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  • Shut The Front Door Shut The Front Door

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      As an educator, I am often surprised by the things I hear other educators say. You hear these comments at conferences, read opinions shared on Twitter, overhear opinions shared at other schools, and possibly even hear one of these statements at your own school. These statements make me cringe. When we are working with students, it is difficult to understand the statements that some educators make.

       

      Ten Statements That Make Me Say, "Shut The Front Door!"

       

      "Those students can't go to college. We should just prepare them for a career, starting in middle school."

      In 1903, Saunders, a professor at the University of Mississippi, described the perspective of many Americans at the turn of the century.  He wrote, "College education is desirable and theoretically necessary for preeminence, but it is not for the masses, and it would be but a utopian theory to plan for the day when a bachelor's degree shall be a qualification for suffrage or a necessity for success and happiness" (p. 73).

       

      In 2014, several Americans still share this perspective. The recent move towards College and Career Readiness is a positive move in education. This movement does not guarantee that every student will enter a four year college. It is the idea that every student should be provided with the opportunity to learn (OTL) key skills and concepts. Furthermore, adults should not determine a child's plans after high school when the child is in the seventh grade.

       

      "Our seventh graders made a PowerPoint, so I would say that I am proficient with technology integration."

      I am not offended by teachers saying that they require students to make a PowerPoint. However, it should be a red flag to administrators if any teacher hangs their hat on one project that incorporates technology. Technology integration should become seamless. In other words student projects will require technology integration, but the focus is on student understanding, not the device or program. After all, did you ever hear a teacher say, “My students used a pencil and paper today?” 

       

      "The Common Core State Standards are not new ideas. I have always taught this way."

      Regardless of your stance (for or against) the Common Core State Standards, there are obvious changes in the way teachers should approach curriculum development, instruction, and common formative assessments. "These Standards are not intended to be new names for old ways of doing business. They are a call to take the next step” (Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Introduction, p. 5). Be aware of teacher teams and administrators who claim, “This is how we have always done it.”

       

      The new standards will not fit into your state’s old standards like a jigsaw puzzle. The Common Core State Standards provide an opportunity to change how teacher teams communicate, collaborate, and reflect on standards. In the absence of ongoing communication, it will be easy to revert back to teaching in isolation and struggling to understand each standard. “Failure to understand the Standards and adjust practices accordingly will likely result in ‘same old, same old’ teaching with only superficial connections to the grade level Standards. In that case, their promise to enhance student performance will not be realized” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2012).

       

      "I require the gifted students to do double the work. They can handle it, because 'they are gifted.'"

      You do not hear this myth as often as you did at the turn of the century. However, there are still misconceptions about rigor and about homework for gifted students. Giving gifted students more work does not support student understanding. If you hear a teacher bragging about giving the gifted students double the work, you should refer them to resources such as (Edmonds, SERVE) and Rigor on Trial (Wagner, 2006).

       

      "How do you expect me to read a journal article or blog. There's no time for that."

      The field of education is changing and professional growth is not optional. Online journal articles, blogs written by teachers and administrators, Twitter chats, webinars, and teaching videos provide educators with a multitude of resources. As a professional, I grow frustrated when someone claims that there is no time for continuous improvement. As educators, we should continue to grow and seek to understand best practices. It is professional malpractice to claim that there is no time for learning.

       

      "Those aren't my students."

      Teachers in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) change from saying ‘those kids’ to ‘our kids’ (DuFour, DuFour, & Eaker, 2008). If the goal is to prepare all students to graduate College and Career Ready, then the teachers and staff members in the school district must collaborate to support students. Principals within the same school district should share ideas and discuss instructional strategies. Competition is good when it comes to athletics, marching band, academic clubs, and science fairs. It is also appropriate to see which school has the highest graduation rate, lowest dropout rate, and highest number of students enrolled in advanced courses. The idea that “Those aren’t my students” should be a thing of the past. As adults, we should share ideas within our school district, across state lines, and even around the globe. When more students graduate prepared for college and careers, the world wins! These are “OUR” students!

       

      "Do we get credit for attending this meeting?"

      Have you ever heard a colleague whisper, “I hope they are giving us credit for this.” Most school districts require a number of credits over the course of one year or a five year span. If a teacher is more focused on receiving credit than learning, it is a red flag. Have you ever attended a meeting until lunch and then your co-worker goes to the mall, because the credit was given in the registration packet? It is a shame that some educators view the credit as the purpose for attending. Don’t get me wrong. I believe that educators should receive credit in order to renew their license. I also believe that more school districts should begin recognizing blogging, Twitter chats, and webinars as ways to earn credit. Asking for credit is similar to the following scenario:

       

      A high school basketball coach asks the starting five to run a play in practice, one day before the game. The starting point guard pauses before running the play and asks, “Will we all five get to start in the game if we run this play right?”

       

      Running the play several times is part of continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is the reason for professional development, not credit or a certificate.

       

      "We are no longer teaching during the last nine weeks. We have started benchmarking and test prep."

      Test prep is one of the worst things that teachers can do during the last nine weeks. Did you ever try to cram for a test in college? It usually does not result in transfer or understanding. There are multiple approaches that educators can take which will virtually guarantee instant gains or increases in student achievement. Curricular reductionism is a test prep strategy that eliminates arts education, social studies, character education, and soft skills. If it’s not tested, then it’s not taught during the last nine weeks (or even semester in some schools).

       

      Taking shortcuts to improve the data at an individual school is akin to a professional athlete taking steroids. When our students graduate from high school, we do not want them to reflect on their K-12 experience and see that the shortcuts adults took created long-term detrimental effects.

       

      When educators choose to give students multiple assessments that look like the high-stakes test, eliminate subjects, and create a test prep boot camp atmosphere, then students lose. High-stakes tests have changed the way some teachers and administrators approach teaching and learning.

       

      "I would assign more project-based learning, but it interferes with the pacing guide."

      Pacing guides provide students with a ‘guaranteed and viable curriculum’ (Marzano), if the curriculum is implemented in each classroom. Pacing guides can support teaching and learning. Alignment in a school district is important and pacing guides can provide an outline of what should be taught to each student. Pacing guides should allow for flexibility in pacing and the readiness level of each student.

       

      The statement above is often overheard at high schools that teach on a block schedule. While there may be 90 minute periods, some teachers cannot overcome the fact that a one year course is taught in one semester. If student understanding is improved through project-based learning (PBL), then teachers should identify days of the week and units of study that provide students with time for PBL.

       

      I say, “Shut the Front Door” to this comment, because it is an example of putting the needs of adults in front of the needs of students. We are paid to prepare each student for the next level of learning. Some educators say, “Research be damned, I am going to get through the pacing guide and make sure that I cover the content.”

       

      "I believe that soft skills are critically important, but they aren't tested by the state."

      Soft skills include, but are not limited to, teamwork, decision-making, and communication (America’s Promise Alliance, 2007). “The goal of college and career readiness for all high school graduates is no longer a radical reform idea promulgated by a handful of states: It has emerged as the new norm throughout the nation” (Achieve, 2010, p. 23).

       

      Employers seek applicants who are problem solvers, communicators, team players, and have perseverance. These skills, sometimes referred to as soft skills, are needed by all high school graduates to ensure that they are college and career ready, regardless of whether they plan to complete an apprenticeship after high school or attend a two-year or four-year college.  While employers are seeking students with strong academic skills, they are having trouble finding applicants who can collaborate, create, think outside the box, and communicate. When educators focus on tested subjects at the expense of soft skills, students pay the price. If test scores are the reason for teaching and learning, then someone forgot to tell the employers who are seeking qualified applicants (Wagner, Seven Survival Skills as described by business leaders in their own words).

       

      Closing Thoughts

      I believe in instructional leadership, teacher leaders, the Common Core State Standards, curriculum alignment, professional learning communities, and College and Career Readiness. When teachers and administrators make statements that you disagree with, you should challenge the statement. As a professional, you owe it to students and to the profession to challenge broad statements or beliefs that are not in the best interests of students or the profession.

       

      Share your thoughts below:

      What makes you say, “Shut the Front Door?”

        

      Steven Weber is an elementary school principal in North Carolina. During his career, he has served as the Director of Secondary Instruction for Orange County Schools, High School Social Studies Consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, K-12 Social Studies Specialist with the Arkansas Department of Public Instruction, and as a classroom teacher and assistant principal in the West Memphis School District. Weber blogs on ASCD EDge. You can connect with Weber on Twitter at @curriculumblog.

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    • 3 months ago
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  • Check out these #ASCD14 Sessio Check out these #ASCD14 Sessions with ASCD Leaders

  • First, Take a Step Back First, Take a Step Back

    • From: Mamzelle_Adolphine
    • Description:

       

      This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation “how do cultivate and support teacher leaders?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.

       

      Before forging ahead with plans to identify and cultivate teacher leaders, principals need to reassess whether they themselves fully understand what leadership is, whether their brand of leadership is still relevant, and whether they can identify how leadership is exhibited.  Paying attention to these factors will evidence whether or not a “leadership gap” exists and determine if it is okay to move on with the process of selecting teacher leaders.

       

      The Leadership Gap
      The leadership gap refers to the lack of leadership skills that are needed to lead effectively.  It is one of the factors that is said to contribute to the overall “skills gap,” that is, the lack of a skilled workforce needed to meet labor demands; an issue that has been blamed chiefly on educational institutions.  

       

      Leadership for the Future
      In “Bridging the Gap,” a report based on a 2009 American Society for Training (ASTD) poll,  50 percent of the respondents stated that there was a lack of leadership skills in organizations.  Similarly, the report “Understanding the Leadership Gap,” based on results from a 2010 survey conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) to compare leadership skills that are deemed important “now” to those that will be deemed important in the future, found that leaders lack the skills that they need to be effective.   Leadership skills that were identified as being important for the future include:

      • leading people;
      • strategic planning;
      • inspiring commitment;
      • managing change;
      • resourceful, participative management;
      • being a quick learner;
      • employee development;
      • doing whatever it takes; and
      • balancing personal life and work.

       

      Leader Development
      It is important to note that in the 2010 survey “employee development,” which was not listed as being an important leadership skill for now; it was added to the list as an important leadership skill for the future.  This skill, together with another, that of employing participative management, are directly related to how teacher leaders can be identified and cultivated.  For instance, in its white paper entitled, “Re-imagining Teaching: Five Structures to Transform the Profession,” the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) writes of one type of participative management, which is referred to as “distributed leadership.”  This involves giving teachers the chance to take on leadership roles among peers and allowing them to participate in making school wide decisions including decisions about instruction.  Principals would have to relinquish some control in order to put this type of initiative in place; in essence they would be required to change their leadership style. 

       

      In fact, the results of a 2013 study conducted by the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) entitled, “The Leadership Deficit” also suggest that there is a leadership skills deficit and that this it is chiefly due to outdated leadership styles and insufficient resources employed to develop potential leaders.

       

      Close the Leadership Gap, Close the Skills Gap
      These studies offer insights into best practices when it comes to what skills leaders need in order to effectively identify and cultivate other leaders.   Perhaps armed with such insights, educators can make a dent in the leadership gap, which may in turn have some bearing on the skills gap.

       

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    • 5 months ago
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  • 50 Shades of Grit Part 1 50 Shades of Grit Part 1

    • From: Jennifer_Davis_Bowman
    • Description:

      Did you know that 46% of new teachers leave the profession in the first five years according to a report in a 2011 Forbes education article? This whopping statistic made me wonder, what makes the 56% of educators stay?  Outside of the love for learning, and an interest in helping others, I believe the #1reason that teachers become classroom "stayers" is due to a little something called grit. 

       

      In any discussion of the term "grit", instantly the movie "My Cousin Vinny" comes to mind. The film follows the trial of two guys wrongly accused of robbery. In one pivotal court scene, the time required to prepare grits was used to establish doubt in the case. Specifically, because a homemade breakfast of grits required a very long, slow cook, the prosecutor's proposed timeline fell apart. So, the takeaway for me was that grit(s) develops over time.

