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The Most Important Job of a School Leader | Barbara Blackburn

The Most Important Job of a School Leader | Barbara Blackburn | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

"What do you think is the most important job of a school leader?"  That one is easy--it's to remove barriers to student learning.  In other words, think from a perspective of "How would xxx positively impact student learning?"  If you take that perspective, how would it change what you are doing today?"

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Leading Schools
Improving Schools Through Enhanced Leadership
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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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Principals: Why leaving people alone is probably not the best approach.

Principals: Why leaving people alone is probably not the best approach. | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

George Couros

First of all, I understand the needs for both trust and autonomy and how it is essential to motivation, but there is also a larger purpose to what we do in schools.  If we truly believe that schools are greater as a group than simply individuals, simply “leaving people alone” is probably not the best approach.

I think about the best leaders that I have ever had, and how they have balanced this approach of trust and autonomy, while providing strong mentorship.  This is not necessarily in telling you things to do, but often by pushing your thinking and abilities through asking questions, and challenging perceptions, without micro-managing.  I have always craved mentorship in whatever role that I have taken, and find that I do much better when I have someone who is pushing me in my work.  I love the idea that “if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” (often attributed to Michael Dell).  We only get better when we find those that truly elevate us.  Leaders are meant to unleash talent, not control it.

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"School is so much more than a physical facility in which teachers present lessons"

"School is so much more than a physical facility in which teachers present lessons" | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

But the school is so much more than a physical facility in which teachers present lessons; it is a laboratory of living where ongoing practices and relationships educate. Educators should stop every now and then to consider the lessons the school may be teaching via its programs, policies, rules, and regulationsby its way of life. When doing so, they may be surprisedand chagrined.

A discouraging percentage of what is taught explicitly in the formal curriculum is forgotten in a matter of months."

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Why teachers and principals feel overwhelmed: Avg. Dist. Launches 3 or 4 new initiatives every year.

Why teachers and principals feel overwhelmed: Avg. Dist. Launches 3 or 4 new initiatives every year. | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

By Rick Hess


studied 57 urban school districts across the U.S. and found that they had launched an average of 13 major reforms in a three-year period—or three to four every year. Meanwhile, old programs rarely go away. Leaders would rather champion the new and exciting than mount the fights required to shutter the old. So superintendents layer their new reforms atop what has come before. The result is marked by layer upon layer of sediment, with educators squashed under it all.

Mel Riddile's insight:

Change Fatigue is rampant in schools across the country.

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How Do States Plan to Make Sure the Poorest Schools Get Good Teachers?

How Do States Plan to Make Sure the Poorest Schools Get Good Teachers? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
The big question is whether the plans submitted to the Education Department will actually make a difference when it comes to the equitable distribution of teachers.
Mel Riddile's insight:

"There didn't seem to be much in the plans about physically moving the best teachers into the lowest-performing schools, in part because that's not something states really have control over (areas like teacher contractors are really a district level thing). But some states, including Idaho, Florida, and Missouri, did say they would like to explore incentives (i.e. cash or promotions) to entice the best teachers to the neediest schools."


The 'accountability game' is actually driving teachers from the schools that need them the most.

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Movie Scenes That Demonstrate A Growth Mindset

Movie Scenes That Demonstrate A Growth Mindset | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

Larry Ferlazzo


Last night, I asked readers to recommend movie scenes that demonstrated a growth mindset. Here is what they've come up with so far:

Mel Riddile's insight:

What about Groundhog Day?

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Teacher Shortage: Proof that reforms are achieving desired outcomes.

Teacher Shortage: Proof that reforms are achieving desired outcomes. | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Several factors are creating a “perfect storm” that's accelerating California's teacher shortage and resulting in fewer credentialed teachers in some schools.


Teacher Shortage Growing.

Southern California Public Radio (6/29) reported that the teacher shortage in California is growing, which could lead to more teacher interns and substitutes leading classrooms. The teacher shortage was predicted as older teachers begin to retire and fewer college students enroll in education programs. As news of the shortage spreads, some predict that more college students will see becoming a teacher as a secure career path.

