Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons From Chicago. Anthony S. Bryk, Penny Bender Sebring, Elaine Allensworth, Stuart Luppescu, and John Q. Easton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Describes the changes that have occurred in Chicago schools. What’s so important about Chicago? Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education. While I’m not a big fan of Duncan I am a fan of most the “essential supports” described for schools such as Leadership as the Driver for Change, Parent-Community-School Ties, Professional Capacity, Student-Centered Learning Climate, and Instructional Guidance.
Not all absences are equal. Excused Versus Unexcused: How Student Absences in Elementary School Affect Academic Achievement describes the impact of excused vs unexcused absences. A high number of unexcused absences points towards academic risk, especially in elementary school.
What is the role of a school site leader? Is it to be in classroom and an expert in instruction? Is it to be an organizational manager? Horng and Loeb in the November 2010 Kappan Magazine suggest the latter.
Unbundling Promises and Problems offers worthwhile opinions on the role and effects of “unbundling” education. The idea of “unbundling” is that one can break down the act of “educating” into it’s constituent parts with the goal of implementing and/or improving only select portions of it. For example, school size: we see that many schools are created or broken down into smaller units, another example is school site governance, there are a variety of school site governance models. However, what is the impact of unbudnling education? How do we measure success? Unbundling can sometimes lead to a sense of progress because “something” is being done but is it the right thing?
A. Quinlan provides some excellent tips for online teachers. Tips include: allow yourself plenty of prep time, schmooze our IT person, KISS, the tech your student have will not be the same tech you have, expect some discomfort, maintain a sense of humor, and other tips. I found these all to be true this past summer so if you’re interested in online teaching grab this article.
Engage Educators in Order to Achieve the Best Results for Students is an excellent article provided by a superintendent who has led the creation of a high performing district. It outlines the steps like evaluating current systems, setting high goals and models of continuous improvement. Phi Delta Kappan December 2010/January 2011 vol. 92 no. 4 39-43
There’s a lot of talk about 21st century skills but little consensus over what the details of those skills are. Here’s a framework to consider. Framework for 21st Century Learning – The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Thoughts?
What does school look like in the future? Will it be the same four walls and board? It’s already started to look different as courses move online. What’s best for students? In the Future, Diverse Approaches to Schooling takes look at different models for school. Online offering are not a solution to every issue but they are a solution for some students. What’s also needed is professional support for teachers to be able to change instructional approaches in a different environment.
Digital Kids in Schools: Cartoons | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice.
What are the expectations when it comes to the use of technology in classrooms. Generally, if it supports student learning I’m for it but if its’ just a gimmick, I’ll pass. The challenge at times is knowing the difference…