       

      Let’s take a closer look at this thing called grit.  For instance:

       

      To continue with the Hollywood film theme, the concept was featured in the 2010 western movie title "True Grit" in which a young teen showed determination in seeking justice for her father's murder. 

       

      In the world of idioms, the phrase "grit your teeth" is associated with preparing or bracing for a difficult task. Similarly, the phrase "getting down to the nitty-gritty" alludes to dissecting a problem from root to tip. 

       

      Even when the term is used in different contexts, one factor rings true:  grit survives.  It’s not hard to see why teacher grit reflects an ongoing, determined attitude that withstands classroom challenges.

       

      We have looked at the inherent survival nature of grit.  Can grit completely be described by this feature alone?  How can we begin to examine how grit may change due to a teacher’s experiences?  Because grit builds slowly, just as colors gradually merge into a rainbow, I began to think of an analogy to help examine the process.  Below, I have developed 6 color-minded questions to help educators take a closer look at grit: 

       

      1. How has different classroom experiences discolored or enhanced your grit overtime?

       

      2. How might you prevent colorblindness or biases from interfering with the development of teacher grit?

       

      3. What factors from your upbringing or training contribute to the development of a stainable (versus a washable)      stance towards students, parents, and school staff?

       

      4.  When help is needed in the classroom, how does your grit facilitate the pursuit of assistance versus the use of color blocking to deny aid?

       

      5. Classrooms are more racially diverse than ever before.  How can grit impact yourresponse if you or the students become color struck?

       

      6. In art, primary colors are used to develop more color options.  How could educator's use grit to improve and build additional skills in the classroom?

       

      As you continue to manage the challenges in your classroom, don't forget to ask yourself, 'what color is your grit?'  The following 2 resources may be helpful in developing maintaining, or reflecting upon your grit.

       

      Please note that this is Part 1 of a series on grit.  Part 2 will focus on student grit and and Part 3 will target developing grit in parents.

       

      Resources

      Browder, D.M., Wood, W.M., Test, D.W., Karvonen, M., & Alggozine, B. (2001).  Reviewing resources in self-determination: A map for teachers.  Remedial and Special Education, 22, 233-244.

       

      Wagner, B.D. (2010).  Motivation, work satisfaction and teacher change among early childhood education teachers.  Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 24, 152-171. 

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    • 6 months ago
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  • On the moral obligation of sha On the moral obligation of sharing

    • From: Jennie_Snyder
    • Description:

      I've been developing a personal learning network (PLN) through Twitter and online forums for the past few years. I found my initial forays into social media to be a bit disorienting. The flow of information was overwhelming. It was difficult to get my bearings. But, I stuck with it -- dipping in, then stepping away, and then returning. I found it to be a process -- at first I mainly "lurked", viewing the contributions of others, then gradually I began to share and engage with others.

      Through this process, I have discovered what Lyn Hilt (@L_Hilt) has referred to as "Effort In = Reward Out." Along the way, I have benefited in real ways from the ideas, practices and insights shared by the amazing and thoughtful educators who are part of my PLN. Engaging with the work of others has nudged me to take riskspushed me to think more deeply, and opened up new ideas for empowering students in their learning

      In the (tongue-in-cheek) words of George Siemens, these powerful learning experiences led me to conclude that "My Personal Learning Network is the most awesomest thing ever!" Siemens's piece challenged my thinking about PLN's, in general, and helped me to think differently about the importance of my network and my place within it.

      Let me explain. I must admit I have tended to see the value of my PLN in terms of "what it does for me." Through network connections, I have been able to access new ideas and practices that I've been able to use in my work. However, this understanding of the importance of PLNs, as Siemens points out, is not sufficient:

      Creation, collaboration, and sharing are the true value points of a PLN. It's not what it does for me, but rather what I am now able to do with and for others...What's important with a PLN is not 'what it does for me' but rather how I can use it to change things in education, society, or the world. Learning networks give us potential for action.

      It is not seeking knowledge for my own benefit, but creating and sharing with others to work toward a larger purpose that matters.

      Siemens's post resonated with the argument that Dean Shareski lays out in this short video of his 2010 keynote presentation for the K-12 Online Conference, "Sharing: A Moral Imperative."* In his talk, Shareski argues that sharing our learning regularly with others is an ethical obligation, one rooted in our responsibility to educate all students, not just the ones within our schools and districts, but also those in the wider global community.

      Siemens and Shareski both make the case that sharing is not just a "nice thing to do," but it is essential in building a sharing culture that is ultimately grounded in our moral purpose to educate children. Taken together, these two educators helped me to develop a deeper understanding of our ethical obligation to put our learning into action and, most importantly, to share and refine our learning along the way as a contribution to the greater good for students within our schools and beyond.

      What do you think of Siemens and Shareski's perspectives? As always, I'd love to hear your comments, questions and ideas.

      * You can access the full video of Dean Shareski's keynote presentation here.

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    • 1 year ago
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  • Are Schools More Violent than Are Schools More Violent than Ever?

    • From: Kevin_Goddard
    • Description:

      School violence is not a new issue—but has society recently seen an increase in the number and frequency of school violence? The way the media reports school violence, we get the impression that schools are losing ground against violent video games and movies. Getting clear statistics on school violence is tricky since media accounts are about the only way to get information on violent incidents before 1992. Reports of school violence date back to the 1800s. The deadliest school event occurred in 1927 in Michigan when a school board member bombed a school killing 45 people, 38 of whom were children. The first mass shooting was in 1974 in Olean, New York when a student fired upon passersby from his high school during Christmas break killing three and injuring eleven (ruraledu.org).

      The Rural School and Community Trust has identified 700 incidents reported in media accounts, including the 1974 shooting, of school violence in the United States through the 2013 academic year. Eighty of those are mass violence events resulting in a total of 154 deaths and 446 injuries (ruraledu.org).

      Various surveys (NCVS, SAVD, SCS, SSOCS, SASS, SHR, YRBSS) started tracking data as early as 1992 on school violence. According to the CDC, “between 14 and 34 school-age children are victims of homicide on school grounds on their way to and from school-each and every year.” This number seems to hold very steady from 1992 to today (CDC Table: Trends in School-Associated Violent Deaths—1992-2010).

      In the 2011 Indicators of School Crime and Safety Report, the authors find, “Over all available survey years [1992-2010], the percentage of youth homicides occurring at school remained at less than 2 percent of the total number of youth homicides, and the percentage of youth suicides occurring at school remained at less than 1 percent of the total number of youth suicides.” Further, between 1992 and 2010, nonfatal student and teacher victimization declined both at school and away from school. Finally, this report’s data indicates that “from 1993 through 2009, the percentage of students who were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property fluctuated between 7 and 9 percent.” Even the number of kids reporting getting into fights on school property decreased from 16% in 1993 to 11% in 2009.

      Student perception of safety at school has changed as well. In 1995, 12% of students reported being afraid of attack or harm; by 2009, the number of students reporting this fear had decreased to 4% (Indicators of School Crime and Safety Report: 2011). Obviously the attention school violence has been getting has had an impact on school response and a decline in incidents. Schools need to continue to find ways to improve student safety while the public needs to acknowledge that schools have improved in this area and are the safest place for our children to be during the day (npr.org).

      ASCD, an educational organization, researches and influences trends in education. The organization has reported on school violence over the years with suggestions of personalizing the school environment to help foster positive relationships within the school, helping reduce conflicts within the school, and using character education for the social and emotional development of the child. In 2007, ASCD formally recognized the need for schools and communities to improve schools through a “whole child” approach. These tenets of Whole Child Education are (www.wholechildeducation.org):

      • Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
      • Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
      • Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
      • Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
      • Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.

      School violence is a hot-button issue that gets lots of attention because the media knows it will grab the public’s interest; however, schools are becoming safer and safer places for children to be and continue to be the safest place children can be. Since most schools now have controlled access, security cameras, appropriate policies and procedures, hotlines, counselors, and other violence prevention measures, schools now have the challenge of creating a culture that doesn’t tolerate violence and a curriculum that supports the development of healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged children who act as ethical and responsible citizens.

      Resources:

      http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/schoolviolence/savd.html

      http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012002rev.pdf

      http://www.npr.org/2012/03/16/148758783/violence-in-schools-how-big-a-problem-is-it

      http://www.ruraledu.org

      http://www.wholechildeducation.org

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    • 1 year ago
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  • Common Core: An Educator's Per Common Core: An Educator's Perspective

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       
      "If the state of North Carolina decides to pull the plug on the Common Core State Standards, it will be a slap in the face to the teachers and administrators who have spent countless hours (most on their own time without reimbursement) preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards and to maximize learning for 1.5 million students."

       

      On June 2, 2010, the North Carolina State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards which were implemented during the 2012-2013 school year. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent K-12 learning expectations in English-Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. The Standards reflect the knowledge and skills students need to be college and career ready by the end of high school. Elected officials across the United States are beginning to question the Common Core State Standards. On June 4, 2013, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest posted a YouTube video outlining his concerns about the Common Core State Standards.

       

      While standing in the car rider line at an elementary school, I was approached by a classroom teacher. She asked, "Are we going to align our curriculum, instruction, and assessments to the Common Core State Standards next year?" I replied, "yes." Then I said, "The Common Core is not going away." The teacher replied, "The Lieutenant Governor is discussing eliminating the Common Core." I replied, "Which Lieutenant Governor?" The teacher said, "The North Carolina Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest."

       

      Prior to becoming an elementary principal, I was the Director of Secondary Instruction for Orange County Schools. Our school district held a Common Core Summer Institute for teachers and administrators during the summer of 2011 and summer of 2012. At the summer institutes, teacher teams planned a one year professional development plan for their schools. Hosting the summer institutes cost the school district thousands of dollars. The North Carolina General Assembly did not provide funding for implementing the Common Core State Standards. Throughout the past two school years, I have attended professional development led by teacher leaders. The average professional development requires teacher leaders (appointed or self-nominated) to spend approximately ten to twenty hours planning quality professional development and developing resources which support the implementation of the new standards.

       

      In addition to working with classroom teachers to build awareness around the new standards, I have observed teacher leaders writing curriculum aligned to the new standards. Curriculum development has taken place through building level meetings, district meetings, and regional meetings. On several occasions five school districts in the Triangle met to support each other through the pre-implementation and implementation process. Triangle High Five is a regional partnership between Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Durham Public Schools, Johnston County Schools, Orange County Schools, and Wake County Public School System. Teachers and administrators from these school districts shared curriclum maps, worked with high school math teachers to align curriculum to the Common Core State Standards, offered professional development, and worked with the North Carolina School of Math and Science to offer free professional development for mathematics teachers. In 2011 and 2012, SAS hosted a summer mathematics summit to support math teachers in implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. SAS has invested in the five school districts for several years. Recently, SAS provided thousands of dollars in order to support the transition from the Nort Carolina Essential Standards to the Common Core State Standards. It is expensive to provide professional development to over 400 educators from five school districts.

       

      In 2010, the North Carolina State Board of Education did not ask North Carolina educators if we should adopt the Common Core State Standards. Once the State Board of Education adopted the standards, Superintendents and district leaders were told to implement the standards. Was the implementation process rushed? Yes. In 2010-2011, educators were anxious about the changes. To date, it is still difficult to find resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards. I know 20-year veterans who stay up until midnight or later on school nights, searching for resources. Part of the reason resources are scarce is because the SBAC and PARCC assessments have not been finalized. Most vendors are still offering a blended version of old state standards and the new Common Core State Standards. This is especially true in mathematics.

       

      When educators are told that a school board policy, state board policy, or general statute requires them to change, they begin collaborating and discussing how to make the change(s) student-friendly. In Orange County Schools, we were able to pay teacher leaders a small stipend for leading curriculum development efforts. The district used Race to the Top funds to pay teacher leaders who led curriculum development, facilitated professional development, posted curriculum maps online, and attended state conferences.