Mel Riddile's insight:

Reformist mantras regarding "failing schools" 'fire our way to Finland', ABC (AnyBody Can Teach, and an end to teacher tenure have achieved their desired outcomes--fewer college students see becoming a teacher as a viable career path.

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Schools weigh how to meet standards with ELL students on the rise

Schools weigh how to meet standards with ELL students on the rise | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
By Mike Connors
The Virginian-Pilot
© June 29, 2015

As the number of students with limited English skills soars, school divisions have an added concern - new federal guidelines on how to educate those students that, some say, could drive down success rates and increase costs.

About one in every 10 students nationwide and in Virginia is labeled an "English learner," or EL - someone whose proficiency in the language is limited.

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Teachers, Caring does make a difference! Scientific Proof!

Teachers, Caring does make a difference! Scientific Proof! | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that the more a teacher cares about her students, the more respect she will receive from them.


“It would appear that teachers who carry signifiers of positions which are powerful in wider society might actually have a harder time establishing personal authority with the young people as they are treated with suspicion,”

Students associated caring with the following:

  1. Fostering a sense of belonging/community
  2. Getting to know students personally
  3. Supporting academic success
  4. Attending to physiological needs
  5. Knowing students names
  6. Accessable
  7. Making an effort to understand student as an individual
  8. Lessons are applicable and meaningful
  9. Feedback
  10. Overtly expressing concern
  11. Non-verbal expressions
  12. Projecting a "feeling of care"





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Linda Buckmaster's curator insight, July 5, 12:01 AM

I always believed this to be true but now researchers (University of Edinburgh) have found that the more a teacher cares about her students, the more respect she will receive from them.

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Here’s Why School Principals Are Crucial to Student Success

School principals are more important than you might think.


School principals are more important than you might think. They have the ability to make a huge difference in the lives of their students, and are a key component of student success. In fact, experts have come to believe that the only thing more important to student success is teacher quality itself — and school principals directly impact that, too.

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Charters & merit pay are 'distractions' that won't improve learning - John Hattie

Charters & merit pay are 'distractions' that won't improve learning - John Hattie | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Several of the government’s key education policies, including performance-related pay for teachers, extra assessment and an emphasis on schools becoming academies, are a “distraction” that will have only a “minimal” impact on students’ learning, according to new work from a leading education academic. 
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Rebecca Wilkins's curator insight, June 27, 10:02 AM

Listen to the Hattie's research.  Charters and merit pay may have a short term impact on increasing student achievement, but there are no substantial gains in the long term. It is better to put our efforts on highly skilled and caring teachers and leaders that collaborate for the benefit of students and the community they serve.

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9 things educators should tweet about

9 things educators should tweet about | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
  1. Be yourself and show people that you are real! Tweet about what inspires you and what happens in your day to day life as an educator
  2. Create don’t consume by sharing images – people love to see what your classroom, school, project, activity etc. looks like so they can get inspiration
  3. Create don’t consume by sharing links to articles that you write or articles that you have read. Nearly every educator I know loves a good nighttime read
  4. Quotes and thoughts related to education (always remember to link to the author)
  5. Ask questions and give answers – tweet responses directly to people and ask questions if you are unsure
  6. Get involved in Twitter Chats – tweet your answers to questions and your thoughts to other educators tweets
  7. Support other educators by giving a ‘favourite’ or a ‘retweet’ to their posts. This shows that you appreciate and enjoy what they have tweeted
  8. Be positive – tell people how much you love their work, demonstrate positivity in everything you tweet. You can still be constructive and be passionate but always be respectful – like we tell our students “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”
  9. Suggest other educators to follow – you can do this at any stage but I like to make use of #FF (Follow Friday) where people share their favourite connections
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What's the Real Purpose of Classroom Management? - Alfie Kohn

Everyone knows why classroom management skills are considered a critical part of teacher training. The reason we need to minimize “misbehavior” and get students to show up, sit down, and pay attention is so we can teach them stuff. That proposition is so obvious that it’s rarely defended or even spelled out, except maybe on . . . (Read More)
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Teachers want supportive leaders, and so does everyone else | McKinsey & Company

Teachers want supportive leaders, and so does everyone else | McKinsey & Company | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

New research suggests that the secret to developing effective leaders is to encourage four types of behavior. A McKinsey Quarterly article.


