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Leading Schools
Improving Schools Through Enhanced Leadership
Curated by Mel Riddile
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Leading Success: Dynamic Solutions for Every School, Each Student

Leading Success: Dynamic Solutions for Every School, Each Student | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Our toolkit for educators includes videos, case studies and more that lead you to a forum for equity, personalization, smart data, collaboration and continuous improvement...
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Nancy J. Herr's curator insight, July 3, 2014 9:53 AM

NASSP sponsored tools for success. Take a look at the many resources for new and experienced leaders alike.

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Checks for Understanding: Red Cup, Green Cup

Checks for Understanding: Red Cup, Green Cup | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
A clever idea for improving classroom efficiency and students' self-determination.
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Summarizing Using 3-2-1

Summarizing Using 3-2-1 | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Beth Dichter's insight:

Check out this activity from The Common Core Writing Book by Gretchen Owocki. One of the activities she suggests is  using a 3-2-1 strategy to help students summarize text. The student must choose three key words, find two phrases that are important and also one quote. They can then share this with a small group, and move to sharing in larger groups. The post suggests that this may used for the following (quoted from the post):

  1.  Summarizing text
  2. Individual accountability for reading
  3. Discourse facilitation
  4. Low-stakes writing
  5. Strategy for comprehending complex and lengthy text
  6. Structure to enable "teacher as facilitator"
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The "belief gap" or the "soft bigotry of low expectations"?

There are schools in the U.S. where poor children of color succeed academically. That shouldn't be controversial, but it is, especially for many educators who seem devoted to a deficit based narrative about children in poverty."

Mel Riddile's insight:

Essential Question:


Do schools and teachers fall just short of success with under-resourced, under-served, low-income students because they are like "doubting Thomas"--I will believe it when I see it, and, since I have not seen it, I do not really believe it? Do we repeat the maxim that 'all students can learn', but when it really comes down to it, do we fall just short of doing whatever it takes to ensure that all students actually learn?

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The Worksheet Conversation

I was having a conversation with a teacher the other day, that does some very innovative things in the classrooms and is a master of relationships with students. She does amazing things, and by the...
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Affluent Suburban Schools Struggle With Rising Poverty

Affluent Suburban Schools Struggle With Rising Poverty | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
A new study from the University of Virginia outlines demographic shifts that are presenting challenges for suburban schools.


Traditionally Affluent Suburban School Systems Struggle With Rising Poverty.

The Washington Post (2/26, Brown, Shapiro) reports a University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service study found that inner suburbs’ poverty rates are rising even as cities “are becoming younger, more affluent and more educated.” As the number of low-income children rise “in traditionally affluent and high-performing school systems,” suburban school superintendents and school boards “are wrestling with how to adequately serve the rising number of poor children who come to class with far more needs than their more affluent peers.”

Mel Riddile's insight:

Experience has taught me that, in the case of serving traditionally under-served, low-income students, the 10,000-hour rule definitely applies. It takes years to understand the nuances of educating under-resourced students. The key is that poverty is not an excuse for low achievement, but poverty is the reason why we have to do things differently.

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How Do We Know When Students Are Engaged?

How Do We Know When Students Are Engaged? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

Educational author and former teacher, Dr. Michael Schmoker shares in his book, Results Now, a study that found of 1,500 classrooms visited, 85 percent of them had engaged less than 50 percent of the students. In other words, only 15 percent of the classrooms had more than half of the class at least paying attention to the lesson.

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The Nuts and Bolts of Explicit Modeling

The Nuts and Bolts of Explicit Modeling | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
The eight steps of EM include describing the concept or skill, reducing it to critical elements, thinking aloud, teaching with cues, and engaging students' senses.
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teaching according to students’ “preferred learning styles” has little to no empirical backing

teaching according to students’ “preferred learning styles” has little to no empirical backing | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Researchers say the idea of teaching to students’ preferred learning styles has little empirical support. The fact that it persists may say something about our education system.



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Principals should be given “more latitude and flexibility for evaluating and determining teacher success.”

Principals should be given “more latitude and flexibility for evaluating and determining teacher success.” | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Louisiana Principals To Determine Teacher Success.

The Alexandria (LA) Town Talk (2/26, Leader) reports Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White on Wednesday recommended that principals be given “more latitude and flexibility for evaluating and determining teacher success.” White, the Town Talk notes, will present his recommendations “along with others from the Department of Education and the Act 240 subcommittee to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education next week for its approval.”

