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Medium 9781935543305

4 Developing a Family Engagement Plan

Ricardo LeBlanc-Esparza Solution Tree Press ePub

You have looked at your school’s current attitudes and practices with regard to family engagement and examined how your school communicates with families. This general information has helped you understand the climate in your school. Now it’s time to gather the specific data that will allow you to formulate a plan for improving family engagement in your school. Recommendations from publications such as Beyond the Bake Sale (Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2007) and A New Wave of Evidence (Henderson & Mapp, 2002) can help frame family-engagement goals and plans. Another excellent place to start is with the PTA Implementation Guide.

An excellent means for acquiring data is the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships implementation guide (National Parent Teacher Association [NPTA], 2007). The guide is focused on helping schools meet the six standards the PTA has identified for school-home partnerships:

1.  Welcoming all families

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Medium 9781475816020


International Journal of Educational Ref Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

John M. Jenkins

Department of Educational Leadership

Norman Hall, Room 2403

College of Education

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL 32611

I start with the premise that the fanction of leadership is to produce more leaders, not followers.

—Ralph Nader

Most national and state documents which address the goals of education include a statement about lifelong learning. The thought is that students who develop lifelong learning skills will be able to maintain a sense of economic stability as employment responsibilities change and as new jobs replace current ones. It is often said that a student in school today will likely change jobs at least five times before retiring from the work force.

Lifelong learning skills can also have implications for one’s social development. As a naval officer, I still remember the billboard at the entrance to the Oceana, Virginia, Naval Air Station which contained a marvelous quote from Thomas Jefferson, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” In the military context, this quotation has one meaning, but it can also be applied to the need for an educated citizenry in a democracy. Regardless of their choice of profession, vocation, or occupation, all members of our society have responsibilities to understand the present social context and its implications for the continuance of the quality of life in our society. In a democracy, everyone has civic responsibilities.

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Medium 9781935249955

Chapter 6: Learning Mathematics

McREL Solution Tree Press ePub

What does it mean to learn mathematics? This question is addressed in the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Children are natural learners. They are inquisitive about patterns and shapes, recognizing and creating them from a young age. They count, measure, and share objects. For children, mathematics is learned by doing. Their school experience of mathematics learning should include problem solving and reasoning through grade 12, not simply lectures, books, and worksheets.

During the twentieth century, educators’ understanding of the learning process progressed from behavioral observations through cognitive psychology to improved knowledge about neurophysiology. The 1990s were dubbed “the decade of the brain” because of the tremendous increase in understanding of how the brain works. Twenty-first-century educators are improving their classroom practice through application of the newest understandings from neuroscience.

Since the 1990s the general public has become more aware of mathematics education reform than ever before. Publications such as the National Commission on Excellence in Education’s A Nation at Risk, the standards-setting work of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and reports from TIMSS, PISA, and the National Mathematics Advisory Panel highlight the need for reform. Most people agree that mathematical literacy extends beyond knowledge of mathematics concepts and procedures into the ability to create mathematical models of situations, solve the problems represented by the models, and interpret the solutions in terms of societal implications.

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Medium 9781475811711

“At Every Turn”: The Resistance That Principals Face in Their Pursuit of Equity and Justice

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

George Theoharis

“At Every Turn”: The Resistance That Principals Face in Their Pursuit of Equity and Justice

ABSTRACT: This article details the struggles that principals faced as they sought to enact an equity-oriented agenda. Utilizing a qualitative approach combined with principles of autoethnography, seven urban principals described the resistance they faced “at every turn” in their pursuit of equity and social justice. This resistance was produced by such factors as the scope of the principalship, the momentum of the status quo, obstructive staff attitudes and beliefs, privileged parental expectations, formidable bureaucracy, unsupportive central-office administrators, prosaic colleagues, a lack of resources, harmful state and federal regulations, and principal preparation. These leaders also explained the physical and emotional toll they experienced as a result of facing this resistance.