"Supporting others. Leaders who are supportive understand and sense how other people feel. By showing authenticity and a sincere interest in those around them, they build trust and inspire and help colleagues to overcome challenges. They intervene in group work to promote organizational efficiency, allaying unwarranted fears about external threats and preventing the energy of employees from dissipating into internal conflict."

Mel Riddile's insight:

The most recent gallup poll of teachers clearly shows that what attracts, retains, and satisfies teachers most is a supportive leader.


In supportive schools, teachers not only tend to stay, but they also improve at much greater rates over time.

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Why Do Corporations Want To Control Public Schools? Follow the money!

Why Do Corporations Want To Control Public Schools? Follow the money! | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

For full Infographic, please click on title above or here: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/education-uprising/why-corporations-want-our-public-schools


Via Roxana Marachi, PhD
Mel Riddile's insight:

Follow the money!

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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, July 6, 3:26 AM

Yep! Here is what I was looking for....take a look at who gains what and loses what...

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100% Is Overrated! "Mistakes grow your brain."

100% Is Overrated! "Mistakes grow your brain." | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
On celebrating mistakes and never considering oneself "smart."


"The idea of a fixed mindset, in which people are smart or not smart, stands in contrast to a growth mindset, in which people become intelligent and knowledgeable through practice. In her 2006 book The New Psychology of Success, psychologist Carol Dweck described the two: People with growth mindsets believe that the harder they work, the smarter they get. And the subtleties of the ways in which we praise kids are related to the mindsets those kids develop.

The group most damaged by fixed-mindset thinking is high-achieving girls, Boaler argues, because it’s girls who are told by society that they probably won’t be as good as boys at math and science. That means girls are only more likely to avoid challenging themselves in science and math, and that aversion to making mistakes leads to less learning and progress. The more that certain disciplines cling to ideas of giftedness, the fewer female Ph.D.s there are in those fields."


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Put hold on A-F school grades because test scores will be lower! Why not teacher evals?

Put hold on A-F school grades because test scores will be lower! Why not teacher evals? | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
State schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz asked the Indiana Board of Education on Wednesday to not give lower A-F performance grades to schools for a year because of an expected drop in student standardized test
Mel Riddile's insight:
Indiana Schools Chief Calls For Hold On Lowering School Grades.

The Indianapolis Star (7/1) reports that on Wednesday Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz called on the state Board of Education to delay lowering schools’ A-F letter grades “for a year because of an expected drop in student standardized test scores.” Under Ritz’ plan, only schools who saw improve grades over the past year could have their grades reduced, because as Ritz said, “even a slight decline in student scores” could cause schools to drop two letter grades. Therefore, many schools could be inappropriately “labeled as failing.”

        Chalkbeat Indiana (7/1) reports the despite the fact that there are several new members on the board who have promised “better cooperation” with Ritz, the board was still “skeptical” of her proposal. The piece notes that the board voted to ask the state attorney general whether all of the options in the proposal where legal. Ritz acquiesced to this request, saying that she would be “happy to get input” from Attorney General Greg Zoeller. The article notes parenthetically that ED has “pushed states to adopt tougher standards and more rigorous tests over the past five years.” The AP (7/1, Davies) also covers this story.

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Why are so many turning away from teaching? Big win for reformers!

Why are so many turning away from teaching?  Big win for reformers! | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
(District of Columbia) In what may prove to be another national socioeconomic trend with roots in California, education planners in a number of states are looking with alarm at the sudden drop of college students entering the teaching profession.
Mel Riddile's insight:

Reformist mantras regarding...

