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Medium 9781936764136

Chapter 5 Leading Change Through Structures That Support Teachers and Students

Fisher, Douglas; Frey, Nancy Solution Tree Press ePub


•  How would you describe your leadership style? Which leadership practices do you follow to facilitate shared leadership with your faculty and staff?

•  Which structures now in place in your school most effectively support teachers as they strive to improve student learning? What do you think will be the impact of implementing the CCSS on these structures?

•  How often and for what purposes do you visit classrooms? How do you and the teachers use your observations and conversations to facilitate collaborative planning?

•  To what extent and degree of success has RTI been implemented in your school? What changes do you think may be needed to strengthen supplemental instruction and intensive intervention? What resources do your teachers require to fulfill the expectations of RTI in the context of implementing the CCSS?

•  How will you use collaborative planning teams to develop structures that support teachers and students?

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Medium 9781934009376

Part Three: Leading for PLC at the District Level

Austin Buffum Solution Tree Press ePub


[Great organizations] simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything.

—Jim Collins

Fortunately, schools across North America have begun to make a seismic shift in assumptions; they are reshaping structures and cultures to focus on learning rather than teaching as the fundamental purpose and guiding principle of their work. Schools working as professional learning communities are spending considerable time and effort to ensure that learning serves as the “organizing idea” for curriculum, instruction, and assessment. As a result, the way that central office and district-level staff make decisions is also changing. The board of education and central office now play a unique and important role in showing how learning must serve as the “guiding principle” for all decisions being made within the district. This chapter will explore how collective bargaining can be re-envisioned so that learning serves as the guiding principle in contract negotiations in the professional learning community school.

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Medium 9781475832518

Do “Those Who Understand” Teach?

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Do “Those Who Understand” Teach?

Mathematics Teachers’ Professional Image

Avikam Gazit and Dorit Patkin

ABSTRACT: The present study examined the professional image of mathematics teachers, their perception of the skills that mathematics teachers should have, and the measures to be taken in order to make an improvement. The study involved 61 mathematics teachers, teaching all age-groups, who responded to a 30-item questionnaire with five rates of consent. They also answered two open-ended questions about the required skills and about what needs to be improved. The findings illustrate that teachers describe themselves as having qualities that are considered ideal for teachers and reject properties conceived as unfit for teaching. There were no significant differences between experienced teachers and novice teachers in most items, except for items dealing with mathematics teachers’ professional image, in the context of teaching improvement from previous years or of pedagogical knowledge. The prominent required skills are mathematical and pedagogical knowledge, which should also be improved.

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Medium 9781936764976

PART VII Editing and Revising

Richard E Ferdig Solution Tree Press ePub


Editing and Revising

Revision is an integral part of the writing process; however, teachers often struggle with how to engage students in revision that is meaningful to their growth as writers. Revision is not simply about fixing mistakes but understanding root issues driving writing errors, which is challenging and complex work for both teachers and students (Shaughnessy, 1976).

Many teachers engage students in peer review opportunities to facilitate the revision process. Peer review promotes collaboration and cooperative learning. Students benefit from peer review, as it is often easier for students to identify problems in peers’ writing than in their own. Additionally, students gain insight and a deepened understanding of writing. It also provides opportunities for students to analyze and reflect on how they communicate their ideas.

Peer review, however, can be difficult to implement in classrooms. First, logistically, teachers must consider how they physically arrange the classroom, and how students will be engaged during the process and in the quality of their work. Second, we often forget to teach students how to provide feedback. This leads to students providing either generic feedback (for example, “This is good”) or feedback focused solely on editing or mechanical issues (for example, “Fix punctuation”). The third problem is that students don’t often know how to use feedback they receive in their revisions. They end up either ignoring the suggestions or making the changes without really understanding the rationale for the revision. These issues make the process of peer review challenging for teachers and students. Despite these challenges, teachers need to conceptualize effective pedagogical practices that will engage students in revision opportunities.

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Medium 9781934009338

Chapter Eleven Putting It All Together

Austin Buffum Solution Tree Press ePub

Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

—Napoleon Hill, American speaker and motivational writer

To help their students at risk avoid failing, Sycamore High School educators created a PRTI system. At the end of the first quarter, Joe Smith, a teacher, referred one of his students, Tim O’Brian, for intervention support because Tim was failing his biology class.