“Every day, at every turn, from every direction, I run up against barriers to this equity work,” commented one principal when asked about the resistance she faced in trying to enact a social justice agenda. While the principals in this study helped to transform their schools into more just environments (Frattura & Capper, 2007) for students and staff, they encountered tremendous resistance. These principals reported that this work felt like a constant uphill struggle.

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Medium 9781935543244

Chapter 4: Professional Learning by Design

Anne E. Conzemius Solution Tree Press ePub

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.


Learning Forward published its “Definition of Professional Development” in 2009: “The term ‘professional development’ means a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement” (Learning Forward, 2010). If we consider PLC work through the lens of the definition of professional development, the connection is clear. Professional development is learning through reflection on collaborative practice.

In the busy world of schools, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the daily practice of teaching and learning holds the most potential for professional learning. The promise of such collaborative work toward the shared responsibility of student learning cannot be overstated. Oversimplification of the complexity of teachers’ work leads to the misconception that learning from their practice is something teachers do in addition to their real work or that they need others to tell them what to learn and when. School-based professional learning needs to be systematically designed into collaborative structures and processes while being articulated specifically over time until “professional development that fosters collective responsibility for improved student performance” is the new norm (Learning Forward, 2010). In this context, plans for professional learning should be:

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Medium 9781934009154


Lee Canter Solution Tree Press ePub

Teachers’ knowledge of best practices in classroom management is obviously a necessary first step in enabling them to create a safe, orderly classroom environment. The reality is though, that there are more steps needed to ensure teachers have the supports needed to maximize their ability to help students learn to behave appropriately in the classroom.

In this addendum we will provide an introduction to two important steps to increase teachers’ success:

1. The Real Time Classroom Coaching Model—A new model of coaching to enable mentors, coaches, and others to assist teachers with raising their level of mastery in the use of classroom management skills

2. Establishing a schoolwide Assertive Discipline program—A model for school leadership teams to utilize to establish a schoolwide behavior management program that supports teachers’ classroom efforts

Having teachers receive training in classroom management, be it reading books, watching videos, or attending live or online training, is an important first step to improve their classroom management skills. But experience and research teach us this step is often woefully insufficient.

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Medium 9781475824711

Students’ Perceptions of Project-Based Learning Within the New Tech School Model

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Students’ Perceptions of Project-Based Learning Within the New Tech School Model

Gina G. Mosier

Jill Bradley-Levine

Tyonka Perkins

ABSTRACT: This study used survey design to investigate how high school students perceive the implementation success of a school reform called the New Tech School (NTS) model, which is organized around project-based learning (PBL), a democratic school culture, and technology integration. The study examined the relationship of the PBL instructional approach to specific indicators of NTS success as viewed by the students. Statistically significant, positive relationships were found between PBL and these indicators of success. By examining students’ perceptions, this study affirmed that PBL is critically linked to improved outcomes within the context of the NTS reform model. Implications for all educators incorporating PBL in the New Tech environment are discussed.

KEYWORDS: project-based learning, New Tech, 21st century skills

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Medium 9781942496427

Chapter 6 Measurement

Juli K. Dixon Solution Tree Press ePub

In grades 3–5, topics central to measurement include concepts related to perimeter, area, volume, elapsed time, angles, and conversion within systems. Contexts related to measurement offer opportunities for students to engage in problem solving.

The initial task in this chapter (figure 6.1) provides an opportunity for you to engage in problem solving related to measurement. This task involves the use of the geoboard and geoboard dot paper. If you do not have access to a geoboard, the activity can be completed using virtual geoboard manipulatives or the geoboard dot paper provided.

Make nine different (simple) polygons, each with an area of four square units. Record them on geoboard dot paper so that each polygon is on its own board.

Figure 6.1: Geoboard polygons task.

Visit go.solution-tree.com/mathematics for a free reproducible version of this figure.

In order to solve this task, you also need to define different in terms of the problem. In this problem, different means not congruent. Therefore, the polygons in figure 6.2 would not qualify as different because they are transformations of one another. In figure 6.2, you can see that the second figure was just a translation of the first, and the third figure was a rotation of the first figure. Polygons are the same if they are congruent, regardless of their location or orientation on the geoboard (see chapter 5 for more on polygons).