  1. "failing schools"
  2. 'fire our way to Finland'
  3. ABC (AnyBody Can) Teach
  4. an end to teacher tenure


...have achieved their desired outcomes--fewer college students see becoming a teacher as a viable career path.

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Schools Place More Emphasis On Social And Emotional Learning: Survey

Schools Place More Emphasis On Social And Emotional Learning: Survey | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
The results of a new Education Week Research Center survey suggest that social and emotional learning has staked a claim in schools but that challenges remain.


Educators Place More Emphasis On Social And Emotional Learning.

Education Week (7/1, Yettick) reports a survey of teachers and school administrators found that more schools are adding social and emotional learning to the curriculum. The number of educators who considered social and emotional learning “very important” increased from 54% to 67% from 2014 to 2015.

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State-by-State Comparisons of Education Reforms (SER)

The State Education Reforms website, which draws primarily on data collected by organizations other than NCES, serves as a general resource on major developments in state-level education policies.
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A Guide to Creating a Collaborative Learning Environment (EdSurge News)

A Guide to Creating a Collaborative Learning Environment (EdSurge News) | Leading Schools | Scoop.it

Over the past several years, I've posted many examples of collaborative learning in my history classrooms grades 8-10. The part that gets most students' and educators' attention is that I do not give tests. Ever. Lecture is also never a part of the student learning experience.


Kelly Christopherson's insight:

Collaborative learning has many faces and ways of implementing. This is a good example of what it can look like in a classroom once a teachers becomes familiar with using different strategies to engage students. The thing that I've learned when implementing collaborate learning is that it takes a while to become familiar with different strategies, you have to rethink planning and interaction and assessment is something that will evolve over time as you become more familiar and comfortable with this type of learning. It's not assigning group work but, instead, is a way of thinking about and working with students as they become the prime catalysts in their own learning as you help to direct the different learning activities within the classroom.


Via Kelly Christopherson
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Kelly Christopherson's curator insight, June 28, 6:50 PM

Collaborative learning has many faces and ways of implementing. This is a good example of what it can look like in a classroom once a teachers becomes familiar with using different strategies to engage students. The thing that I've learned when implementing collaborate learning is that it takes a while to become familiar with different strategies, you have to rethink planning and interaction and assessment is something that will evolve over time as you become more familiar and comfortable with this type of learning. It's not assigning group work but, instead, is a way of thinking about and working with students as they become the prime catalysts in their own learning as you help to direct the different learning activities within the classroom. 

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Socratic Seminar Strategy for the Middle Grades

Socratic Seminar Strategy for the Middle Grades | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Sarah Tantillo's popular MiddleWeb post, Socratic Seminars in the Middle, gets a tweak that improves student participation, based on an MS teacher's suggestion.
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Arne Duncan: These Are The Things Parents Should Demand From Schools

Arne Duncan: These Are The Things Parents Should Demand From Schools | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Certain educational rights should be universal, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Friday.

While speaking at the 2015 National Parent Teacher Association Convention and Expo in Charlotte,


The rights, which span preschool through college, include free quality preschool, affordable quality college and high, challenging standards in a well-resourced school.

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Carol Dweck: 'The whole idea of growth mindset is to say yes they can'

Carol Dweck: 'The whole idea of growth mindset is to say yes they can' | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Carol Dweck is education’s guru of the moment. The US academic’s “growth mindset” theory has taken schools on both sides of the Atlantic by storm. When TES met the Stanford University psychology professor at the Festival of Education at Wellington College last week, the mere mention of her name was sending teachers into shivers of excitement.  But the woman herself is refreshingly modest about the success of her philosophy. “You never know how influential your idea is going to be,” she says, smi
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Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, June 26, 1:22 PM

not denial instead!

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A Simple Formula for Planning Your Next Professional Learning Initiative - Brilliant or Insane

A Simple Formula for Planning Your Next Professional Learning Initiative - Brilliant or Insane | Leading Schools | Scoop.it
Use this simple formula to design a powerful professional learning experiences.
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