       

      This week marked the last day of school for teachers and students across North Carolina. The Lieutenant Governor was recently elected, but North Carolina teachers have been preparing for the implementation of the new standards since 2010. Standards-based teaching has been common practice since the 1990's. Some states provided voluntary standards for educators prior to 1990. Today's students are competing with students around the globe for college admission and career opportunities. It no longer makes sense to have a Minnesota 3rd grade math standard and a Mississippi 3rd grade math standard. Students deserve to have the same standard across the United States. A common standard does not mean a 'watered-down' standard. Standards are not a curriculum.

       

      This past year, I observed teachers differentiating instruction. Some students were two grades below grade level. They did not have the same assignment as the students who were at grade level or above. When teachers have a standard, they know the goal. Teachers provide students with multiple lessons, tasks, and opportunities to demonstrate what every student should know and be able to do. Implementing the Common Core State Standards does not mean that every student will receive a perfect score at the end of the day. Teachers across North Carolina have embraced the standards and are operating with their grade level team, school team, district team, and regional teams to align curriculum with the Common Core State Standards. Standards are "the what" and Curriculum is "the how." The 'how' may look different in each classroom, but the standards are the same.

       

      Seven Reasons Why States Should Embrace The Common Core State Standards


      1. College and Career Readiness

      Over the past year, I have seen teachers in North Carolina make the shift from College or Career Readiness to College AND Career Ready. The U.S. public school system was designed to sort and select students. Some students were considered 'college material' and the majority of students were workforce material. I believe that teachers in North Carolina raised the bar and raised their expectations for all students. ACT defines college and career readiness as "the acquisition of the knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll and succeed in creditbearing, first-year courses at a postsecondary institution (such as a two or four-year college, trade school, or technical school) without the need for remediation." Based on my years of experience in the field of education, this is a major shift from the old mindset. This major change in philosophy and teaching is another indicator or the importance of the Common Core State Standards. The standards have forced a new conversation about the goals of education.

       

      2. Common Standards Enable Teachers To Collaborate Across the United States.

      Standards-based education requires teachers to align their curriculum, instruction, and assessments with the standards. For over a decade, teachers have disagreed with the standards. In North Carolina, teachers are required by general statute to teach the standards. A professional educator can respectfully disagree, but the law requires educators to teach the standards. Since the Common Core State Standards had some different approaches and aligned and moved standards to new grade levels it forced teachers to collaborate and design new units of study.

       

      In Orange County Schools, I have observed professional conversations around the standards. I have seen teachers sharing resources across schools. I have seen teachers reaching out to educators in other states to discuss the standards. Regional and state meetings have been more exciting than ever, because everyone is learning the new standards. If one school district has a strong unit or curriculum resource then they will share it with our school district. I have participated in dozens of Twitter Chats with educators who are implementing the Common Core State Standards. ASCD has hosted a regular webinar series which offers educators the opportunity to learn and reflect on the Common Core State Standards. Before the Common Core State Standards, educators discussed their project or their program. The new standards have raised the bar in professional conversations. Educators have shifted from discussing the activity to sharing how the activity aligned to the standard.

       

      3. Teacher Leaders Have Developed Curriculum Aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

      In North Carolina, teachers were required to implement the Common Core State Standards in 2012-2013. Teachers met on a regular basis to write, align, and implement units aligned to the new standards. Once curriculum was developed, they also created common formative assessments aligned to the standards. Alan Glatthorn wrote, “One ofthe tasks of curriculum leadership is to use the right methods to bring the written, the taught, the supported, and the tested curriculums into closer alignment,so that the learned curriculum is maximized. This statement summarizes the work that takes place in classrooms, on early release days, on the weekend, and during the summer months. Teachers know how to align the curriculum, instruction, and assessments to standards. It takes time. If the state of North Carolina decides to pull the plug on the Common Core State Standards, it will be a slap in the face to the teachers and administrators who have spent countless hours (most on their own time without reimbursement) preparing to implement the Common Core State Standards and to maximize learning for 1.5 million students.

       

      4. Professional Development Has Been Aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

      Some school districts have spent thousands of dollars hiring consultants to provide professional development. Regional education organizations have paid $50,000 to $100,000 in order to host professional development with national consultants. Educators have participated in book studies, discussion forums, district professional development, NCDPI webinars and state conferences, and more. In 2012-2013, Orange County Schools and several other North Carolina school districts devoted the time to curriculum development or ongoing professional development aligned to the new standards. The price tag would be in the hundreds of millions if you totaled the number of hours the staff members were paid for professional development. It should be noted that they did not receive a bonus check. The money was part of their contract. Tax payers have invested in professional development aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Did North Carolina provide much assistance to educators prior to the 2012-2013 school year? No. School districts were required to use their own funds, contract with their own teachers, and develop their own resources. This was expensive. You could say that implementing the Common Core State Standards was done on the backs of the professional educators in North Carolina. I have not met many educators who disagree with the Common Core State Standards. This is another reason why I feel that politicians should let educators implement the standards. If elected officials want to provide the appropriate funding for implementing the Common Core State Standards, then that would be a step in the right direction.

       

      5. Curriculum Alignment Is Easier With the New Standards.

      It is difficult to describe curriculum alignment to non-educators. "When school staff have a more informed conception of curriculum, a teacher's daily decisions about how to deliver instruction not only affect student achievement in that classroom but also future student achievement, for it is assumed that students will be entering the next classroom prepared to handle a more sophisticated or more expansive level of work" (Zmuda, Kuklis & Kline, 2004, p. 122). Aligning the curriculum is an ongoing process which requires time, reflection, honesty, conflict, and a professional commitment to share what works in each classroom with specific students. The new standards provide a clear road map for educators. They do not outline every detail of what a teacher needs to do each day. Standards are a guide, not a script. If educators are beginning to align their curriculum, then policy makers should find ways to support their efforts. Curriculum alignment drives the work of a school district. When I see teachers analyzing student work and comparing it to a standard, I see excellent teaching. I entered the teaching profession in the early days of the Standards Movement. I have never seen teachers sharin their craft knowledge and having ongoing conversations about the standards like I saw in 2012-2013. Standards provide a common point of conversation, not a floor or a ceiling. The way the Common Core State Standards are written, a teacher can accelerate gifted students. This is missing from the national debate. Before we vote to eliminate the standards, let's visit schools and ask teachers to come to the State Board of Education. Let's find out what is working and how the standards are supporting teaching and learning. Let's avoid the political rhetoric and ask the teacher leaders who bore the burden of implementing the standards because the State Board of Education voted to adopt the standards.

       

      6. The Change Process Requires Time.

      Schools will continue to implement the Common Core State Standards in the summer and fall of 2013. Leading implementation requires a principal-leader who is willing to create short-term wins for the staff, provide time for the staff to reflect on the standards and to encourage risk-taking. Implementation of the new standards requires principal-leaders to honor the change process and to respect the emotions that staff will have during this change in teaching and learning. If states eliminate the Common Core State Standards, then which standards will replace them? If we fall back to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, then we are adopting an inferior set of standards. They were the best that the state could develop. That was then and this is now. The Common Core State Standards were not embraced immediately. However, after one year of developing lesson plans, units of study, and assessments, educator have given their seal of approaval. The change process was emotional and it caused all teachers to reflect on teaching and learning. If state officials continue to change the standards, it will be impossible for educators to develop a guaranteed and viable curriculum (Marzano). Eliminating the Common Core State Standards from public schools may win a political battle at the state or federal level. However, it is not in the best interests of teachers and students. Ask teachers in North Carolina if they think the standards should change. The standards should not be a stepping stone for someone's political career.

       

      "These Standards are not intended to be new names for old ways of doing business.  They are a call to take the next step. It is time for states to work together to build on lessons learned from two decades of standards based reforms.  It is time to recognize that standards are not just promises to our children, but promises we intend to keep" (Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Introduction, p. 5).

       

      7. Student Achievement Matters.

      The reason that educators get out of bed and go to work each day is because student achievement matters. The new standards support the goal of College and Career Readiness. Teachers recognize that the new standards require more rigor than previous state standards. One of the most compelling arguments for the Common Core State Standards was "standardization." When a 12 year old girl moves from Hope, Arkansas, to Lexington, North Carolina, she should be on the same page with her classmates. Students are moving across the United States on a regular basis. Prior to the Common Core State Standards, families had to fear that they were moving to a state with higher or lower standards. Standardization does not mean that every student learns the same thing in the same way. Technology integration, project-based learning, and other best practices allow teachers to meet the needs of each student, while aligning assignments to the standards. When students master a standard, the Common Core State Standards allow teachers to move to the next grade level. When students transfer to a new school, they need to know that the things they learned will provide them a foundation for learning at the new school. Changing standards after year one of implementation does not respect the main goal of education - Student Achievement.

       

      Common Core State Standards: The Right Direction for U.S. Public Schools

      It amazes me that one or more politicians can advocate for changing standards. I do not try to change medical practice, standards for the Interstate highway system, building codes, or taxes. The reason that I do not attempt to get involved with these things is because I am a professional educator. I would appreciate it if politicians would consult with professional educators and ask them if the Common Core State Standards support teaching and learning. A simple Google search can provide a glimpse at the groups who are rallying to eliminate the Common Core State Standards. The standards have transformed teaching and learning. Teachers and administrators have embraced the standards and will spend the summer months aligning their curriculum and units to the standards. Hundreds of teachers in any given state will meet on Saturday morning for an online Twitter chat, meet at a restaurant to share learning goals, or attend a summer institute. Teachers may not like change, but they support change when it is in the best intersts of students. The Common Core State Standards seem to be one thing that is right in education.

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  • L2L News: March 2013 L2L News: March 2013

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

      ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-mail newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members, provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to constituentservices@ascd.org.

      Your To-Do List: Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      • We are seeking blog post writers for the ASCD Forum. How do you think teacher and principal effectiveness should be defined and measured? Constituent Services is seeking ASCD leaders who are interested in writing blog posts aligned with a series of themes on the topic of educator effectiveness. To learn more, e-mail Meg Simpson at constituentservices@ascd.org.
         
      • Submit a proposal for ASCD’s 2014 Annual Conference. ASCD is accepting proposals for 2014 Annual Conference presentations until May 15.
         
      • Nominate a colleague for the ASCD Emerging Leaders program. ASCD is accepting nominations and applications for the Emerging Leaders program until April 1. For more information, go to www.ascd.org/emergingleaders 

      Attending ASCD Annual Conference?

      We hope to see you in Chicago this weekend at ASCD’s 2013 Annual Conference: Our Story, Our Time, Our Future. Here are a few tips as you head out for St. Patrick’s Day weekend:

       

      Can’t make it to Chicago? Attend the ASCD Virtual Conference instead!

       

      Join the ASCD Forum Conversation

      For the first time, ASCD is hosting a forum to focus on a topic of importance to educators across the globe. Nations, states, and provinces all around the world are grappling with the issue of educator effectiveness. ASCD invites all educators to make their voices heard in an ongoing discussion of the question, “How do we define and measure teacher and principal effectiveness?” The current discussion theme (March 3-16) is:

      Educator Evaluation Systems: What research and evidence support the validity of existing evaluation systems?

      Upcoming themes include:

      • Multiple Measures (March 17 – 30): What measures do we use and how do we weight them to measure educator effectiveness?
      • Conclusion:How do we define and measure teacher effectiveness? (March 31 – April 6)
      • Conclusion: How do we define and measure principal effectiveness? (April 7 – 12)

            The ASCD Forum concludes April 12. We invite educators to join the conversation by blogging on the ASCD EDge®social network, commenting on other blog posts, taking a survey, and attending a live session at ASCD Annual Conference. Results from the ASCD Forum conversations will inform the ASCD Board of Directors’ position development process. To learn more about the ASCD Forum, join the ASCD Forum group on ASCD EDge or contact constituentservices@ascd.org.

       

      Newest Policy Points Highlights Teacher Evaluation

      ASCD’s newest issue of Policy Points (PDF) spotlights the association’s original 50-state analysis of educator evaluation systems as outlined in states’ NCLB waiver applications and other resources; it features a series of maps for easy comparison of key evaluation system components across the states. The resource provides graphic depictions of the frequency of state teacher evaluations, the rating levels used by states to rate teacher performance, and the extent to which states use student learning data in teacher evaluations.  