After meeting with Tim, Nancy Chu, the school counselor and Tim’s intervention coordinator, assigned him to daily after-school study hall. “There are still 9 weeks left in the semester to improve your grade,” Ms. Chu reminded Tim.

Tim leaned back in his chair and announced, “Yeah, well, I don’t plan on doing anything else until next semester.”

“But you have to pass science to earn enough credits to graduate!” Ms. Chu exclaimed.

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Medium 9781935542032

Chapter Seven Teaching Reading

Calderón, Margarita Solution Tree Press ePub

ELs need decoding and fluency practice to become good readers—to recognize words and comprehend the text at the same time (Grabe, 2009; Nagy, 2005; Samuels, 1979). However, the greater the attention extended to decoding, the less there is available for comprehension. ELs need balanced time and attention for word meaning, decoding, grammatical structures, background knowledge, and comprehension skills.

Within its limitations, NCLB has managed to highlight the literacy needs of ELs. However, it has been a struggle. Programs such as Reading First reduced this attention to a few reading instructional strategies that were developed and tested for general education students. After Reading First programs were implemented, dissatisfaction with EL progress began to grow. The rush to get ELs on the same page as general education students resulted in pushbacks, not only for them, but also for the general education students.

Teachers were expected to record easily observable elements of reading, such as the number of words read in one minute, and to teach to the elements that were found on the state’s tests. ELs learned to decode as quickly as possible, without understanding a word they were reading, in attempts to please the teacher. As Timothy Rasinski (2011), professor of literacy education at Kent State University, stated:

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Medium 9781935543695

Chapter 5 Getting Started

William Kist Solution Tree Press ePub

There’s no place like home.

Dorothy Gale

In a New York Times article, Michael Kimmelman (2011) asserts, “We tend to underestimate the power of physical places.” The piece focuses on the “power of place,” highlighting the “political power of places” such as Kent State, the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square, and, more recently, Tahrir Square and Zuccotti Park.

But here I am writing a book that suggests that, in the field of education at least, we may have overestimated the power of physical places. In a very real way, the four classroom walls have tended to trap teachers and students into perpetuating longstanding literacy practices and events that may reach the level of ritual (McLaren, 1986). And now, more than ever, those four walls may very easily be transcended in ways that teachers certainly couldn’t have envisioned even a few years ago. What if we can “do” school anywhere at any time?

Of course, this lack of face-to-face communication is scary and depressing to many people when they think about social media in general. But I have to say, after having interviewed so many forward-thinking educators for this book, I have come away optimistic and hopeful about what the virtual spaces of the new media will bring about in our schools, and this is in no small part due to the international scope that our classrooms have. Those educators who want to take advantage of the amazing international potentials in their classrooms have some very clear steps they can take toward the goal of transcending place and time. In this chapter, I discuss some overall trends in the steps taken by the teachers I have interviewed. The following is a summary that may act as a planning guide for those interested in trying some of the ideas that have been presented.

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Medium 9781475811490


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


It is quite gratifying that a scholarly journal would seek, among others, a practitioner’s perspective in responding to the work of its contributors. Indeed, Marshall and Ward’s article in this issue on research on social justice and training for leadership did give me substantial pause for thought. At the outset, then, I applaud their efforts to address what is undoubtedly among the most fundamentally important issues facing principals today. Moreover, I wish to entirely align myself with the spirit of the work. Educational institutions are key sites of cultural reproduction, and as such, the ends of social justice can and should be pursued in our schools. As well, I agree that principals, vested with organizational authority, are in prime positions to advance the ends of social justice by addressing inequities and by enabling teachers, parents, students, and other educational stakeholders to prepare students to live in an increasingly pluralistic world. And among my colleagues, there is certainly a heightened awareness surrounding contentious educational issues relating to privileged and marginalized groups of learners. Quite often, the inequities experienced by these “disadvantaged learners” are attributed to contemporary emphases in educational reforms on performance, efficiency, achievement, and assessment, though social patterns of advantage and disadvantage not only predate recent reforms, but also predate public education altogether. Quite successfully, Marshall and Ward illuminate the importance of collaboration between scholars and practitioners in the development of educative processes for embedding the ends of social justice into leadership practice. Still, Marshall and Ward’s work raises some concerns as well, which need to be addressed if administrative training for social justice is ever to be realized. For purposes of this reaction, I focus on four key areas of concern: (1) the lack of apparent connection between curriculum, instruction, and social justice, (2) the bifurcation of social justice and school improvement, (3) the absence of practical guidance for school leaders, and (4) the implications of advancing the ends of social justice with policy.

