ELR15: Barbara Blackburn, PhD on Rigor

Barbara BlackburnHow can we promote rigorous instruction in every classroom, for every student?

In this episode of Eduleadership Radio, Barbara Blackburn joins me to talk about what rigor really means for teachers and school leaders. Dr. Blackburn is the author of 13 books and dozens of articles on rigor in K-12 schools.

In our discussion, you’ll hear:

  • The most common misconceptions about rigor, and the top mistakes schools make when trying to increase rigor
  • Why rigor is for everyone, not just honor students
  • What’s new—and what’s not—in the Common Core State Standards when it comes to rigor
  • How teachers can help students with special needs do truly rigorous work
  • How school leaders can promote a culture of rigor in their schools

Eduleadership RadioBarbara Blackburn, PhD is an author and full-time consultant who works with schools around the country to help raise the level of rigor and motivation for professional educators and students alike.

Her website is BarbaraBlackburnOnline.com, and you can follow Barbara on Twitter @BarbBlackburn.

Her books include:

Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter WordRigor in Your School a Toolkit for LeadersRigor for Students with Special Needs

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Download this episode (MP3 format, 24 minutes, 23 MB)

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ELR14: Wade Kerns on 21st Century Professional Development

Wade Kerns

In your school, is PD a sit-and-get, one-size-fits all experience? Or do you create professional learning opportunities that use technology to differentiate and meet the varying needs of your staff?

In this episode of Eduleadership Radio, Wade Kerns joins me to talk about 21st century professional development. In our discussion, you’ll hear:

  • Why most professional development is disrespectful to teachers
  • How schools are starting to differentiate and modernize their approach to professional learning
  • The tools that empower personalized, powerful professional development
  • How individualized 21st century PD can work in parallel to initiative-based PD for all staff

Eduleadership RadioWade is a middle school administrator in Baltimore County, MD.

His blog, Educational Leadership, Examined, is at WadeSKerns.com.

You can follow Wade on Twitter @WadeSKerns.

Listen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 23 minutes, 31 MB)

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ELR13: Steve Fink & Ann O’Doherty on the Principal Preparation Guarantee

Eduleadership RadioIn this episode of Eduleadership Radio, Steve Fink and Ann O’Doherty join me to discuss a first-of-its kind guarantee for principal preparation.

Steve Fink is Executive Director of the Center for Educational Leadership, part of the University of Washington’s College of Education.

Ann O’Doherty is Director of the Danforth Educational Leadership Program, the principal preparation program at the University of Washington. *

I spoke to Ann and Steve to discuss their new partnership: If a Danforth graduate needs additional support in serving as an effective leader, CEL will provide the necessary professional development at no cost.

In the interview, we discuss how they’re phasing in this guarantee, how they determined what competencies to guarantee, and how principal preparation and on-the-job professional development fit together to create a leadership pipeline for districts and regions.

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Download this episode (MP3 format, 32 minutes, 41 MB)

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* Disclosure: I am an alumnus of the Danforth program, but this was my first time speaking to Ann. In the time since we recorded this interview, Ann has become a member of my dissertation committee.

ELR12: Jason DeRoner on Teacher Observation Tools

Eduleadership RadioIn this episode of Eduleadership Radio, Jason DeRoner, CEO of TeachBoost, joins me to discuss the impact good software can have on school leaders’ ability to provide high-quality feedback.

Let me be blunt: Most apps made specifically for principals are junk, because the developers either aren’t very good, or they don’t understand the work of principals, or both. When I tried TeachBoost, I realized something was different, and I knew I had to talk to the person behind it.

Jason DeRoner photoI had a great time talking with Jason because he deeply understands instructional supervision, and TeachBoost has developed an amazing web-based app that works on a laptop, iPad, smartphone, or just about any other web-enabled device to help principals collect great information in walkthroughs or formal observations.

TeachBoost isn’t cheap, but they do have a free plan that’s worth checking out. You can create a free account here.