       

      Save the Date! ASCD Whole Child Virtual Conference: Moving from Implementation to Sustainability to Culture

      May 2–10, 2013

      How can schools implement and sustain a whole child approach to education? ASCD invites you to participate in the free, online Whole Child Virtual Conference from May 2–10, 2013.

      You will

      ·         Hear from renowned speakers, including Pasi Sahlberg, Michael Fullan, and Andy Hargreaves.

      ·         Learn from educators, authors, and experts who have successfully implemented a whole child approach in schools around the world.

      ·         Discover the steps taken by ASCD’s Vision in Action award-winning schools and Whole Child Network schools to implement comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provide for long-term student success.

      ·         Discuss how you can bring a whole child approach into your schools.

      Twenty sessions will be broadcast live over five days, May 6–10, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, with additional sessions on May 2 and 3 for Australasian and European audiences.

      No matter where your school falls on the whole child continuum, be it the early implementation stage or well beyond, the Whole Child Virtual Conference provides a forum and tools for school sites and districts that are working toward sustainability and changing school cultures to serve the whole child.

      Register Now! Go to www.ascd.org/wcvirtualconference

       

      Throughout March at wholechildeducation.org: Reducing Barriers and Expanding Opportunities

      Addressing students' needs levels the playing field. Or rather, addressing students' needs is only leveling the playing field. If a child is hungry, then schools can address the need by providing breakfast, lunch, and assistance as needed. The same applies if the child is unwell. Many schools have made great strides in addressing students' needs, but some schools have gone further. They have taken an issue that was initially a need and used it to enhance and improve what the school offers.

      Join us throughout March as we look at schools that have taken a deficit and turned it into an asset. Some schools have used connections formed into and across the community to enhance and build on what they first envisaged. Other schools are forming alliances to improve a specific situation and have then used those same alliances to improve the entire school. How has your school or community taken a challenge and turned it into a win?

      Check out the Whole Child Blog and tell us what has worked in your school and with your students. E-mail us and share resources, research, and examples.

      We are taping this month’s Whole Child Podcast in front of a live audience at ASCD’s 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, on Saturday, March 16, in Chicago, Ill. Joining hosts Sean Slade and Donna Snyder of ASCD’s Whole Child Programs team will be representatives from the winning school of the 2013 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award as they discuss this month's topic and what works in today's schools. The podcast will be available for download on Monday, March 18.

       

      ASCD Leaders in Action: News from the ASCD Leader Community

       

      New Jersey ASCD Featured in ASCD Inservice Blog Series

      ASCD asked some of our affiliate leaders to tell us how the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has been going in their home states.  In the fifth post of the series, New Jersey ASCD Executive Director Marie Adair writes about the challenges and successes that New Jersey has had with CCSS implementation.

      Previous Posts:Alabama ASCD, Arkansas ASCD, New Hampshire ASCD, and Florida ASCD

       

      Join the ASCD Forum Conversation

      The ASCD Forum has begun, and you’re invited to be a part of it! Check out these ASCD EDge posts on teacher and principal effectiveness:

      Be Prepared: The ASCD Forum Discusses Educator Preparation Programs

      Use Emotional Intelligence as an Effectiveness Tool and Both Sides of the Scale by Professional Interest Community Facilitator Mamzelle Adolphine

      The Road to Principalship and Beyond by 2012 Emerging Leader Dawn Imada Chan

      Making Teacher Observation Matter by Virginia ASCD Executive Director Laurie McCullough

      Conversation is also taking place in the ASCD Forum group on ASCD EDge, and the #ASCDForum hashtag on Twitter. You are also invited to join us for a live face-to-face session at Annual Conference that will also stream live via Virtual Conference. For more information, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.

       

      ASCD Leaders to Ignite ASCD Annual Conference

      With the tagline “Enlighten us, but make it quick,” Ignite presentations are a fast-paced, breathtaking, and inspiring way to share stories. Each presentation is 20 slides long, and each slide automatically advances every 15 seconds; this format keeps the presentations moving quickly. The following ASCD leaders will present their Whole Child stories in Ignite session format at ASCD Conference on Saturday, March 16:

      • 2011 Emerging Leader Kimberly White Glenn
      • 2010 Emerging Leader and Maryland ASCD President-Elect David Stovenour
      • Western Kentucky University Student Chapter Leaders Rachel Glass and Kateiri Kintz with Student Chapter Faculty Advisor Rebecca Stobaugh
      • 2011 Emerging Leader Doug Paulson
      • 2012 Emerging Leader Jessica Bohn
      • Assessment for Learning Professional Interest Community Facilitator Michael Rulon
      • ASCD Board of Directors Member Gabriel Rshaid
      • OYEA Honoree and 2010 Emerging Leader Dallas Dance
      • 2012 Emerging Leader Ember Conley
      • 2010 Emerging Leader and Florida ASCD Board Member Jason Flom

      Please join us for an exciting Saturday afternoon session from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.!

       

      Welcome to the new Common Core Professional Interest Community

      We are pleased to announce the newest ASCD Professional Interest Community: Common Core in the Classroom facilitated by Suzy Brooks of Massachusetts ASCD! The group will share ideas and resources for implementing the Common Core State Standards in instruction. Please join the group on ASCD EDge.

      Congratulations to Matthew Cotton

      2012 ASCD Emerging Leader Matthew Cotton has been selected to serve as a reviewer for the music standards by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Matthew was identified from among hundreds of applicants and nominees nationwide as an expert in an area of music education who can contribute to this process. Congratulations to Matthew on this exciting achievement!

       

      Check Out These Great Pieces by ASCD Leaders

       

      Something to Talk About

      Most recent blog posts on ASCD EDge®

      Mostclicked stories from ASCD SmartBrief

       

      Association News

      • ASCD Continues Expansion of Award-Winning Professional Development Offering with New PD In Focus Videos and PD Online Courses—ASCD announces the release of two new PD In Focus® videos and three new PD Online® courses. These new resources address a variety of topics important to educators today, including instructional leadership, formative assessment, and Common Core State Standards implementation. Read the full press release.

      • ASCD Makes Professional Development E-books Available Through International Retailer Kobo—ASCD is pleased to announce that its e-books are now available through Kobo, a global leader in e-reading. More than 80 of ASCD’s professional development e-books are now available at www.kobo.com to educators in 200 countries, and counting. Read the full press release.

      • ASCD Introduces New Conference App, Offers Support for First-Time Attendees—Attendees at ASCD's 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, held March 16–18, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., will be able to improve their conference and professional development experience by downloading a new ASCD app that puts important conference information at their fingertips. Read the full press release.

       

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  • Surprising Facts about Financi Surprising Facts about Financial Literacy in the US

    • From: Clay_Piggy
    • Description:

      Do you want to hear something rather alarming and more than a little scary? According to a report completed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about financial literacy in America, the people of our country are in a really dangerous boat. A direct quote from the SEC report stated that “American investors lack essential knowledge of the most rudimentary financial concepts.” (http://www.sec.gov/news/studies/2012/917-financial-literacy-study-part1.pdf)  What does this mean? It means that the modern American has little to no idea of how to create a comfortable financial situation for their retirement years, and the problem is only getting worse.

      This is not the only scary news. The following facts about financial literacy in the US may open your eyes to a big problem that could even be affecting your own household. Below are some facts to consider.

      Many Americans Just Do Not Know

      When the survey was taken, many of the questions had to do with retirement, stocks, and bonds. Essentially, the study questions were to show whether or not Americans knew how to invest their money in order to save for retirement. The scary part is the vast majority of people answered these investment related questions with one choice: “do not know.” This was not just seen sometimes, but for many questions, it was the majority answer. Americans just do not know how to use investment options for their retirement savings.

      Life Questions

      Another study was completed by a prominent life insurance company, and it showed results that back up the SEC study. Perhaps the most alarming part of this study is that it was given in the form of a quiz and the majority of Americans straight out failed the quiz. The test was not especially in-depth, but instead focused on defining terms related to finance and retirement, and more than 60% of those who took the quiz failed.

      High School Blues

      The problem of financial illiteracy is growing with the younger generations as well. A study of high school seniors showed just this. One study, which was performed by the MoneyTrack Company, showed that less than 40% of high school seniors knew how to accurately define the term, “pension” which is one of the most basic financial retirement terms out there.

      Retirement Fears

      An article by financial experts, John Reeves and Ilan Moscovitz about financial literacy in America indicates that “75% of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts.” (http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/09/05/19-alarming-things-we-learned-about-financial-lit.aspx). This is not even enough money to live off of for a year. This indicates very clearly the problem of financial literacy in America. Too many people have no idea how to save money and become financially stable, and it is beginning to take a bigger and bigger toll on the citizens of the US.

      What does this mean for you? If you have not taken the time to learn about your own finances, investments, and retirement planning, then consider these facts a wakeup call. You certainly do not want to find yourself near retirement age with no money to live off of. Additionally, it means you need to change how you are teaching your children about finances. The only way we can ensure that future generations have stronger financial literacy is to start teaching about finances even when kids are at a young age.

      There are many ways you can teach your kids about finances even if they are young, and the more you get them involved now, the fewer problems they will have in the future. Do not let your own kids to be one of the survey facts above or they could end up with big financial problems in the future.

      About Clay Piggy:

      Clay Piggy is a virtual world gaming environment which teaches children basic money management skills and the concept of Earning, Spending, Saving, Investing and Giving in a fun and social way. Clay Piggy users choose their avatars by selecting and customizing their characters. Users earn virtual money by working at a job. Users also learn concept of credit score, different kinds of bank accounts, deposit money in bank, write checks and use debit / credit cards.

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  • L2L News: February 2013 L2L News: February 2013

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

       ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-mail newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members, provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to constituentservices@ascd.org.

      Your To-Do List: Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      • üWe are seeking blog post writers for the ASCD Forum. How do you think teacher and principal effectiveness should be defined and measured? Constituent Services is seeking ASCD leaders who are interested in writing blog posts aligned with a series of themes on the topic of educator effectiveness. To learn more, e-mail Meg Simpson at constituentservices@ascd.org.
      • üRegister now for ASCD’s Annual Conference.ASCD President Debra Hill invites you to the 2013 Annual Conference & Exhibit Show in her hometown of Chicago, Ill., March 16–18.
      • üSubmit a proposal for ASCD’s 2014 Annual Conference. ASCD is now accepting proposals for 2014 Annual Conference presentations until May 15.
      • üNominate a colleague for the ASCD Emerging Leaders program. ASCD is accepting nominations and applications for the Emerging Leaders program until April 1. For more information, go to www.ascd.org/emergingleaders.

       

      The ASCD Forum Has Begun

      For the first time, ASCD is hosting a forum to focus on a topic of importance to educators across the globe. Nations, states, and provinces all around the world are grappling with the issue of educator effectiveness. ASCD invites all educators to make their voices heard in an ongoing discussion of the question, “How do we define and measure teacher and principal effectiveness?” The current discussion theme is:

              Educator Preparation (February 3–16): What is the role and responsibility of educator preparation programs to foster and sustain effectiveness?

      Upcoming themes include:

      •  Educator Evaluation Purpose (February 17 – March 2): What is the purpose of educator evaluation systems?
      • Educator Evaluation Systems (March 3 – 16):  What research and evidence support the validity of existing evaluation systems?
      • Multiple Measures (March 17 – 30): What measures do we use and how do we weight them to measure educator effectiveness?
      • Conclusion:How do we define and measure teacher effectiveness? (March 31 – April 6)
      • Conclusion: How do we define and measure principal effectiveness? (April 7 – 12)

            The ASCD Forum concludes April 12. To join the conversation, educators are invited to blog on ASCD EDge®social network, comment on other blog posts, take a survey, and attend a live session at ASCD Annual Conference. Results from the ASCD Forum conversations will inform the ASCD Board of Directors’ position development process. To learn more about the ASCD Forum, join the ASCD Forum group on ASCD EDge or contact constituentservices@ascd.org.