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Medium 9781934009420

Chapter 4 Replication: Successes, Lessons Learned, and Suggested Action Steps

Richard A. DeLorenzo Solution Tree Press ePub

Leading Questions

1. Can you replicate an educational system that involves changing our most fundamental approaches to schooling?

2. What are the chances of sustaining a system that represents such deep change?

3. What are the pitfalls and opportunities of replication?

As word of RISC’s mission and its student-centered, performance-based philosophy has spread, schools and districts across Alaska (and a growing number in the Lower 48 states) have made an official commitment to transition to the RISC Approach to Schooling. This chapter highlights the lessons learned by these early adopters of the RISC model.

The deep changes that accompany adoption of the RISC approach can be difficult and unsettling; when challenges arise, it can be tempting to discard the model instead of grappling with difficult questions. One of the most well-organized supports for systems to stay the course through the replication process is the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition.

As described in chapter 2, the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition (see www.reinventingschools.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to replicating the RISC model and supporting other schools and districts as they move through this process. Fundamentally, it is also a coalition of the districts and schools that are replicating the RISC approach. By creating a formal alliance of the organizations implementing the model, the collaboration process that the Chugach School District used so effectively to inspire synergism and innovative thinking was expanded. The coalition is a reflection of the idea that “two minds are better than one.” In this case, many minds—focused on a shared goal—are better than a few.

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Medium 9780874218442

4. Ritual

Martha Sims Utah State University Press ePub

Groups frequently devise ceremonies or performances that enact deeply held beliefs or values. These are rituals, and they make our inner experiences of traditions visible and observable to members of the group and often to outsiders. Have you been initiated into a club or other organization in an elaborate ceremony? That's a ritual, one that marks your status as a full-fledged member of the group and tells the rest of the group as well as outsiders that membership is important—it makes you special, different from others who don't belong to the group. If you have ever taken part in or seen a court trial, you have probably seen witnesses place their left hand on a Bible and raise their right and swear to tell the truth. That, too, is a ritual, which makes it clear to all involved that truth is both a sacred and secular principle that the US legal system venerates. Participating in that ritual implies that the witness, too, recognizes that truth is a founding principle of the law and agrees to uphold it, regardless of the witness's faith or belief in the binding power of the oath. This ritual and the principle it symbolizes are so powerful that if a witness refuses to take part, his or her testimony may not be accepted, and if it is discovered that a witness has lied, he or she may be punished.

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Medium 9781934009611

Chapter 3 Setting Up Differentiated Job-Embedded Professional Development

Linda Bowgen Solution Tree Press ePub

We know that if all students are to learn, then all teachers must also learn on a daily basis. This requires a change in the landscape of professional development. For professional development to become ongoing learning, teachers need many opportunities within their school day to observe and reflect with their colleagues. In this way, teachers can “learn from their work rather than taking time away from their work to learn” (Hernez-Broome & Hughes, 2004, p. 27). Moreover, professional development should not be designed to meet short-term goals. Its purpose is to enable teachers and administrators to find the root causes for challenges and to devise long-term solutions.

First and foremost, a district or school must commit to moving adult learning forward through job-embedded professional development. Adopting the three-step model introduced in chapter 2 will then allow the differentiation of the delivery of learning to teachers. Districts and schools can implement the “I Do, We Do, You Do” model to support each data-driven initiative and target.

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Medium 9781936763528

Chapter 1 Knowing You Are Not Alone

Lyle Kirtman Solution Tree Press ePub

As complicated as things are these days in education, the pressures we face as educators pave the path for a radical new way. Some of these pressures arise from the growing realization that the system is wracked with weaknesses; however, positive pressures join these negative pressures and inspire the creation of a new system. This is actually a very good time to be an educational leader, to identify kindred spirits, and to cultivate and mobilize real leaders. Despite this, many high-performing leaders feel alone.