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Medium 9780982702970

4    Focusing on the Right Work

Richard DuFour Solution Tree Press ePub

Focusing on the Right Work

If you have worked with staff to establish a common mission, shared vision, collective commitments, and mutual goals, you have laid the foundation of a PLC. If you and the staff have established the structures that support a collaborative culture, you have addressed an essential prerequisite for an effective PLC. If at that point, however, the educators in your building do not focus their collaborative efforts on the right work, there will be no gains in student achievement. One of the most important responsibilities of a principal in leading the PLC process is to ensure all staff members understand the nature of the work to be done and demonstrate the discipline to focus their collective efforts on that work. As DuFour and Marzano (2011) explain:

Collaboration is morally neutral. It will benefit neither students nor practitioners unless educators demonstrate the discipline to co-labor on the right work. The important question every district, school, and team must address is not, “Do we collaborate,” but rather, “What do we collaborate about?” To paraphrase W. Edwards Deming, it is not enough to work hard; you must clarify the right work, and then work hard. Effective leaders at all levels will ensure there is agreement on the right work. (p. 83)

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Medium 9781475830569

Editorial: Socialization of Teachers in an Era of Neoliberal Accountability

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Socialization of Teachers in an Era of Neoliberal Accountability


Learning to teach is a complex process, made so in large part by the “interaction of personal factors, such as the teacher candidate’s knowledge and beliefs about teaching, learning, and subject matter, and situational factors, such as expectations, demands, and feedback from key actors in the university and public school settings” (Varrati, Lavine, & Turner, 2009, p. 484). Learning to teach in this sense is a socialization1 process into the teaching profession that places many demands on the preservice and novice teacher, often overwhelming and frustrating these individuals as they are socialized into the profession.

Situated in a rapidly changing society, with its massive social and economic inequalities among individuals, the preparation and socialization of preservice and novice teachers into the teaching profession is met with unyielding pressures in today’s public schools and universities. Many of these pressures in educational systems are a result of the spread of neoliberal2 politics and policies about markets, privatization, deregulation, and the private versus public good (see Ball, 2012; Beyer, 2007; Dahlstrom, 2009; Kumashiro, 2010; Ross & Gibson, 2006; Zeichner, 2010). The domination of public education by business interests and political lobbyists is a direct result of the current era of neoliberal capitalism focused on openly promoting “the spirit of competition among schools, educators and students through a policy of high-stakes accountability for immediately measurable educational outcomes” (Guerrero & Farruggio, 2012, p. 553). This same market-driven competition has been invasive in higher education, in particular targeting teacher preparation.3

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Medium 9781475815924


International Journal of Educational Ref Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


College of Education

The Pennsylvania State University

Chambers Building

University Park, PA 16802

You must have a positive alternative, a vision of a better future that can motivate people to sacrifice their time and energy towards its realization.1

Traditional educational theory views schools primarily in terms that borrow from the jargon of the natural sciences; that is, within this mythic discourse, schools are seen basically as places that objectively transmit the best and most worthwhile knowledge equally to all students who enter their halls. In this perspective, schools are the stepping stone for achieving the American dream, bastions of promise and possibility for those students who exhibit the right attitudes, values and effort. In this rosy and cleansed view of schooling, issues relating to power, knowledge and domination drop out of existence. Social issues are reduced to personal attributes; institutional failure is displaced by the dislocating languages of either Western humanism or behavioral psychology; issues that illuminate how class, gender, race, and ethnicity function as part of the discourse of schooling are either ignored or subverted through the language of empiricism and efficiency. At the same time, the discourse of objectivism serves to hide the Eurocentricism, nativism, and racism that often inform the content and context of curricula in American schools.