       

      ASCD Releases 2013 Legislative Agenda

      ASCD’s 2013 Legislative Agenda (PDF) urges Congress to immediately reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace it with a comprehensive rewrite that fixes the current law’s flaws; aligns with and supports current state and local initiatives; and guides revisions to other federal programs, such as special education and career and technical education.

      The legislative agenda, developed by ASCD members and recently released at ASCD’s Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA) in Washington, D.C., offers three key policy recommendations to Congress as part of any ESEA reauthorization. Together, the recommendations advance the goal of educating students who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, and who graduate ready for the demands of college, careers, and citizenship.

      • Support meaningful accountability systems that determine student proficiency, school quality, and educator effectiveness by tracking student growth, differentiating among performance levels, and using multiple evaluation measures beyond standardized test scores. 
      • Promote comprehensive improvement strategies that engage all stakeholders and are grounded in a whole child approach to education. Interventions for those who do not meet expectations need to be commensurate with their level of performance. Meanwhile, districts and schools that consistently perform well or demonstrate growth should receive rewards and incentives, including the flexible use of federal funds.
      • Help educators support students through adequate and effective preparation and ongoing professional development. In addition, teacher and administrator evaluations must drive high-quality professional development opportunities that build district and school capacity; enhance classroom management, planning, and preparation; and address effective instructional practices and subject-area content consistent with standards that prepare students for college and careers.

      As part of LILA, ASCD educator advocates from across the country discussed these recommendations with their federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill. We ask you to build on their work by sharing the 2013 Legislative Agenda (PDF) with your colleagues and elected officials.

       

      Alabama Featured in ASCD Inservice Blog Series

      ASCD asked some of our affiliate leaders to tell us how the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has been going in their home states.  In the fourth post of the series, Alabama ASCD Executive Director Jane Cobia writes about the challenges and successes that Alabama has had with CCSS implementation.

      Previous Posts:

       

      ASCD Leaders to Ignite ASCD Annual Conference

      With the tagline “Enlighten us, but make it quick,” Ignite presentations are a fast-paced, breathtaking, and inspiring way to share stories. Each presentation is 20 slides long, and each slide automatically advances every 15 seconds; this format keeps the presentations moving quickly. The following ASCD leaders will present their Whole Child stories in Ignite session format at ASCD Conference on Saturday, March 16:

      • 2011 Emerging Leader Kimberly White Glenn
      • 2010 Emerging Leader and Maryland ASCD President-Elect David Stovenour
      • Western Kentucky University Student Chapter Leaders Rachel Glass and Kateiri Kintz with Student Chapter Faculty Advisor Rebecca Stobaugh
      • 2011 Emerging Leader Doug Paulson
      • 2012 Emerging Leader Jessica Bohn
      • Assessment for Learning Professional Interest Community Facilitator Michael Rulon
      • ASCD Board of Directors Member Gabriel Rshaid
      • OYEA Honoree and 2010 Emerging Leader Dallas Dance
      • 2012 Emerging Leader Ember Conley
      • 2010 Emerging Leader and Florida ASCD Board Member Jason Flom

            Please join us for an exciting Saturday afternoon session from 1:00–2:30 p.m.!

       

      Join the ASCD Forum Conversation

      The ASCD Forum has begun, and you’re invited to be a part of it! Check out these ASCD EDge posts on teacher and principal effectiveness:

      Conversation is also taking place in the ASCD Forum group on ASCD EDge, and the #ASCDForum hashtag on Twitter. Join us! For more information, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.

       

      Throughout February at wholechildeducation.org: Safe Schools

      Safety is and always will be a fundamental concern for schools. Students who aren’t or don’t feel safe at school cannot learn, and schools must ensure that their environments are both secure and supportive. The current debate on school safety brings with it a renewed interest in addressing safety, school climate, and mental health concerns at schools and promises to improve school policy and practice.

      Yet while the current debate has engaged the nation in community-wide discussions, it also has the potential to overlook the voice of educators. Join us throughout February as we look at what educators (teachers, administrators, and counselors) believe is crucial to making our schools safe—not just physically safe, but safe places to teach and learn. What can educators do to implement and reinforce the conditions for learning where students are physically and emotionally safe; learn to manage their emotions and relationships positively; and are connected to the school, community, and caring adults?

      Download the Whole Child Podcast, check out the Whole Child Blog, and tell us what has worked in your school and with your students. E-mail us to share resources, research, and examples.

        

      Opportunity to Learn, Teach, and Lead

      What does it mean to be a teacher, a learner, and a leader in today’s schools and classrooms? What do we need to be effective? How will the current standards movement affect us, as professionals, and our students? How do we find the answers to these questions? Read more on the Whole Child Blog.

      In December and January, we looked at what we can do to implement the Common Core standards within a whole child approach. Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests Arnold Fege, president of Public Advocacy for Kids; Craig Mertler, professor and dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.; and David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD, who leads the development and implementation of ASCD’s legislative agenda (PDF) as well as ASCD’s efforts to influence education decision making at the local, state, and federal levels.

      Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read January’s newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

       

      The Time Is Now: Make the Case for Educating the Whole Child

      Whether you are a parent, educator, or community member, you can help turn political rhetoric about “investing in the future of our children” into reality. Updated with crucial research and real-world examples of education policies and practices that ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, Making the Case for Educating the Whole Child (PDF) is a free advocacy tool that you can use as you work with policymakers, the media, and other groups. You can also add your local statistics and success stories so that decision makers in your community understand the difference a whole child education can make. Learn more.

       

      Something to Talk About

      ·         Most recent blog posts on ASCD EDge®

      ·         Most-clicked stories from ASCD SmartBrief

       

      Association News

      ·         Results-Only Learning the Subject of Pioneering Educator Mark Barnes’s New ASCD Book—ASCD is pleased to announce the release of Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom by Mark Barnes, 20-year classroom teacher and creator of the Results Only Learning Environment (ROLE). In this groundbreaking book, Barnes walks middle and high school teachers through the fundamentals of a ROLE. Results-only learning eliminates traditional practices—homework, worksheets, tests, and even grades—and replaces them with student-driven, yearlong projects that enable students to sharpen and expand their skills. Read the full press release.

      ·         Pinellas County Schools and ASCD Partner to Support Common Core Implementation—The award-winning Pinellas County Schools (PCS) has chosen ASCD as its newest professional development partner. The seventh largest school system in Florida, PCS serves 104,000 preK–12th grade students in more than 145 schools. Read the full press release.

      ·         ASCD Releases 2013 Legislative Agenda—ASCD released its 2013 legislative agenda (PDF). Developed by the association’s Legislative Committee, which is a diverse cross-section of ASCD members representing the entire spectrum of K–12 education, the 2013 ASCD Legislative Agenda outlines the association’s federal public policy priorities for the year. The key priority for ASCD and its members in 2013 is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Read the full press release.

      ·         ASCD Introduces the New PD QuickKit—ASCD introduces the new PD QuickKit® digital packs. PD QuickKits are a cost-effective, powerful new professional development option that combines engaging multimedia resources focused on the most important issues in education today. Read the full press release.

       

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 708
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  • Pediatricians Warn of Risks in Pediatricians Warn of Risks in Cutting Back on School Recess

    • From: Thomas_Armstrong
    • Description:

      The American Academy of Pediatrics has just released a policy statement saying that supervised, unstructured (play oriented) recess in school is a vital part of a child’s development. As they point out in the abstract to their statement:

      ”Recess is at the heart of a vigorous debate over the role of schools in promoting the optimal development of the whole child. A growing trend toward reallocating time in school to accentuate the more academic subjects has put this important facet of a child’s school day at risk. Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education—not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”’ (Pediatrics Vol. 131, No. 1, January 1, 2013, p. 183).

      A 2010 Gallup poll of 1,951 principals and other school officials revealed that 77% reported eliminating recess as a punishment, and 20% reported cutting recess time to meet testing requirements. Clearly the unfortunate new push for academic “rigor” that has swept this country in recent years has contributed to this health risk for children, and this new policy statement from the APA hopefully will put educators straight on the important role that free unstructured supervised play has on children’s health, education, and overall well-being.

      To read the policy statement in its entirety, click here.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 703
  • Three Things Every Teacher Sho Three Things Every Teacher Should Know and Be Able to Do

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

      The role of the classroom teacher is changing at a rapid pace.  In the 1980's, teachers were encouraged to teach in isolation. In 2012, teacher teams understand the importance of collaboration.  In earlier years, technology integration included using the Overhead Projector or a VCR.  Sorting and selecting students based on their ability was easier than preparing all students for College and Career Readiness.  Great teachers define what each student should know and be able to do.  It is easy to focus on what students should be learning and applying.  What should every teacher know and be able to do?

       

      Three Things Every Teacher Should Know and Be Able to Do 

       

      1.  Create a Twitter account and Participate in an Education Chat

       

      Twitter is a great way to grow and share ideas!  If you are new to Twitter, you can join a chat for educators.  Two of my favorite education chats are #atplc and #satchat.  #atplc focuses on Professional Learning Communities.  Teachers, Principals, Curriculum Directors, Asst. Superintendents, Education Consultants, and College Professors share ideas.  Each Thursday night, a different educator facilitates the online conversation from 9:00 - 10:00 EST.  #satchat is hosted on Saturday mornings.  I enjoy participating in this group because it includes educators from all levels and across the United States.  The topics that are addressed are broad, so a teacher or an administrator can participate.  When you have a question, answer, or comment, you simply insert the hashtag #satchat and your tweet is posted for the group to view.  For more information on #atplc visit Thursday Twitter Chat. For more information on #satchat visit SAT Twitter Chat (which meets at 7:30 am EST and 7:30 am PST). Cybrary Man has organized several Educational Chats on Twitter. If you try a Twitter Chat, you will be hooked.  You will have trouble closing your laptop at the end of the chat, because you will have so many new resources to review and the conversation often continues after the chat ends.

       

      2.  Utilize Online Tools to Communicate 

       

      Communication tools support teaching and learning.  There are several tools available to help educators communicate within and across buildings.  These tools make curriculum mapping and the ability to communicate available 365 days a year.  Teachers can use Moodle, LiveBinders, Corkboard.me, Twitter, TodaysMeet, TeacherTube, Google Docs, surveys, interactive templates, blogs, wiki-based programs, websites, curriculum mapping software, and more to communicate. Thousands of teachers started their careers before it was possible to have computers in the classroom.  Today, educators have the opportunity to create, share, collaborate, communicate, and reflect on the latest lessons and instructional strategies. Educators can make decisions like Jack Bauer, "In Real Time."  I get frustrated when I hear teachers say, "We don't have time to meet with each other."  While face-to-face meetings are beneficial, online tools have made teaching and planning more efficient.  Rather than having a meeting to plan the next Early Release Day, you can plan using an online tool.  If you need to have a "parking lot" or a place to save your team's best ideas and online resources, use on online post-it note, a discussion board, or a Google Doc.

       

      In The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, Maxwell (2001) wrote, “Communication increases commitment and connection; they in turn fuel action.  If you want your team to perform at the highest level, the people on it need to be able to talk and to listen to one another” (p. 197).   Does your professional learning team communicate on a regular basis?  Do you plan to meet daily, weekly, or monthly?  How often do you need to meet in order to make certain all students learn the essential learning outcomes?  If Cool Hand Luke came to your school would he say, "What we've got here is failure to communicate."?  

       

      3.  Create a Blog or Share Your Ideas on ASCD EDge

       

      Blogging is a great way to reflect and share your experiences!  When I started my first blog in 2009, I didn't know what to say.  I knew that teacher leaders had their blogs, literacy gurus wrote and posted articles, and Web 2.0 authors shared information that was timely.  At the time, I was a curriculum director and I wanted to find a way to share resources and ideas with educators. Hundreds of articles later, I can tell you that it is best to go with something you are passionate about.  It is like learning to walk, you take it one step at a time, or in this case one blog at a time.  You will develop your own writing style.

