Sunday, November 21, 2010

Collaborative Tools

Recently in my principalship class I asked students to prepare a statement of their personal vision for their school. They shared the vision with a small work group and then had to present the vision during a simulation in class. One of the requirements was that they use one collaborative tool to gather feedback from the "faculty" in their simulated school.

We talked about the importance of this type of collaboration and how it signals the principal's investment in building shared ownership and vision.

Building a repertoire of collaborative tools that principals can use to work with teachers, staff, families and community is an important skill. I've put together a set of collaborative tools that are available on my website (

I'd enjoy hearing from you about other collaborative tools that you've used in your school.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Addressing College Readiness

In a recent study from ACT more than 80% of students said they planned on attending college or some form of post-secondary education. But many students and their families don't do the planning necessary to realize that goal.

Several studies have identified the components of a comprehensive college readiness program. They agree on four major activities:
  • Take the Right Courses - Assure that students are taking the right courses to gain college admission. This includes taking high-level courses in middle school so that they have access to advanced courses in high school.
  • Develop Cognitive and Metacognitive Skills - While taking rigorous courses is important, students also need to develop the cognitive and metacognitive skills that will be needed to succeed in college. These include things like intellectual openness, inquisitiveness, reasoning, argumentation and proof, precision and accuracy and problem solving (Conley, 2007). Such skills are embedded in nearly all college courses.
  • Surround Students with Support for College Attendance - Assure that every student is expected to develop a postsecondary plan. Surround them with caring adults who provide the mentoring and support necessary to achieve the plan and build support for their college aspirations.
  • Plan for College Costs - While most families believe college education is important many are uncertain about the costs or how to manage the costs. Developing a plan to pay for college is a critical part of planning.
There are three helpful resources that provide greater detail on this issues. I hope you find them useful.

Transition from High School to College

College Readiness Begins in Middle School (2005)