High-performing leaders have forged a path to success that is against the grain and counter to the practices of their colleagues. They have felt the need to keep quiet about what they believe is needed to improve the education process. Such leaders feel they are destined to be alone because the majority of regulators and political leaders will be critical of their practices or, even worse, try to stop them. However, these pioneers are everywhere in the United States and around the world challenging the status quo in education but often feeling alone in their pursuit. In this book, we show that great leaders are really not alone; they have a network of colleagues who might be described as below the radar. Their greatness as leaders can be brought to the surface.

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Medium 9781475821253

The Development of Literacy Coaches’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs in a Dual-Role Position

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Susan Chambers Cantrell

Angie Madden

Margaret Rintamaa

Janice F. Almasi

Janis C. Carter

The Development of Literacy Coaches’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs in a Dual-Role Position

ABSTRACT: In this sequential mixed-methods study, we examined literacy coaches’ self-efficacy development in 21 secondary schools over the course of a 4-year literacy initiative. Teacher efficacy surveys revealed that coaches experienced a decrease in their sense of self-efficacy after their first year of participation and gained an increasing sense of competence as the project progressed. Through exit interviews, respondents indicated that coaches’ initial dip in efficacy was linked to overwhelming and competing responsibilities. Their subsequent efficacy increases were supported by internal and external influences, such as personal growth and student learning. Given the study results, we suggest a model of literacy coaches’ self-efficacy development.

In U.S. secondary schools, curricular changes—such as integrating literacy across the content areas and providing supplemental reading interventions for students who do not read well—have resulted in increased employment of specialized literacy professionals in leadership roles (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Bridgeland, DiIulio, & Morison, 2006; Kamil et al., 2008; National Governors Association, 2005). Often, these school leaders are literacy coaches who provide teachers with job-embedded professional development focused on modeling, feedback, and collective problem solving related to the teachers’ literacy instruction (International Reading Association, 2006; Neufeld & Roper, 2003; Paglinco et al., 2003). Coaches work to change teachers’ practices in ways that enhance student learning, and they may work directly with students.

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Medium 9781935542995

Four What Is Brain-Compatible Assessment?

David A. Sousa Solution Tree Press ePub

There has been much discussion in recent years about using informal assessment systems in addition to traditional written tests (summative assessments). However, due in part to the rise of high-stakes testing, progress toward actually including more informal assessments has been slow. Alternative assessments (sometimes called authentic assessments) include observation techniques, performance-based assessments, portfolios, and student self-assessments. These forms of assessment are considered authentic indicators of student achievement because they closely resemble what students might be asked to do in class or in a real-world situation. Properly designed and implemented, these options, especially performance assessments, align closely with curriculum and instruction that emphasize the construction of knowledge and problem solving in authentic contexts.

However, the seemingly relentless national push for high standards and powerful accountability systems based on norm-referenced test scores have been largely responsible for hesitancy among educational leaders to encourage broad-based assessment options. Consequently, teachers who might have been willing to consider alternative assessments may not implement them because of perceived time constraints or administrative pressure to teach to the test. For the foreseeable future, pressure for teacher, school, and district accountability based on large-scale assessment will most likely intensify and become a source of debate about its fairness and impact (Sousa, 2003). However, brain-compatible assessment tries to make the following transitions:

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Medium 9780253005939


Matthew Tully Indiana University Press ePub



At Manual many of the students don’t show up often enough to get left behind. I’d been at the school for less than a week but had already discovered that its most vexing problem was also the most fundamental: there was a basic inability to get students to walk through the front doors. Teachers repeatedly told me about leading classes that were missing half of their students. They complained about students who showed up once or twice a week, or students who walked out of or into a class midway through a lesson. Then they told me about the many students who simply never made it to school. Not for a month. Not for a week. Not for a day. And not for a single class. It happened every year, they said. It got worse as the school year went on, with many students—freshmen and sophomores in particular—disappearing. The missing kids were faded memories, their empty desks symbols of another generation of dropouts who would be forced to find a way in the world without even the most basic education.

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