       

      In 2010, I started posting articles on ASCD EDge.  The biggest difference between my blog and ASCD EDge was that a community already existed.  I received feedback on my writing and that helped me grow as an educator.  As a result of posting articles on ASCD EDge, I was able to meet a curriculum consultant in New York, an Asst. Superintendent in Iowa, a principal in Texas, a college professor in Maryland, and international educators.  These are people I had never met before ASCD EDge.  If you are passionate about curriculum mapping, you will find like-minded educators.  If you are seeking strategies for English Language Learners, you will find a group of bloggers who specialize in this area.  Do you want to connect with teachers who are implementing the Common Core State Standards?  There is a community discussing implementation success stories and barriers. 

       

      Professional teachers are required to take risks and experiment with online tools that support their professional growth. If you don't have a strong professional learning community, you will be amazed at the number of educators who are online waiting to share their ideas with you.  ASCD EDge has over 50,000 educators who blog, tweet, collaborate, connect, and share! 

       

      Opportunities to Grow and Invest In Your Professional Career


      “Over the coming decades, an accelerating pace of change will test the resilience of every society, organization and individual. Luckily, perturbations create opportunities as well as challenges. But the balance of promise and peril confronting any organization will depend on its capacity for adaption. Hence the most important question for any company is this: Are we changing as fast as the world around us?” (Gary Hamel, The Future of Management – as cited by Chris Perry).  Opportunities to learn and grow once depended on whether your principal could afford to send you to a state or national conference.  These annual events provided teachers with the opportunity to learn, present, and network.  Twitter, Online Tools, and Blogging provide you with the opportunity to attend a national conference daily.  In 2012 and beyond, classroom teachers can continue to grow and learn.  In fact, the opportunities are endless!  If you are seeking to grow as a teacher, establish a learning goal for 2013.  You will be surprised at how much these three recommendations impact you and support your students.   

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 4135
  • L2L News: October 2012 L2L News: October 2012

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

      ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-mail newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members, provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to constituentservices@ascd.org.

      Your To-Do List: Action Items for ASCD Leaders

      1. Vote in ASCD’s general membership election.Voting ends October 15. Make your voice heard! More information about voting is below.
      2. Register now for the Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA).This institute is an outstanding opportunity to hear from national education leaders about the latest education policy developments, network with fellow educators, and share your expertise with your federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
      3. Speak out on sequestration.An education crisis is looming with the potential to disrupt services to 7.5 million U.S. students and threaten 90,000 U.S. educator jobs. Read more and take action on ascd.org.
      4. Register now for ASCD’s Annual Conference.ASCD President Debra Hill welcomes you to the 2013 Annual Conference & Exhibit Show in her hometown of Chicago, Ill., March 16–18.

       

      Vote in ASCD’s 2012 General Membership Election

      ASCD’s general membership election closes October 15, 2012. You can help determine the association’s leadership by voting for President-Elect and members of the Board of Directors. Successful candidates will take office at the conclusion of ASCD’s Annual Conference on March 18, 2013.

      The election is online only. Hereis how to vote online: Go to www.ascd.org/vote. You will need to log in using your ASCD username, e-mail address, or member ID and password. If you are eligible to vote in this year’s election, click on the “Vote Now” button to connect to our secure online election system. If you don’t have your log-in information or password, contact the ASCD Service Center at 1-800-933-ASCD(2723) (International/DC callers: dial 703-578-9600) and then press 1, or send an e-mail to member@ascd.org. Candidates’ photos and biographies are included with the online ballot and also appeared in the September issue of Education Update.

      Have questions? Not every member has voting privileges. You are ineligible to vote if your membership was unpaid as of August 16, 2012, or you hold a complimentary membership. Please contact ASCD Governance Director Becky DeRigge at bderigge@ascd.org or by phone (1-800-933-2723 or 1-703-575-5601) with any questions.

       

      Spread the Word About the School Improvement Tool

      Please feel free to download and print this School Improvement Tool Buck Slip (PDF) to help spread the word about the ASCD School Improvement Tool.

       

      ASCD Student Chapters: They’re Learning to Teach, Now Learning to Lead

      ASCD is proud to announce great new resources for ASCD student chapters, including updated web pages for current chapters and an infographic on how to start a student chapter of your own. And for the first time, we’re offering a student discount for the ASCD Fall Conference; students can access the discounted rate by selecting the student registration rate at checkout—$139 for members and $159 for nonmembers. Please use these resources and discounts to spread the word about ASCD student chapters in your community! Contact constituentservices@ascd.org if you have any questions.

       

      ASCD Leaders on ASCD EDge

      Check out these great posts from ASCD leaders on the ASCD EDge community site. Please read, comment, and share!

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Other News

      • Did you catch a familiar name in thePerspectives” column from this month’s Educational Leadership issue themed “Students Who Challenge Us”? Marge Scherer shares 2010 OYEA winner Brian Nichols’ story about two teachers who made all the difference in his life: one for the better, one for the worse. Read it on page 7 of your copy of EL or check it out online.
         
      • Washington ASCD recently published the fall issue their e-newsletter, Curriculum in Context using issuu, a free online e-publishing software. This informative issue is themed “Upholding Common Standards: Adopting and Implementing Common Core.” Please read and share this great resource with other educators who may be interested.
         
      • 2012 ASCD Emerging Leader Michael DiCaprio recently wrote an article for ASCD’s Core Connection newsletter. Please read and share his piece, “The Building Leader and the Common Core.

      • Please read, share, and comment on 2012 ASCD Emerging Leader Jessica Bohn’s first Whole Child blog post, “Engaging the Whole Community to Support Positive Bus Behavior.”

       

      Something to Talk About

      By Kevin Scott, ASCD Constituent Services Director: What Are You Watching? and BTSN

      By Walter McKenzie, ASCD Constituent Services Director: Rich, Real World Performance-Based Learning, The New Minimalism, An Education Engine

      By Tom Whitby: PD: How do Educators Get to Know What They Don’t Know?, Does Being Connected Help in Being Recognized? , and The Six “P’s” of Education

      Most recent blog posts on ASCD EDge®

      Mostclicked stories from ASCD SmartBrief

       

      Association News

      ASCD Introduces Three New PD Online® Courses for the Common Core and Differentiated Instruction—Since 1996, ASCD has provided innovative and award-winning PD Online courses to educators across the world. PD Online features more than 80 courses focusing on a broad array of important topics and incorporates multimedia and high-quality digital content that fits the needs of almost any type and size of learning group, ranging from individual learners to statewide deployments and integration with university programs. Read the full press release.

      Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Selects ASCD to Support Professional Development Goals—Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), winner of the 2011 Broad Prize for Urban Education, recently selected ASCD as its new, district-wide professional development partner. Read the full press release.

      ASCD Announces November 2012 Professional Development Institute Series in Myrtle Beach— ASCD announces a series of two- and three-day professional development institutes in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this November. Read the full press release.

      Registration Now Open for ASCD’s 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show—ASCD is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the much-anticipated 68th ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show. Built on the theme “Learning: Our Story. Our Time. Our Future.," the Annual Conference and Exhibit Show will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., March 16–18, and will inform, engage, help, and challenge educators from across the globe to better support student success. Read the full press release.

       

       

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 478
  • Power to the Students: Why Ed Power to the Students: Why Educators Need to Pay Attention to Student Discontent

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      This blog post is being simultaneously published with a companion piece on ASCD Edge, which you can read here. In it, Allison Zmuda interviews the subject of this blog post for additional insight into giving Power To The Students...

       

      'Student Protest: Liverpool Walkout' photo (c) 2010, Matt Baldry - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

       

      Meet Nikhil Goyal, a seventeen-year old high school senior: http://nikhilgoyal.me/


      Nikhil has written a new book, One Size Does Not Fit All, a call to arms to the educational community that provocates with the voices that matter the most: students. Despite all of the political rhetoric and haggling in the press about one side or the other’s best intentions for students, it’s really the students that have the most to lose if we don’t get this right, and the most to gain if we do. In order to do the best we can for the next generation, we need to make them part of the process.

      • How often do we ask students their opinion about what they want to learn? How they want to learn it?
      • How often do we give them a real audience for their work? How often do we give regular, action-oriented feedback so students can improve their work because of their target audience?


      Nikhil, in writing his book, has interviewed hundreds of peers, policy makers, and forward thinkers such as Howard Gardner, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Noam Chomsky, and Diane Ravitch. In an effort to extend the message of Nikhil’s new book, we want to continue the collection of data around student perceptions of school and their school experience. Based on the data analysis, we can start making some real connections to intentional shifts and craft a plan of action around learning in the 21st Century.

      We are asking our learning community to help us collect this data through a student engagement survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/juststartkidsurvey

      Why should you encourage students to take the survey?
      1. It demonstrates that you care about them.
      2. It demonstrates that you want to design meaningful learning experiences for them.
      3. It demonstrates that you also grow from feedback based on your target audience.

      Why should students take the survey?
      1. It demonstrates that what they say matters.
      2. It demonstrates that their ideas can spark new innovations in their own classrooms as well as create movement in classrooms around the country and the world.
      3. It demonstrates the power of individual contribution in service to a larger cause.

      What’s in it for you?
      With school starting back up, we want to engage as many students as possible in the data collection. In return, we will give continual updates through ASCD Edge and on our individual sites about what the data suggests in terms of upgrading the learning for all students.

      Sometime in the next two weeks, we are looking to collect as many responses as possible from schools around the country. The more information we collect, the better the conclusions we can draw about innovations for modern learning design and practice.

      Please Tweet, Blog, Share, Pin, Email, EduClip, whatever you can to help get the survey out! On his “ABOUT” page, Nikhil shares a quote from Seth Godin, “When enough of us act, the system will have no choice but to listen, emulate and rush to catch up.” It’s time to stand up and act decisively. We have a duty to our children to get this right or future generations will suffer tremendously from the status of our schools. A generation is a terrible thing to go to waste.

      This blog post was collaboratively written by:
      Mike Fisher, a prolific blogger, educational consultant, and author: digigogy.com
      Allison Zmuda, an educational consultant, author, and proud creator of a new venture: just-startkidsandschools.com.

      Follow Mike on Twitter: @fisher1000
      Follow Allison on Twitter: @compclass
      Follow Nikhil on Twitter: @nikhilgoya_l



    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 2102
  • Power to the Students: An Inte Power to the Students: An Interview with 17 year old Nikhil Goyal on Taking Kids Seriously

    • From: Allison_Zmuda
    • Description:

      Meet Nikhil Goyal — a seventeen year old student in Long Island, NY who wants to revolutionize the school system. And he's taking action on that right now through his TED talk, numerous articles, and now a book that is due out this week entitled One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School. (For more information about him, click here to see his website.)

       

      Nikhil, Michael Fisher, and I are collaborating on a new project that will elicit feedback from students to create a more personalized, meaningful experience for every learner in service of what they want to do in their post-secondary endeavors. To that end, we have designed a student survey through Survey Monkey. Click here to see the student survey. Click here to see the blog post on the rationale behind the survey and why we hope thousands of students will take it.

       

      This also connects to my newest endeavor: Just Start: Kids and Schools where I propose that kids yearn for more control over their own education. We want to engage kids, parents, and educators in a collective conversation about how to customize learning to tap into individual desire as well as prepare our children for an increasing unpredictable world. And that's where Nikhil comes in. I came across Nikhil's Ted Talk and was so moved that I contacted him directly. This interview is the product of one of those conversations.


       

      Zmuda: Summarize the book - what do you think is really broken or outdated?

      Goyal: My book, "One Size Does Not Fit All, A Student's Assessment of School," describes why we need to revolutionize the system and suggestions for how to do so. The book is grounded in my own experience in the school system as well as hundreds of personal interviews with educators, parents, students, policy makers and some entrepreneurs.  It gives collective perspective and various ideas on how we can transform the system in the teaching profession, in the curriculum, and in politics.

      The education system is working as it was designed to do in the 19th and 20th century. Horace Mann, proponent of the universal public school system in the United States, designed school to create many compliant factory workers and those different tenets of that system, which were standardization and compliance and obedience, still remain today in the system. 