In our discussion, Jason and I talk about what school leaders need from their software in order for it to make a positive difference in their work without getting in the way. Whether or not you’re interested in a particular tool, I hope you find this discussion helpful to your thinking about instructional supervision and the way you provide feedback to teachers to support their growth.

Listen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 27 minutes, 14 MB)

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ELR11: Ian Vickers on Teacher Well-Being

Eduleadership RadioIn this episode of Eduleadership Radio, Ian Vickers joins me to discuss how we can take steps to improve teacher well-being in our schools.

Educators are no strangers to hard work—sometimes at the expense of our own health. How can we do great work on behalf of kids, while also taking care of ourselves?

Concerned about teacher stress, burnout, and related health implications, Ian embarked on a year-long campaign to promote health and wellness among his staff at Sancta Maria College in Flatbush, Auckland, NZ.

He found that a series of small steps, which he has compiled into a booklet that he makes freely available, dramatically reduced the illness rate in his school. Ian was kind enough to explain his approach, the strategies, and the results in our conversation.

Ian Vickers photoOver the past year, Ian has shared his teacher well-being initiative with hundreds of principals around New Zealand, and welcomes further interest from around the world.

To contact Ian about his teacher well-being program, you can email him at teacherwellbeingglobal[at]gmail.com.

 
 
 

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Download this episode (MP3 format, 29 minutes, 14 MB)

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Ian adds:

Below is a YouTube video of a Maori song called “He Tangata” by a group called Oceania.

There is a Maori proverb – He aha te mea nui o tea o? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

This roughly translates – What is the most important thing in the world? It’s the people, It’s the people, It’s the people.

The song is saying that people are the most important aspect of our world, town, workplace, and schools.

ELR10: Mary Miller on School Improvement

Eduleadership RadioIn this episode of Eduleadership Radio, Mary Miller joins me to discuss how we can create systems to support struggling students. Drawing on her background as a school psychologist, Mary shared with me her approach to helping teachers and school address the needs of their students using data, the right assessments, and school-based processes, beyond simply referring struggling students for Special Education evaluations.

Mary is president and founder of Miller Guidance Solutions. She has worked in public schools for 34 years, and now supports schools through her work with teachers, principals, and district administrators as a school reform leader.

Miller Guidance Logo New

Listen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 36 minutes, 17 MB)

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ELR9: Evernote for Administrators

EvernoteJoe Mazza and William King join me to discuss Evernote and its many uses for school leaders.

Evernote is a great all-purpose digital file cabinet, and we had no trouble discussing dozens of different ways we find it useful in our work. Here’s how I use it for walkthroughs. Thanks to Joe and William for joining me (several months ago, actually – I decided to run the No Office Day episode first) – they are great educators to connect with.

Eduleadership RadioListen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 49 minutes, 74 MB)

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As usual, Eduleadership Radio is brought to you by The Principal Center.

ELR8: No Office Day 2011

Jessica, Shira, and William discuss No Office Day in this episode of Eduleadership Radio. No Office Day is a movement to get out of the office and into classrooms – something we should do every day, but something worth focusing on to improve our practice.

No Office DayYou can find this week’s guests on Twitter and on their blogs:
Jessica Johnson (@PrincipalJ)
Shira Leibowitz (@ShiraLeibowitz)
William King (@WKingBG)

Other educators involved with No Office Day include:
David Truss (@datruss)
Josh Stumpenhorst (@StumpTeacher)
Lyn Hilt (@L_Hilt)

Thanks very much to this week’s guests. Make sure to check out the No Office Day wiki for a full list of participants and their reactions to their No Office Day experiments (here’s mine). We also discussed Wiffiti (think “wireless graffiti”), an online tool that William used to gather and share responses from students in a class he taught during his no-office day.

Eduleadership RadioListen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 35 minutes, 53.4 MB)

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ELR7: John Bernia on #edfocus

John Bernia joins me to discuss #edfocus and Mike Schmoker’s ideas in his book Focus.

John is a middle school principal and a leading voice in the #edfocus Twitter book discussion for school leaders that takes place on alternating Wednesday evenings. I interviewed Dr. Schmoker about his book in Episode 4 of Eduleadership Radio, and I enjoyed the chance to talk with John about his thoughts on the book. We also talked a bit about how #edfocus is helping us learn together online. I’d be remiss if I didn’t credit @justintarte for organizing the chat.