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Medium 9781936764327

Chapter 5 Utilizing Common Formative Assessment

Nicholas Jay Myers Solution Tree Press ePub

Common assessments drive instructional decision making by informing our practice and helping us identify students in need of intervention and enrichment. Grade-level teams meet regularly to review common assessment data and determine how students are progressing towards mastering a particular learning outcome. Our use of common assessments has also allowed for self-reflection for personal professional development. By administering common assessments and analyzing results, teachers are able to identify areas where they need to improve instruction to best help students.


Educators in PLCs are hungry for student data. The use of common formative assessments enables teacher teams to discover students’ strengths and weaknesses and adjust instruction accordingly. DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, and Many (2010) define common formative assessment as follows:

An assessment typically created collaboratively by a team of teachers responsible for the same grade level or course and used frequently throughout the year to identify (1) individual students who need additional time and support for learning, (2) the teaching strategies most effective in helping students acquire the intended knowledge and skills, and (3) curriculum concerns, and (4) improvement goals. (p. 2)

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Medium 9781934009598

Part IV: Spring: Looking Forward

Graham, Parry Solution Tree Press ePub



Karen remembered the professional learning team meeting back in early February, the one that she had walked out of in tears. Oh, what a difference two months can make!

The team had decided to create a comprehensive common assessment in language arts to measure student achievement for the entire second quarter, and the February meeting had been their first chance to start analyzing the data from the assessment. In hindsight, it seemed that just about everything that could have gone wrong did.

Tom, the assistant principal, had facilitated the meeting, and everyone had sent him their students’ scores from the assessment beforehand. No one had been quite sure what to expect from the meeting. The team had been discussing student work samples for months and had done some simple data analysis from a few formative assessments. This, however, was the first time they sat down together as a team to really look at some hard numbers. Needless to say, everyone was a little nervous going into the meeting.

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Medium 9781574412024

Chapter 22. Talking Fancy

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF


hen I was in the seventh grade, ‘Fessor Jones, who drove the school bus and taught general science, told me that only thirteen people in the world could understand Einstein’s theory of relativity. And I was not one of them. Nor would I ever be. And then Miss Pate, the English teacher who was widely thought to be a devil worshiper, introduced us to the works of two drunkard dope-fiend poets and a consumptive—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Alan Poe, and

John Keats. After two days of “Annabel Lee,” “Kubla Khan,” and

“Ode to a Nightingale,” my classmate Ellie Pearl Wallace, who at thirteen weighed exactly the same as Gene Tunney did when he defeated Jack Dempsey, expressed herself on the subject of poetry.

“I hate it,” she averred. “All it is is a bunch of them old hidden meanings.” Actually, Ellie Pearl didn’t “aver.” I put that fancy word in her mouth, but I quoted her correctly about all “them old hidden meanings.” Ellie Pearl, you might say today, “had issues” with poetry. Think about the phrase “having issues” for a second.

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Medium 9781574411713

2: Conclusion

Guadalupe San Miguel Jr. University of North Texas Press PDF



time between pre-and post-testing, the programs being studied, the adequacy of instructional staff, and the sources of funds being used.64 A particularly biting critique was issued by Robert A. Cervantes, an educator from California. Cervantes’ critique, unlike most of his contemporaries’, was broad in scope and went beyond criticizing technical aspects of the evaluation. He provided an overview of the events leading to the awarding of the contract to conduct a national evaluation of bilingual education and explained the reasons for acceptance of a “flawed” proposal. He argued that the award to AIR was related to the politics of

Watergate (Nixon’s reelection committee) and was part of a systematic plan to deprive Development Associates—the alternative group of evaluators—of federal contracts.65

Despite these criticisms, the AIR Report raised serious questions about the effectiveness of bilingual education. It was the first report to do so.


The passage of the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 was viewed in extremely positive terms by legislators, educators, and activists of all sorts. Despite its enactment, bilingual education was a minor, compensatory, and voluntary piece of legislation. During the next decade the proponents of bilingual education began to change its character and to transform the policy as it was being implemented. They expanded the scope of bilingual education legislation, contested the goals of this program, increased its funding, eliminated its compensatory provisions, and made it mandatory. In doing so, they significantly increased the federal role in local education.

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