Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Principals and the Common Core

Early in February I spent a week working with several middle and high schools in Oregon. In every school the principal talked about adoption of the Common Core and how they were working with their teachers to be ready for the implementation. As many of you know implementing Common Core standards will change the way many schools and classrooms are organized. An emphasis on greater rigor, higher-level thinking and authentic assessments may challenge some of your teachers and may not be well understood by families.

This week I read a thoughtful eduptopia blog by Erin Powers How Will the Common Core Change What We Do. It's a really helpful summary of the anticipated changes and how to plan for their arrival.

I'd enjoy hearing from you about how your planning for implementation of the Common Core.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Building Shared Accountability

I believe shared accountability for student learning is one of the essential components of effective schools. But shared accountability doesn't just happen. It must be an integral part of a leader's thinking and planning. Accountability resides in every stakeholder---teachers, administrators, students, families and community.

In a January post I described the COMPASS model for school change that I developed with Barbara Blackburn a few years ago. One of the seven components is shared accountability. Accountability is not issuing mandates and threats to hold people "accountable." It is about energizing and motivating individuals and groups so that they embrace your school's vision and commitment to the learning of each student. Shared accountability, as well as the other six components, is described in detail in our book Rigorous Schools and Classrooms: Leading the Way.

Last week I read an Eye on Education blog about accountability. It suggested 3 steps.
School leaders need to "be in the trenches"and have regular formal and information conversations with teachers about teaching and learning.
Leaders must also protect teacher time so that teachers can work collaboratively with others.
Finally, leaders must promote a healthy balance between professional and personal responsibilities among their staff.

I hope you enjoy the blog from Eye on Education and would enjoy hearing from you about your efforts to build shared accountability.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Strengthening Professional Development

An essential part of efforts to improve your school is effective professional development. Traditionally, it has included workshops, seminars and conferences. Too often these activities didn't result in long-lasting change and had little impact on student learning.

Contemporary professional development focuses much more on job-embedded activities where teachers and school leaders work together. Things like peer-coaching, collaborative work teams, study groups, book study, action research, and mentoring can be far more effective in promoting improvement, supporting teacher leadership and changing practice.

This week I read a blog from ASCD that describes 8 steps to improved professional development. I found it helpful and want to share it with you. I hope it is useful in your continued work to improve your school.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Get Organized! Time Management for School Leaders

Principals are always looking for useful strategies to deal with the many tasks they manage. One of the leading experts on time management for school leaders is Frank Buck, author of Get Organized! As a former school principal Frank's advice is anchored in a realistic view of the responsibilities of a principal. One of the strengths of the book is the practical ideas that he presents, ideas that can immediately be implemented to strengthen your time management skills.

Frank maintains a blog that provides the most recent ideas about time management strategies. You can also find Frank's tips on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Pinterest. His book is available from Eye on Education.