      First, what's really outdated is how we teach kids. We still put kids in desks in rows and make them listen to a teacher passively. It's still this kind of intake learning model where we're feeding kids facts and figures. This doesn't make sense when the entire economy and the entire way we acquire information and interpret it has been reinvented.

      The second concern is the way we group kids.  First, we group kids by just their date of birth.  It doesn't make any sense. We shouldn't be grouping kids by age, but rather by their skill level and what they can do. Having older kids working with younger kids creates a type of mentorship program. 

      Third, we don't give students the ability to shape their education. We tell them to jump through all the hoops and that's really what they're forced to do. But most kids don't understand that there are so many possible paths to success, it isn't just one simple straight line that you have to follow.  It's much more complicated than that.  So, those are just a few things that I focus on in the book, and I try to portray an image, where not only is the system outdated, but we to have significant steps to get to where we need to be.  We need to put students in charge of their education.  We need to give them some control.  Let them leverage their creativity and their passions so much more than what's going on today.  Students really want to see a number of things in the classroom.  The problem is that that they seem to, overtime, understand that education and schooling is not supposed to be fun.  It's supposed to be something that's done to you and you have to oblige or else. Your parents and teachers tell you to do the same plain vanilla procedure over and over again and you really don't have any choice, other than dropping out. 

       

      Zmuda: In your view, what do students really want to see in their classrooms?

      Goyal: So, many kids really want to see a shift in the classroom. When we're born, until around age 5, most of our learning is delivered through our experiences. We're just asking questions, we're curious about the world. Then formal education hits us and everything changes; we lose our curiosity and instead are trained to regurgitate information for the test. We have to find that curiosity that really blossoms in our early ages and bring it back. I believe that the future belongs to the curious: the people who ask questions and are inquisitive about the world, not people who listen to directions and follow all the rules and fill in all the bubbles on the test. So, success is so much more defined by your ability to engage in the real world, work with people and communicate your thoughts.


      Zmuda: To what extent is your vision based on your own point of view or is it based on generalities based on multiple perspectives?

      Goyal: My vision in general of education is based on a number of different elements.  A lot of it is part of my experience at school.  When I was younger, and even just a few years ago, I was just always a person that did really well in school.  I got high test grades.  I did everything my parents and my teachers told me and I was a great student.  In the summer of 2010, when I went on a family trip to India, I realized that the adult version of “doing well” was no longer personally satisfying.  I talked to a lot of students, had some conversations about education and realized they weren't learning what they wanted to, they were forced to do something and they were forced to be in a model that didn't satisfy their needs. 

      I believe students right now are being the victims of their schooling. One of my friends, Zak Malamed, likes to compare the way we do education reform to as really an investigation. For example, in an investigation you'll speak with the witnesses, you'll interview them and you'll see what's wrong with them, because that's really the most important thing, but in education, we don't talk to the victims, we don't talk to the students.  It really doesn't make much sense.  So my vision is also, a number of my personal experiences, combined with a lot of the conversations I've had.  I specifically say in the book, in one of the chapters, that I'm not an expert. I'm not an education historian, I'm not on the same experience level as somebody like Howard Gardner or Diane Ravitch, but I think that's okay.  My fresh perspective can add some value to the debate, because I haven't been there many years on end in the trenches of education policy. I'm simply looking at it from a very unique perspective and that really helps. In the book, I combine my experiences with current experts. So, it's very research and interview-based, rather than just a kid talking about education and what needs to be changed. 

       

      Zmuda: What voice do you envision yourself having a stakeholder in your education as the nation shifts to new standards?

      Goyal: The voice that I envision myself having as a stakeholder is really advocating for a number of things.  First and foremost is advocating for students to be represented in the conversation of school reform. I like to say that there is a kids' table and there's an adults' table in education. At the kids table, even though they're just a few feet away, they're not having much of rich conversation. But the adults' table, that's where the real conversation is happening even though all the decisions the adults are making are going to affect the kids at the nearby table. We can't have a kids and adults' table in education reform.  We should be having one table, where we can converse with each other and ensure that there's a collective agreement on many different ends. That's what I advocate for — students to be meaningfully represented in the conversation. 

      I also want to portray my views on how we can change the system and bring together everybody. 
      What I see now is that we are grouping people based on their role, not bringing them together and I think that's a huge problem. We need to streamline these conversations to make them more powerful and efficient. And not just teachers, administrators, students and parents, but having people like entrepreneurs and people in media, who aren't necessarily in the school system, who don't have children in the school system, but to give their perspective, because I think that's very valuable. Some of the best conversations and most enriching conversations I've had are with people not in the education space, and that tells a lot, because those are the people that are just looking at it from a different view point and I think that's important to look at, important to understand for people to look at in the conversation. 

       

      Zmuda: Give a concrete example or two of a specific contribution that any student can make.

      Goyal: So, there are a number of concrete examples a student can make.  I think the first and foremost thing they can do is to go to administration and start voicing their concerns.  I think that's one of the easiest ways to do it, because I think you have to start talking to your own school administration. And then start getting student groups.  Bring your fellow peers that have similar frustrations.  Start grouping together on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media and then go to your administration after with a plan and what you want to see changed. And if they don't listen, don't back down. Make sure that your voice is heard.  Make sure you go the education board meetings if you have a school board at your school. And make sure you contribute to the conversation one way or another. And another way students can get involved is to go talk to your local Patch or your local paper and write a piece about your ideas for the school system. You can start your own blog.  So, if your local administration won’t listen to you, other people around the world will listen to you and that will make your voice much more stronger in the long run. I think there are a number of things we can be doing to get involved because we’re at the heart of every policy decision and we need to have a voice. If we ignore students, we are ignoring the future generation and a generation is really a terrible thing to go to waste.


      For more information and ideas...

      Check out my latest book: Breaking Free from Myths about Teaching and Learning (2010) and website Just Start: Kids and Schools

      Check out Michael Fisher's website:www.digigogy.com

      Check out Nikhil Goyal's book: nikhilgoyal.me/book/

      

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 2230
  • Two Models for Educational Tec Two Models for Educational Technology

    • From: Tom_McDonald
    • Description:

      Educational Technology: Two Models for Educational Technology

      Educational Technology: By Laurie ODonnell, Adviser, co-collaborator, professor - Dundee

       

      Educational Technology: Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010 - 01:06 pm

       

      Recently I led a discussion on educational technology with a group of postgraduate students studying for a certificate in higher education teaching. For more than 40 years Scottish school (K-12) teachers have been university graduates with a requirement to hold recognized teaching qualification. Higher education has not been subject to the same regulation but in recent times new entries to university teaching tend to be offered contracts on condition that they gain a teaching certificate. No bad thing if you ask me, especially when I look back at some of my own experiences of being ‘taught’ as an undergraduate.

       

      So a great opportunity for me to influence the next generation of university teachers by giving them some bearings as they start to map their own professional learning journeys with educational technology.

       

      I started off by describing what I consider to be the dominant model for implementing educational technology. I call this approach ‘technology push’ and contrasted it to an alternative approach - 'learning pull'.

       

      education reform

       

      Tom McDonald's Comments:

      Most educational technology is one to many, or 'technology push' which is poor for learning (think lecture)

      The optimum educational technology is learner centric and truly personalized, or 'technology pull' which advances individual learning and individual performance improvement.

      Tom

       

      Access The New Differentiated Learning Model Here:

      http://mcdonaldsalesandmarketing.biz/tom-mcdonalds-posts/


      Access this article and others at:

      http://mcdonaldsalesandmarketing.biz/5024/educational-technology/

       

      Related Educational Technology and Learning Performance Improvement Information:

       

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  • Innovate to Educate: System [R Innovate to Educate: System [Re] Design for Personalized Learning

  • Common Core State Standards: N Common Core State Standards: Not Just Promises to Our Children

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      "These Standards are not intended to be new names for old ways of doing business.  They are a call to take the next step.  It is time for states to work together to build on lessons learned from two decades of standards based reforms.  It is time to recognize that standards are not just promises to our children, but promises we intend to keep" (Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Introduction, p. 5).

       

      Back-to-school takes on a new meaning in 2012-2013.  Many states will implement the Common Core State Standards. As the quote above mentions, standards are not new in K-12 education.  In 1994, Dr. Andrew Porter wrote, "Almost no one believes that standard setting in and of itself will lead to school improvement. Direct efforts at school improvement, such as strengthening the teacher corps and improving curriculum materials, need to follow" (p. 446).  It is important to remember that implementing the Common Core State Standards will require ongoing professional development, risk taking, communication, and a mindset of College and Career Readiness for all students.  As Dr. Porter wrote in 1994, the implementation of standards will not change teaching and learning in the United States.  2012-2013 marks the beginning of a new generation of standards.  Does your school district have an implementation timeline?  How will teachers receive ongoing support as they implement new standards?  How do you plan to measure the implementation process?  What is your district's communication plan for families and stakeholders?  

       

      "Educators must decide if they will work together collectively  and collaboratively to overcome the inevitable barriers they will confront or if they will simply say the task is too hard and the challenges too great  for them to do what they know must be done to support high levels of learning for all students.  Will they expend their energy explaining why it cannot be done in their setting, or will they work together to do it" (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Karhanek, 2010, p. 206). I wish you and your professional learning team the best as we work together to impact the next generation.    

       

      As your school and district staff begin the implementation process, you may benefit from the following resources.

       

      Developing a Common Core Vision
      Learning Forward (as published in Education Week)
      The standards are not a vision; they define outcomes. When districts and state departments of education take the time to envision what successful standards implementation looks like, it gives them a resource to measure progress, guide actions, and stay on course. 

       

      Common Core for School Leaders
      Michael Fisher and Steven Weber
      School leaders must create a schedule which allows for continuous improvement, rather than hoping teachers will meet before and after school. The schedule that school administrators create reflects a matter of priorities and curriculum development should be a priority. 

       

      How Will You Prepare to Make Shift Happen in 2012-2013?
      Steven Weber
      As districts begin implementing the Common Core State Standards, district leaders need to develop processes and short term wins. It is easier to make shifts happen when all stakeholders can see the Big Picture.   

        

      Purposeful Curriculum
      Steven Weber
      Curriculum Developers should ask these questions in order to create a purposeful curriculum.

       

      Learning Targets
      Steven Weber
      Learning Targets: Classroom teachers should have a great amount of flexibility when it comes to 'how' to teach key concepts and skills, but 'what' to teach should be clearly defined by the team.  It is unethical to allow some students to 'end up someplace else.' 

       

      The Fear of Failure
      Steven Weber
      Failure is part of the learning process.  If K-12 schools are going to make the instructional shifts required by the Common Core State Standards, then failure will be part of the implementation process. 

       

      What Are Your Three Circles? 
      Steven Weber
      Do educators in your school have a Hedgehog Concept? (Jim Collins)  The Three Circles activity may indicate that there are numerous programs and initiatives among buildings in a school district, but many of the initiatives seem to be in conflict with each other.  

       

       

      Standards do not tell teachers how to teach, but they help teachers figure out the knowledge and skills their students should have so that teachers can build the best lessons and environments for their classrooms. Standards also help students and parents by setting clear and realistic goals for success. Standards are a first step – a key building block – in providing our young people with a high-quality education that will prepare them for success in college and work. Of course, standards are not the only thing that is needed for our children’s success, but they provide an accessible roadmap for our teachers, parents, and students. 

       

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  • L2L News: August 2012 L2L News: August 2012

    • From: Meg_Cohen
    • Description:

      ASCD Leader to Leader (L2L) News is a monthly e-mail newsletter for ASCD constituent group leaders that builds capacity to better serve members, provides opportunities to promote and advocate for ASCD’s Whole Child Initiative, and engages groups through sharing and learning about best practices. To submit a news item for the L2L newsletter, send an e-mail to constituentservices@ascd.org.

