress already created; as simple as notes from the meetings or examples of common assessments and the data from the results.
I have witnessed teachers who have been given daily time to collaborate not value the time due to lack of direction. Leaders can impact school wide change and enhance student learning by designing a structure or process for greater collaboration among teachers. Teachers must be given a framework that is flexible enough to give them the latitude necessary to transform the research into practice. Leaders start by helping teachers set targets, and then allow each team to determine how best to design, pilot and implement the actions necessary to improve classroom learning.
By allowing teachers to find solutions together, sustained learning occurs. In PLC’s, teachers operate as team members, with shared goals and have regular time designated for professional collaboration. This time together allows them to be consistently well informed, professionally renewed, and inspired by the results they see.
The Board of Regents this week began to discuss a proposal to require students to complete a “Regents Research Paper” in order to sit for the Regents English Exam, commencing with the January 2015 administration.
The arguments being made for this requirement are all valid. Everyone needs to have the skills to write a coherent argument. The research paper would be a valid piece of evidence of the common core state standards for writing.
I remember my high school research paper, done my senior year. The topic was whether the economic sanctions against Libya were an appropriate response to the disco bombings in West Germany connected to Libyan operatives. Besides dating myself, the fact I still remember the facts around this paper, is an indicator the process worked. I’m guessing for many schools the biggest barrier might be moving the requirement from senior year to junior year.
I support this proposal but will ask the commissioner a few questions when I attend a meeting he will be facilitating in a few weeks. As we add another academic mandate, will the Regents remove one? Will the state provide a rubric for schools to use or will we end up with 700 “what a good paper” looks like rubrics? Can the paper be interdisciplinary?
Finally it should be worth noting the discussion item memo authored by Deputy Commissioner Slentz does meet the requirement by being over 1800 words, though the number of sources is limited to the common core standards; thus, counting the sources from the presentation slides the minimum four sources is met.
This week the Board adopted a budget to be presented to voters on May 21st. Schools in NY are the only municipalities that are required to have a public vote on their operating budgets. I’m ok with the direct democracy approach for locally funding schools. I understand that residents may vote, no, not because of the schools, but possibly anger over taxes in general.
I would say residents should look at the return on their investment. It costs about $18,000 per year to educate a student in NYS. It costs over $56,000 per prison inmate. The average non-ranking correctional officer locally earns with overtime annually about 50% more than an average teacher. We know that students who graduate from high school are far less likely to go to prison. We know students who graduate from high school will put far more money back into the economy than society will pay to support them.I’m optimistic that our education system will lessen the need for prisons, therefore opening up more resources for our schools and perpetuating an upward trajectory towards even more success for each student
A 2011 report from the Harvard School of Education clarifies the need for K-12 schools to provide their students with a relevant education that embeds the attributes necessary for new century jobs. Reading the report has provided me with a clearer understanding for the need to transform not only what we teach in our schools but how we teach.
This report, combined with the data that is showing that 40% of students need remediation in college, basically paying for high school courses in college, it is apparent the Regents diploma is losing value. What is also striking is the success rate of students with special needs enrolled in career technical education programs. So, if we believe the data and the research, how do we build collective capacity in our schools to meet the needs of our current and future students?
Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe stated in 2006 that professionals: "Uphold the standards of the profession in their own practice and through peer review; are results oriented; are client centered and adapt to meet the needs of individuals whom they serve; and act on the most current knowledge that defines their field.”
Does our culture allow for our own staff to coach and gently push their colleagues towards improved instruction? How do we move from a teacher centered approach to a student centered approach to learning? Do our grading practices reflect the performance based work environment? These are personal professional questions that educators have often avoided asking of each other in deference to respecting each other's autonomy in the classroom. Yet, we know as professionals we need to invite each other into our classrooms for peer review.
The Common Core State Standards provides a coherent road map for what our students need to understand. The state tests, whether PARCC or made by the state will catch up and be 2 parts performance based allowing students more than way to demonstrate mastery of a concept; and one part content based. These next generation exams will be hands on intensive performance evaluations.
Finally putting aside the tests, we need to find a way to provide students with pathways to explore career options in a rigorous and relevant environment.
· I Want to thank the custodial crew for keeping our buildings ready for students during the water emergencies we have had.
· Congratulations to Brianna Blunck who signed a national letter of intent to attend school and play soccer at Fordham University.
· Next Supt Café will be Tuesday in the MS library at 3:35.
· Read my thoughts on “Academies at C-A.”