        The Bayou Buzz (LA) (2/26) reports White “said Wednesday he is optimistic Louisiana’s top school board next week will approve” his recommendations. “We are empowering the principal to arrive at a judgment rather than relying on a computer in Baton Rouge,” White told reporters.

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District to require 3 Career Tech courses for graduation

District to require 3 Career Tech courses for graduation | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Vocational education is enjoying a renaissance in many U.S. schools. In Nashville, Tenn., all high-schoolers are encouraged to take three career-training classes, regardless of college plans.


Nashville High Schools Offering Career And Technical Education Classes.

On its website, NPR (2/24, Siner) reports on a plan by public schools in Nashville, TN to encourage “every high school student, regardless of college plans, to take three career-training classes before they graduate,” allowing them to gain career and technical education and certification straight out of high school. The article features comments from Nashville educators who tout the potential of the program as it allows training for both students who want to go to college and those who want to enter the workforce immediately.

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Do-It-Yourself Charts Help Students Remember Math Lessons! Why?

Do-It-Yourself Charts Help Students Remember Math Lessons! Why? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
  1. "The charts also help jog student memories as classes try to move through the year’s lessons."
  2. Because students create the charts, White said, they’re proof to students that they can handle the math.
  3. Teachers know the anchor charts work because students want them when it counts most — testing.


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Enhancing Staff Engagement

Enhancing Staff Engagement | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Who isn’t rushing to the idea that just one more perk or break-room game table would boost employee engagement these days? The latest Gallup data suggest we have an emergency on our hands with just under 32 percent of U.S. employees feeling engaged. Worse still, nearly 1 in 5 state they are “actively disengaged”—pointing to the fact that something must be done.
Mel Riddile's insight:

1. Clearly describe 3 to 5 key results your organization must achieve.

2. Help your staff connect the dots between their own job descriptions and these key results.

3. Ask employees to take ownership for those results. Create a culture where everyone wants the same 3 to 5 things.

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Student Engagement: "Hierarchy of Help

Student Engagement: "Hierarchy of Help | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Provide students access to the resources they need to be successful, and empower them with the skills they need to use those resources.
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What does a 6-year-old’s punishment for being late and Vandy Coach's outburst have in common?

What does a 6-year-old’s punishment for being late and Vandy Coach's outburst have in common? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

In in the case of the 6 year-old...

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon school district is reviewing its tardiness punishments after a picture posted on Facebook of a 6-year-old sitting behind a cardboard screen in the lunchroom generated widespread outrage.

The Grants Pass School District issued a statement saying it “is taking the concerns raised very seriously,” and the punishment “was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.”

Nicole Garloff says her son, Hunter, was upset when she dropped him off late at Lincoln Elementary School, so she checked on him at lunchtime. She found him sitting behind a cardboard screen. She took him home, and posted a photo on Facebook. So did the boy’s grandmother.

More than 115,000 people have shared the photo Laura Hoover posted on Facebook of her grandson.


In the case of the Vanderbilt Basketball Coach...

Coach Kevin Stallings "used offensive and inflammatory language directed toward a student-athlete" after the conclusion of an recent contest.

Mel Riddile's insight:

I have found this guiding principle to be of great value in dealing with both adults and students:

Reward publicly. Admonish privately.

While one could argue the details of each situation, had either the coach of the school leader followed that guiding principle, cool heads might have prevailed and controversy could have been avoided.

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Mindset Helps Students Overcome Challenges

To raise student achievement, some schools are finding that the technique of mindset helps students overcome challenges
The idea of failing might be discouragin(...)
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Teachers seek an end to "arbitrary and unfair" test-based evaluations

Teachers seek an end to "arbitrary and unfair" test-based evaluations | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
As union foes use courts to roll back tenure laws, unions try the same tactic to stop test-based teacher evaluations.


"New Mexico teachers sued state officials over an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test scores. Tennessee teachers also sued their state officials this month, arguing that most teachers’ evaluations are based on the test scores of students they don’t actually teach. Florida teachers brought a similar lawsuit last year; it is now in federal appeals court, while other complaints are pending in Texas and New York."

