Schools have struggled to add learning time after COVID–here’s how one district did it

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It was just after 2:30 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, and the school stage hadn’t yet transformed into a reading room.

Christopher VanderKuyl, an assistant principal in Chicago’s west suburbs, hurriedly dragged brown folding chairs across the wood floor. He made a mental note to figure out who’d rearranged the furniture.…Read More

How we reached student success with assessment proficiency

Key points:

  • Assessment creation can be uncomfortable, but it is also one of the most important steps in accelerating student learning
  • Teachers are the only professionals who can most effectively build these assessments for their students
  • See related article: 4 engaging assessment ideas for middle and high school
  • For more news on assessment, visit eSN’s Innovative Teaching page

Teachers use a variety of methods to assess mastery of a topic. We use observations, quick formative assessments, longer summative assessments, and long-term benchmark assessments. The problem is that these assessments come in a variety of ways, depending on where you teach.

Many districts utilize pre-built assessments from curricular resource companies. Others build assessments based on curricular resources and change every 4-6 years with their new resource adoption cycles. Some will create assessments based on their state-approved learning standards and work to adapt the curricular resources to their true “curriculum” and assessments.…Read More

Teacher helps implement the science of reading ‘one bite at a time’

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at

Indiana is in the midst of an enormous undertaking to improve literacy rates. The approach: Align state standards, curriculum, and teacher training programs with practices rooted in the science of reading, which emphasizes phonics to help students decode words.

Literacy coach Mika Frame has a memorable mantra for accomplishing big goals. …Read More

8 lessons to help school leaders manage change

Key points:

  • Patience will go a long way in ensuring all members of your school system are comfortable with change
  • Keeping wellness in mind goes a long way in ensuring effective change management
  • See related article: These 2 things can guide your change management

As a former turnaround principal, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to manage change within a school system. That’s why, when I retired from the school system to pursue my PhD, Industrial Organizational (I/O) Psychology seemed like such a perfect fit. I/O Psychologists concentrate on systems improvement, focusing on how individuals and organizations work together. I loved helping school systems that needed improvements turn around and become environments where students grow and thrive, and here was a whole field full of insights and strategies to help people adopt a growth mindset and learn to embrace change.

Education, like the world we prepare students for, is constantly changing, yet it sometimes seems to have one foot in the past. Teachers are always striving to understand how they can work through change to best help their students. Administrators are managing and supporting not just their students, but their faculty as well, even as they are dealing with new initiatives, new federal laws, new local regulations, new testing mandates, and more.…Read More

3 things Abbott Elementary gets right about new teacher engagement

Key points:

  • New teachers look at engagement differently–and Abbot Elementary is spot-on in its depictions of new and seasoned educators
  • The show also highlights student engagement and teacher support as critical parts of a new teacher’s journey
  • See related article: 5 strategies for first-year special education teachers

Abbott Elementary has been widely beloved since its conception, and for good reason. Like many current and former educators, I’ve loved watching the sitcom for the smart humor and great characters, but also for how accurately it represents so much of what I experienced during my time as a teacher, academic coach, and principal. 

There has never been a show that so successfully captures the joy of teaching while simultaneously depicting the challenges, heartaches, and relationships that come with it. One really important thing Abbott does well is highlight the major differences between how newer and more experienced teachers approach engagement, and how new teachers grow as they learn new strategies and practice their skills to increase student engagement. …Read More

Education Leaders in Yonkers, NY, and Henderson, TN, Win Inaugural YouScience® Innovative Educator Awards

AMERICAN FORK, UTAH (PRWEB) — Two respected educators have been named the inaugural recipients of the  YouScience® Innovative Educator Award, recognizing their exceptional contributions in guiding and inspiring students to explore their aptitudes and make informed decisions about their futures. This award celebrates educators who have implemented innovative approaches to empower the next generation of professionals through academic and career exploration.

The winners of the inaugural YouScience® Innovative Educator Award are Principal Steven Mazzola of Saunders Trades and Technical High School from Yonkers, New York, and School Counselor Darlene Goff of Chester County Schools from Henderson, Tennessee.

Steven Mazzola and Saunders Trades and Technical High School prepare students for academic and career success. With over 30 years of experience in education, Principal Steven Mazzola has been a driving force at Saunders Trades and Technical High School, where he has served as principal for nearly 20 years. Under his leadership, the school has consistently achieved graduation rates of 94-98% or higher. Mazzola’s innovative approach combines career and technical education (CTE) courses with academic programs, ensuring students are well-prepared for success in both school and life. He introduced YouScience® to the school, helping students identify their best-fit career and educational pathways and quantify their skills for potential employers.…Read More

Are you choosing the right classroom visual displays?

Key points:

  • Size isn’t the only important part of classroom visual displays
  • Brightness, contract, interactivity, and resolution are all critical factors

The transfer of knowledge is an educator’s principal concern–one that has led them, along with researchers, to ask: “What’s the best way to help transfer that knowledge and help students learn?”

Research has shown that students learn better with visuals than words alone. Visual presentations using a projector or interactive display can help to promote a much more active learning environment and more successful outcomes. However, in the last few years, as interactive displays have become more popular, there has been a significant debate on which is the best display type–projectors or interactive flat panel displays–for the classroom.…Read More

3 ways to ensure kindergarten readiness for all children

Ensuring that children are developmentally ready for school on day one of kindergarten is critical. The better prepared children are for kindergarten, the more successful they are likely to be in their school experience.

Kindergarten readiness involves more than just a child’s age and academic abilities. It also encompasses social-emotional competencies, including whether children can follow directions, regulate their own emotions, and get along well with others.

As a former principal for a large urban school district who has opened an early childhood center with more than 400 children, I have extensive experience in preparing children for kindergarten and working with parents to do the same. Here are three key steps that school systems can take to ensure that all children have the solid foundation they need to start kindergarten ready to learn with their peers.…Read More

10 powerful practices for new principals

As a principal, you have the privilege of leading a school and making a positive difference in the lives of countless students. You have the power to create an environment of education, respect, and integrity. You are also responsible for ensuring that your students receive the best possible education and that their educational and social outcomes are improved through your leadership. Leading with integrity and improving student outcomes is a task that requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to be open-minded and creative.

The following are 10 strategies for new principals to lead with integrity and improve student outcomes:

1. Establish a Vision: Establishing a clear school vision is the first and most important step for a new principal to lead with integrity and improve student outcomes. This vision should be based on the core principles of integrity, respect, and excellence and should be shared with your school staff, students, and parents. This vision will guide the school and should serve as a rallying point for everyone to strive towards.…Read More

How to build a P-TECH Academy on the go

As the principal of a brand new “pathways in technology early college high school” (P-TECH), I’ve had to become comfortable with the idea of building a program even as students are enrolled in it. Fortunately, my leadership team and I understand what our school will look like when everything is in place.

We have a blueprint that we’re implementing one year at a time, so we don’t have to do everything at once. We also have a partner, the Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), that has successfully run a similar program for eight years providing guidance and support. Here’s how it’s working so far and why it’s so important to our students and our community.

Building the plane as we fly—with excellent mechanics aboard…Read More