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Walk-throughs? Why?

Walk-throughs? Why?

When I was a newer principal, I was advised to get out of the office and into the classrooms of my school. “Go do walk-throughs,” my advisor said. “Lots of them. They’re a great tool.” Seemed like a good idea, but soon a problem arose. You never announce, “I’m going...

Watching Game-Tape: Video and professional growth

Watching Game-Tape: Video and professional growth

What do successful quarterbacks do when they come off the field? Not blow-dry their hair and sign autographs; that’s for later. The successful ones grab a tablet and immediately begin to analyze video footage of the plays they just ran. They analyze their opponent’s...

Are you mission-driven? Really?

Are you mission-driven? Really?

What drives you? When I ask that, I mean this: Really, truly, what drives every decision you make? Many of us identify goals we’d like to accomplish and then take actions, by and large, that are pretty darn similar to what we would have done before we set the goals....

“They” – the most dangerous word in education?

“They” – the most dangerous word in education?

As I sat with a school’s leadership team recently, their plan to calibrate staff members’ mindsets and align team expectations called for a monthly staff “huddle,” a departure from their “no staff meetings” practice. The principal sat back and sighed. “It seems like a...

It’s more than relationships

It’s more than relationships

Relationships, relationships, relationships. We’ve heard this refrain from educators for a while now – learning starts with relationships. I had the good fortune to chat with two high school students recently about their experience with a particular teacher who had...

What do I focus on?

What do I focus on?

In a garden-variety classroom, there are about a million different things going on at any given moment. They’re all important, right? So what draws our attention? What do the best teachers focus on? The answer is so unambiguously obvious it might startle you:...

There’s nothing more powerful than a made-up mind

There’s nothing more powerful than a made-up mind

What’s the difference between doing something and doing something well? What is the variable that takes implementation and turns it into excellence? If you were to brainstorm a list to answer those two questions, it might take a while. However, there is one force that...

Lead from the Front

Lead from the Front

Recently, I was providing a PD experience for a school about the ins and outs of PLCs. Teacher-teams were tasked to identify a particular student learning-based problem-of-practice to tackle, set a SMART goal, and build a plan together. As teams collaborated, the...

Are Teachers Role Models?

Are Teachers Role Models?

Role model. There’s a lightning rod of a term. Is this the responsibility of a teacher? Does this designation just add to the burden of a profession already buried in stress and steeped in unreasonable expectations? Aren’t teachers supposed to ensure that every child...

Do We Over-Test Our Kids?

Do We Over-Test Our Kids?

Right around this time of year, a couple of great seasons begin: the baseball season, hunting season, and, in schools, testing season. Educators across the country lament the emphasis we place on standardized, snapshot assessments – why, I’ve seen entire schools halt...

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