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5 Highly Effective Teaching Practices

5 Highly Effective Teaching Practices | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

Check out these researched-based, best teaching practices based on John Hattie's work and share.

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Failing Forward: 21 Ideas To Use It In Your Classroom

Failing Forward: 21 Ideas To Use It In Your Classroom | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Failing Forward: 21 Ideas To Use It In Your Classroom
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Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement

Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Blogger and English teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron asked her eighth grade students what they find most engaging in the classroom.


1. Working with their peers

"Middle-school students are growing learners who require and want interaction with other people to fully attain their potential."

"Teens find it most interesting and exciting when there is a little bit of talking involved. Discussions help clear the tense atmosphere in a classroom and allow students to participate in their own learning."

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Teacher language has significant impact on student reading comprehension

This study examined teachers’ language use across the school year in 6th grade urban middle-school classrooms (n = 24) and investigated the influence of this classroom-based linguistic input on the reading comprehension skills of the students (n = 851; 599 language minority learners and 252 English-only) in the participating classrooms. Analysis of speech transcripts revealed substantial variability in teachers’ use of sophisticated vocabulary and total amount of talk and that individual teacher’s language use was consistent across the school year. Analyses using Hierarchical Linear Modeling showed that when controlling for students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge at the start of the year, teachers’ use of sophisticated vocabulary was significantly related to students’ reading comprehension outcomes, as was the time spent on vocabulary instruction. These findings suggest that the middle school classroom language environment plays a significant role in the reading comprehension of adolescent learners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)

Mel Riddile's insight:

Metametrics has reported that teachers routinely speak below the level of students' ability to comprehend. Teachers must use higher levels of language in their classrooms to improve students reading comprehension.

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Alessia Simoni's curator insight, February 27, 4:50 AM

Uno studio dimostra che il linguaggio usato dall'insegnante ha importanti effetti sulla comprensione scritta e sul lessico degli studenti.

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Students should take fewer tests: Stop double-testing!

Students should take fewer tests: Stop double-testing! | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
ED Allows Oklahoma To Avoid Math Double-Testing.

Education Week (2/25) reports in a brief item that ED has approved Oklahoma’s request for “Oklahoma middle school students who are taking advanced-mathematics courses” to “no longer be required to take their grade-level math tests.” The piece notes that the move “reflects movement on an idea gaining steam among Washington policymakers, state schools chiefs, and even President Barack Obama: Students should take fewer tests.”

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25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

“In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.” –Carol Dweck

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School Discipline: Increasing pressure to reduce suspensions with no or fewer resources

School Discipline: Increasing pressure to reduce suspensions with no or fewer resources | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Vermont Legislature Considers School Discipline Oversight Bill.

The Rutland (VT) Herald (2/21) reports that the Vermont legislature is exploring solutions “to break the link between poverty and lack of education” by way of “a bill that would provide better oversight for school discipline practices.” The measure “would establish a school discipline advisory council to review practices in the state’s K-12 schools, with an overall goal of reducing the number of students suspended or expelled.” The article cites ED data pointing to several thousands of suspensions in the state in the 2011-12 school year.

Mel Riddile's insight:

Principals want to reduce discipline problems and suspensions, but districts are increasingly removing or significantly cutting resources needed to offer alternatives. 


The underlying assumption here is that principals are acting irresponsibly by unduley punishing students, particularly minority students. The message to principals--we don't trust you.

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"Nothing is more motivating than progress in meaningful work."

"Nothing is more motivating than progress in meaningful work." | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

1) Progress motivates more than anything else.

Nothing is more motivating than progress in meaningful work and nothing more taxing than setbacks.

Via The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work:

This pattern is what we call the progress principle: of all the positive events that influence inner work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work; of all the negative events, the single most powerful is the opposite of progress — setbacks in the work. We consider this to be a fundamental management principle: facilitating progress is the most effective way for managers to influence inner work life. Even when progress happens in small steps, a person's sense of steady forward movement toward an important goal can make all the difference between a great day and a terrible one. This pattern became increasingly obvious as the diaries came in from all the teams in our study. People's inner work lives seemed to lift or drag depending on whether or not their projects moved forward, even by small increments. Small wins often had a surprisingly strong positive effect, and small losses a surprisingly strong negative one. We tested our impressions more rigorously in two ways. Each confirmed the power of progress to dominate inner work life.

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