4 Ways to Support Staff Working with English Language Learners
Being a director of programs supporting English language learners (ELLs) is truly a balancing act. Just like a juggler with spinning plates, we always have our eye on the prize of student success. We know, however, that unless each staff member involved is fully committed to supporting the ELLs, one of those plates might come crashing to the ground. So, how can we keep those plates spinning? And just who are the individuals represented by these "plates"? Who are those staff members that contribute to ELL success?
5 Tips to Understanding and Avoiding Bias in Teacher Performance Evaluations
We are well into the last quarter of the school year, and that means we are entering the final phase of conducting classroom observations for teacher performance evaluation. If observations involve only one person, how do we enhance intra-rater reliability? And especially, if multiple observers have been involved in observing teachers’ classroom performance, what can we do to ensure inter-rater reliability? If a vice principal conducted an observation earlier in the year and the principal is scheduled to conduct an additional or final observation, how can we ensure the results of the more recent observation won’t sway the decision disproportionately and that observers are using the same yardstick to measure effectiveness?Continue Reading
Time & Attendance
Getting School District Employees Buy-in for A New Time Tracking System
Sometimes, change is hard — even when it’s for the better. It’s relatively easy to get staff buy-in for things like dress-down days, unlimited printing or discount programs. But other changes can be a little harder to rally your employees around, even when the switch is integral to the school district’s operations.
High-Stakes Evaluations and the Teacher Shortage
No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Every Student Succeeds Act - all inspiring names, all painting a picture of education in which each student learns to her full potential. But what happens when well-intended laws yield unintended results? (We're looking at you, NCLB.)Continue Reading
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How One School District Manages Drastic Growth in Special Populations Each Year
Not far from Houston, Texas, Alvin Independent School District is a rapidly growing organization with enrollment increasing by well over 1,000 students annually. New schools are planned and built every year to keep up with projected expansion.Continue Reading
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Podcast: Special Education Software Companies as District Partners
Does the road to choosing successful ed-tech seem bumpier for special education programs than it does for other areas of K-12? If yes, is that only because of state compliance regulations? Or is it something else?Continue Reading
Recruiting & Hiring
What Districts Can Do About the Substitute Teacher Shortage
Everywhere you turn, there’s a new article about the substitute teacher shortage. There just aren’t enough substitute teachers to go around, and the problem has been pinned on everything from poor pay to low unemployment rates. Districts work hard to try to pump up their substitute pools — reaching out to news outlets, posting on social media and attending job fairs.Continue Reading
Not Just for Academics: Expanding RTI/MTSS to Provide Behavioral and Social-Emotional Support
Building an RTI/MTSS model for behavior is not easy. It can require 3-5 years of sustained effort — an understandable timeline when one considers that schools often must make do with existing resources and can move forward only as quickly as their staff is able to assimilate changes to their professional practice.Continue Reading
Get a Scholarship to the Learning Forward Academy — Here’s How to Apply
Are you passionate about supporting and leading professional learning within your organization? If so, you may be familiar with the Learning Forward Academy — a rich blended learning experience immersing participants in inquiry- and problem-based learning.Continue Reading
Recruiting & Hiring
How Hiring Is Like a Box of Chocolates
Every year, I go to the store a day or two after Valentine’s Day to load up on discounted chocolate. You know the ones I mean: those red, heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates in the clearance bin right by the cash register.Continue Reading
Recruiting & Hiring
Is There a Leak in Your Applicant Pipeline?
Despite the number of recent articles being posted in newsfeeds with increasing regularity, the ongoing teacher shortage crisis isn’t breaking news. But according to A Leak in the Pipeline: How Hiring Bias Might Be Compounding the Teacher Shortage, we may be missing a key contributor to the shortages plaguing many districts across the country.Continue Reading