       

      Join the L2L Conversation on Twitter

       

      ASCD Launches Free Online Needs Assessment and School Improvement Tool

      All educators want to improve the work they do for students. Whether it’s instruction, school climate, leadership, family engagement, or any of the other issues we face on a daily basis, we all need tools to help us improve in our context with our students. The ASCD School Improvement Tool is the newest and best way to get a snapshot of how well your school or district is doing and then identify what steps to take to get to the next level.

      Designed for use in schools and districts around the world, this free tool offers educators a comprehensive and completely online needs assessment. It includes a survey based on the indicators(PDF) of a sustainable whole child approach to education which span school climate and culture, instruction and curriculum, leadership, family and community engagement, professional development and staff capacity, and assessment.

      Based on your unique results, the tool points you to professional development resources that can help immediately address schoolwide challenges. Go to http://sitool.ascd.orgto get started.

      To post an ASCD School Improvement Tool badge on your website:

      Go to http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/images/siteASCD/ProfessionalDevelopment/school-improvement-tool-150x150.png. Download the image to your computer (for PC users: right-click your mouse and select “save image as”). Hyperlink the image to http://sitool.ascd.org, preferably to open in a new window/tab.

      -Or-

      Use the following html code to embed the image, already linked, on your website: <a href="http://sitool.ascd.org/Default.aspx" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/images/siteASCD/ProfessionalDevelopment/school-improvement-tool-150x150.png" alt="ASCD School Improvement Tool" width="150" height="150" /></a>

      Contact Klea Scharberg at kscharbe@ascd.org with questions or specific size, format, or language requests.

       

      Please Welcome the Whole Child Network of Schools to the ASCD Community

      The 10 schools—nine from across the continental United States and one from Guam —chosen to participate in ASCD’s Whole Child Network kicked off their efforts with a two and a half day Whole Child Network Summer Institute in Alexandria, Va., on July 15–17, 2012.

      These chosen schools have committed to a comprehensive school improvement process using the tenets of the Whole Child Initiative—healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged—and their indicators (PDF) as a sustainable whole child approach to education.

      The July institute will be followed by a one-day, on-site professional development at each school. Facilitated in partnership with ASCD’s Whole Child Programs staff, the training will introduce the whole child approach to education within each participating school’s community. ASCD staff will work with each school to support a comprehensive implementation based on the school’s results fromthe new ASCD School Improvement Tool and in correlation with their school improvement plans.

      Contact Donna Snyder, Manager Whole Child Programs, for more information at 703-575-5448 or donna.snyder@ascd.org

      2012 Whole Child Network of Schools:

      ·         Albert Harris Elementary School, Martinsville, Va., K–5.

      ·         Drew-Freeman Middle School,  Suitland, Md., 7–8.

      ·         Finegayan Elementary School, Hagatna, Guam, Head Start and K–5.

      ·         Fredstrom Elementary School, Lincoln, Neb., K–5.

      ·         Holly Glen Elementary School, Williamstown, N.J., preK–4.

      ·         Le Sueur-Henderson High School, Le Sueur, Minn., l 6–12.

      ·         Martinsville High School, Martinsville, Va., 9–12.

      ·         Odyssey Community School of the Santa Clara County School District in San Martin, Calif., 9–12.

      ·         P.S. 9, the Teunis G. Bergen Elementary School Brooklyn, N.Y., preK–5.

      ·         Urban Community School in Cleveland, Ohio, preK–8.

      Read the full press release.

       

      ASCD Emerging Leaders Sound Off on ASCD EDge

      Check out these great posts from ASCD leaders on ASCD EDge. Feel free to comment and share!

      ·         Ready, Set, Goals! By Fred Ende, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         On the Edge of Insanity: Developing My First PLN! By Craig Martin, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         Practice Makes Permanent by Fred Ende, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         How Will You Be a Connected Educator? By Steven Anderson, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         If It Ain’t Broke… by Fred Ende, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         Reform in Mathematics Teaching by Patricia Dickenson, 2011 Emerging Leader

      ·         The Power of the Lurker by Steven Anderson, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         Does the Student Create the Teacher? By Jason Ellingson, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         Learn to Lead, Lead to Learn by Fred Ende, 2012 Emerging Leader

      ·         If We Are Going to Lead, We Have to Be Connected by Steven Anderson, 2012 Emerging Leader

       

      Over 200 Leaders Gather for the 2012 Leader to Leader Conference

      Last month, ASCD leaders met at the Hyatt Dulles hotel for the 2012 Leader to Leader Conference. ASCD staff would like to thank attendees for a great conference and for their dedication and renewed commitment to revolutionizing the way we learn by ensuring that each child, in each community, is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Attendees have already provided extremely helpful feedback in the conference evaluation that will help inform future improvements to the conference.

       

      Past OYEA Cadre Members Share Their Thoughts on ASCD Inservice

      ·         From School Leader to Community Leader “You can no longer just worry about the issues that are happening within your school.”—Luis Torres, 2011 OYEA Winner

      ·         How Leaders in Singapore Stay Relevant to the Classroom “It’s this constant rotation in leadership so that educational leaders still have that fresh classroom experience to really think as a teacher.”—Deirdra Grode, 2008 OYEA Winner

      ·         Educational Leadership is My Just-in-Time Resource —Dallas Dance, OYEA Honoree

      ·         Using Mobile Devices to Improve Feedback Between Teachers and Principals “As principals, the quickest way to help students is to give teachers really good feedback.” Brian Nichols, 2010 OYEA Winner

      ·         Is Learning Being Redefined as Project-Based?—Bijal Damani, 2009 OYEA Winner

       

      Help Stop Sequestration!

      Sequestration will take effect in January 2013 unless Congress repeals it, making it crucial for education leaders like you to act now to prevent education spending from being cut by 8.4 percent, or about $4.1 billion.

      • Access ASCD’s updated sequestration page to learn more about the estimated cuts and their timing for key education programs and to calculate the amount that your school or program stands to lose.
      • Take advantage of this month’s congressional recess to meet with your federal lawmakers, inform them about sequestration’s severe consequences on local schools, and urge them to repeal the across-the-board cuts.
      • E-mail your stories about how sequestration is affecting (or will affect) you, your schools, and your school districts to ASCD’s Policy Team. We will share them with lawmakers on Capitol Hill as part of our effort to urge Congress to repeal sequestration.

      If you haven’t yet e-mailed your federal legislators about sequestration, we strongly encourage you to take five minutes to contact them today.

       

      Save the Date for ASCD’s Annual Legislative Conference

      Don’t let Congress make decisions about student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and school reform without the expert information you can provide. Let your voice be heard at ASCD's Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA), which will be held January 27–29, 2013. LILA is your opportunity to learn about and advocate for the education policies that have a direct effect on your work in the district, school, and classroom. Whether you are just becoming interested in advocacy or are a long-time activist, LILA can enhance your influence and effectiveness with policymakers at all levels. Look for more information, including registration details, in the coming weeks.

        

      Something to Talk About

      ·         Most recent blog posts on ASCD EDge®

      ·         Most-clicked stories from ASCD SmartBrief.

       

      Association News

      ·         Prince George's County Public Schools and ASCD Partner to Achieve Title I Professional Development Goals—Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) Title I Office has chosen ASCD as its newest professional development partner. As the second largest school system in Maryland and the 18th largest in the nation, PGCPS's 9,000 educators serve 125,000 students in 205 schools. Read the full press release.

      ·         School Renewal Experts Publish ASCD Guidebook for Fearlessly Leading School Transformation—ASCD is pleased to announce the release of Aim High, Achieve More: How to Transform Urban Schools Through Fearless Leadership, a practical and inspiring new book by school renewal experts Yvette Jackson and Veronica McDermott. Read the full press release.

      ·         ASCD Leader Receives Award for 20 Years of Service—ASCD CEO and Executive Director Dr. Gene R. Carter was honored by the association’s Board of Directors for his 20 years of service to the organization. The award was presented to Dr. Carter by ASCD President Debra Hill at the close of the association’s summer Board of Directors’ meeting in Alexandria, Va. Read the full press release.

       

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  • Defy Gravity! Defy Gravity!

    • From: Walter_McKenzie
    • Description:

      This past week I listened to Dr. Gene Carter, Executive Director of ASCD, deliver his opening remarks at our Leader to Leader conference in a crowded ballroom of eager ASCD leaders from around the world. He addressed many important themes for the conference, but one phrase jumped out of me in its startling simplicity: “Defy gravity!” I tweeted it out right away, and then let it sit with me the next few days of the conference to appreciate its full impact.


      Gravity…that force that pulls us down and makes us feel our weight…is such a constant in our lives we assume we have to operate under its impact all the time…not just our physical weight…but the weight of our experiences, too. If we believe we are weighed down with our lot in life, that we cannot will change to happen…it constrains us in everything we do…limiting our future.

       

      I started my career in education in 1985 fresh out of the Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) and I saw limitless possibilities for making a difference. Why not? I had no track record to define who I was or how I could succeed. But over the years, I honed my skills and found ways to make a difference. My creative tools were vertical files full of snail-mailed resources, acetate sheets on overhead projectors, filmstrips, carousel slide shows, VCRs, display cases, paper-and-scissors clip-art and dry transfer lettering. I made learning come alive for my students through every industrial-aged tool at my disposal. I loved my work.

       

      Then came computers and school networks and the Internet into our classrooms. It was new and different and required us to think of different ways to be successful. I felt the weight of my past experiences making me worry about using these new tools and the different ways of thinking I would need to use them. But gravity acts on mass, and I had only been teaching a few short years...so I shook off my anxiety, jumped in, and before I knew it I was leading online student projects, collaborating online with other teachers, and finding new ways to make learning come alive. I defied gravity...even though it wasn't that difficult in hindsight.

       

      Then came social media. I had an award-winning static website http://surfaquarium.com that I put endless hours into maintaining, several well-respected email distribution lists I had developed into thriving online communities, and ongoing invitations to present at major conferences about my work, but nothing had prepared me for this. Web 2.0? The Read-Write web? Blogs? Wikis? MySpace? I was so busy doing my thing I hadn’t seen this coming! Again I felt the gravity of my experiences pulling at me, and this was much harder because I was that much deeper into my career. It made me question if I was up for more change when I already was established and successful. Why were the rules changing? What about all the work I had already done on my website and mailing lists? But I knew deep-down change had to happen, and I began migrating my online projects from YahooGroups to wikis and I found myself Tweeting and Facebooking. I even archived the Surfaquarium and made my blogging the only current content I keep updated. I defied gravity again.

       

      What I realized each time is that my success isn’t defined by what I am comfortable and confident doing; it is defined by those people I impact positively through their preferred tools and modes of learning. If I don’t change, I can keep myself happy but the world will move ahead without me. It made sense within my whole multiple intelligences orientation: I can make it about my comfort zone and my past paths to success, but to those I seek to serve, I need to meet them at their needs and interests. My future needs to break free of my past… my future depends on theirs.

       

      In 2010 I performed another act of defying gravity, walking away from my assistant superintendency to join the highly-respected folks at ASCD. I shed the weight of my success as a public school educator in order to serve the greater good through the world’s premier education association. I still get to work with educators at all levels, and the work is very rewarding. Yet the theme of gravity continues to make itself known, because all of us as educators continue to struggle with the world changing around us. We have been successful over the last half-century using traditional forms of communication and professional development, but these things simply aren’t serving our colleagues and students effectively any more.

       

      So Dr. Carter’s challenge is very real…and as easy or as difficult as we want to make it: “Defy gravity!” Free yourself from your past life and ask yourself what you need to do to choose your future. Need to learn to reach out through concise tweets instead of lengthy newsletters? Learn to do it! Need to learn how to virtual-conference instead of waiting months to attend a face-to-face event? Let’s do it! Want to connect with like-minded educators from around the world to help you take your work to the next level? They’re waiting for you…online!

       

      Defy gravity! Because if you allow your perceptions and apprehensions to weigh you down, your life and career will never be more than the sum of your past experiences. Are you willing to accept that? I didn’t think so. Me neither!

       

      Walter’s blog archive: http://surfaquarium.com/blog.htm

      Mirror site: http://surfaquarium.blogspot.com/

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