Category Archives: Administration

Redefining Learning

Written by David Richards, Ph.D.

There is a learning renaissance happening in education.  Today, educators are witnessing a disruptive convergence of access to mobile devices, online content, demands for choice, and increased access to high-speed bandwidth. 

Our new reality includes the fact that teachers are everywhere, content is king, and students are increasingly expecting to learn in an anytime, anywhere model. To be clear, this isn’t about our schools being broken, this paradigm shift is more about redefining our learning which will result in a redesign of our schools.  Meaning – to design learner-centered classrooms, we need to begin our design thinking from the student lens.  This includes tackling tough issues like time, mastery, and student agency. Continue reading Redefining Learning

Equitable Education through Personalized Learning

Three people watching at baseball game behind a fence. The first image is labeled equality and all three people have boxes to stand on that are the same height. But the three people are all different heights so only the taller two can see over the fence. In the second image labeled equity, the same three people have boxes to stand on based on their current height. So all three people can see over the fence.
Image courtesy of Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.

In conversations around equity, we often see the image above used as a metaphor to describe how it is different from equality. As educators, we know that every student is unique and their needs diverse. This image depicts that when we provide the same supports to each learner regardless of their unique needs, only some will be able to see over the fence to access learning. We can abstract that while a one-size-fits-all (equal) system of education helps some students access learning, it leaves some without, causing inequities to grow. However, when we provide supports consistent with their needs (equity) every student is able to access learning. Continue reading Equitable Education through Personalized Learning

Town halls give residents chance to weigh in on next superintendent

Written by: Charles Honey, for School News Network on Nov. 20, 2018

Residents have two more opportunities to have input on the next superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS). Town hall meetings started on Monday, Nov. 26 and will be held through Monday, Dec. 3. These meetings are for people to share their thoughts on the characteristics they’d like to see in the next GRPS Superintendent to succeed Teresa Weatherall Neal, who will retire at the end of June 2019.

The next two meetings are scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Thursday, Nov. 29 at Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, 851 Madison Ave SE
  • Monday, Dec. 3 at City High Middle (1720 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505)

People unable to attend or who would like to contribute additional thoughts are invited to provide their input online. Continue reading Town halls give residents chance to weigh in on next superintendent

Retain Talented Educators in Your District

We know what great teaching looks like- dedication, continuous improvement, care for their students’ needs, etc.  But, do we know what great teachers look like?

Does your school and district consciously recognize great teachers, as a means of honoring them, for the great work they do? Does the public know who those great teachers are?

More than a certificate and a handshake, a well-designed teacher recognition program can complement other essential work in your school and district. Schools should think bigger than offering recognition at staff meetings. Include the community at large, so they can share in their local schools’ pride, by recognizing educators at athletic or other events. Continue reading Retain Talented Educators in Your District

Strive for Less Than 5!

written by Ron Koehler

School districts across Kent ISD are teaming together to deliver a common message to all students, to their families and the community at large:  Strive for Less Than 5 days absent.

You should soon be seeing yard signs, posters and this Strive for Less Than 5 video to spread the message that students who miss five or fewer days of school a year perform better than those who miss school on a regular basis.

The data for students who are chronically absent is clear:  Students who miss more than 10 percent of school time, just two days a month, are far less likely to be proficient than their peers who regularly attend school. Continue reading Strive for Less Than 5!

Change Illusion

Blog post written by: Dr. Anthony Muhammad

Change is a very difficult process, but it is the catalyst to continuous improvement.  It tests our ability as professionals at many different levels.  Sometimes, when things get too challenging, we tend to look for short-cuts or we quietly surrender.  We live in a political climate that demands that we change, whether we choose to or not, but I have found that some organizations are good at creating the illusion of change, rather than being fully involved in the process of change.  There are three key phrases which clearly indicate that an organization is not fully committed to the change process. Continue reading Change Illusion

Observation and Formative Feedback: Best Practices

Written by Steve Seward, Associate Director, MASSP

“Teaching is complex work. You don’t have to be bad to get better!”  Candi B. McKay

Regardless of age or role, we all deserve formative feedback for growth that is centered on clearly specified areas of focus and success criteria. Those that are most effective as leaders, in all educational capacities, consistently engage in the process inquiry through the gathering and gaining feedback for growth.

There are multiple ways to give and receive feedback and multiple uses of feedback. Most important is that feedback is provided based on a strengths-based approach. As John Hattie explains, “Feedback must be timely, relevant, and action-oriented”. The goal with formative feedback is to provide feedback that moves learning forward by causing the learner to think, and at the same time be the owner of their learning. Continue reading Observation and Formative Feedback: Best Practices

Prepare Your Students for PSAT and SAT…and Analyze the Results!

Your PSAT and SAT scores are in…now how do you get the most out of them? 

You may find yourself asking questions like…what do these results indicate? Should I be proud or concerned? Are there patterns to watch for?

Help is here! Cross disciplinary district teams will have the opportunity to participate in a highly interactive Data Analysis Protocol Workshop presented by Wendy Zdeb, Ed.S., Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP).

Participants will be taught a data protocol and will participate in hands-on activities to break down their school’s PSAT 10 and SAT data.   Continue reading Prepare Your Students for PSAT and SAT…and Analyze the Results!

Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

Attention School Administrators: The Fall Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

In March, Reading Now Network (RNN) hosted the West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium at Western Michigan University. More than 600 educators from 26 counties gathered to focus on literacy. Participants learned how to implement the RNN Five Key Findings and explored the Instructional and School-Wide Essential Practices. The urgency and excitement surrounding the RNN Five Key Findings has resulted in a fall Literacy Leadership Symposium aimed to energize and inspire building and district administrators. Continue reading Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

#SummerAdminReads

Kelli Campbell, T&L Director Kent ISD- As summer approaches, I am preparing my summer reading list. One thing we know as educators, is that reading is very important to professional growth. Reading can remind you, challenge you, and give you an opportunity to interact with others. (Why Leaders Must Be Readers, Forbes.com)

What’s on your summer reading list?

As you put together your summer reading list, here are a few newly published books that may be of interest to every building administrator! Continue reading #SummerAdminReads