Eduleadership RadioListen Now:

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ELR6: Chip Wood – Responsive School Discipline

Responsive School Discipline book coverChip Wood joins me to discuss his new book, Responsive School Discipline: Essentials for Elementary School Leaders. Chip is co-founder of the Northeast Foundation for Children and a key leader of the Responsive Classroom movement.

The book offers school leaders a comprehensive plan for addressing climate and discipline issues, particularly in regards to common spaces such as the playground, buses, and cafeteria. If you’re a fan of PBIS, or are looking for ways to create a more positive student climate in your school, the book will be a helpful and practical guide.

Eduleadership RadioListen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 37 minutes, 17.5 MB)

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ELR5: Rob Ackerman – Collecting & Using the Right Data

Eduleadership RadioRob Ackerman, elementary principal from Massachusetts, joins me to discuss collecting and using data. How do you decide what data to collect as a leader, and how do you encourage staff to use the right data in their collaborative work?

Listen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 32 minutes, 15.5 MB)

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Thanks again to Rob for the great discussion on using data!

ELR4: Mike Schmoker on Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning

Focus Mike SchmokerDr. Mike Schmoker discusses his new book Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning, in which he explains that we can get dramatically better results in our classrooms by focusing on a few essential elements, including a coherent curriculum, high-quality whole-class instruction, and large doses of reading and writing across the curriculum. He argues that much of our energy today is spent on distractions from these essential elements, without which add-ons like technology and project-based learning will have little impact.

Listen Now:

Download this episode (MP3 format, 27:08, 13 MB)

For more on Focus, check out Education Week’s book backgrounder, or better yet, read the book for yourself (available in paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon).

Dr. Schmoker was kind enough to answer quite a few questions on the EdWeek forums, and graciously made some time to speak with me about his book’s message in this week’s episode of Eduleadership Radio.

Eduleadership RadioFollow Eduleadership Radio:
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Special thanks to Twitter colleagues @justintarte @chubbuch @wolfball33 @jwporteous @northeagles @MrBernia @eevansHHS @Akee123 @jdahl84 and @POUSDsupt and others for the great conversation about Focus at #edfocus, and especially to Justin Tarte for organizing the discussion.

ELR3: 1:1 Tablet Computing in a High-Poverty District, with Dr. Tyler Brown

Dr. Tyler Brown discusses his district’s 1:1 tablet computing initiative and working with students from poverty.

Dr. Brown is Assistant Superintendent in Mt. Vernon City Schools, District 80 in Illinois, a district with more than 80% of students receiving free/reduced lunch. He is also a certified Aha! Process trainer.

In this episode, he shares his district’s experience in helping staff work more effectively with families from poverty through professional development, as well as their new 1:1 tablet computing initiative, which will put Android tablets in the hands of every student and staff member.

Eduleadership RadioSubscribe in iTunes (link will launch iTunes)
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Download this episode (MP3 format, 42:10)

Listen Now:

 

 

Links to resources we talked about:
Dr. Ruby Payne’s Aha! Process (professional development on working with students from poverty)
Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet (Android OS)
Keyboard/docking station
Study Island
Khan Academy
Dr. Donna Beagle

Note: This is the first episode I’ve recorded using Skype and Ecamm Call Recorder rather than a regular telephone recording service.

ELR2: Managing the Teacher Evaluation Process

Chuck Bell & Jessica Johnson discuss how they manage the teacher evaluation process.

Providing meaningful feedback and completing teacher evaluations represent a substantial portion of the work of school leaders. My guests this week shared their insights into managing the process, and described how they strive to provide instructional leadership through the process. Thanks to Jessica and Chuck for their time and willingness to share.

Jessica’s advice: Don’t put off the post-conference – the sooner you have the post-observation meeting, the more meaningful the feedback will be.

Chuck’s advice: Make it a priority every day. Don’t underestimate the importance of the leader’s presence in classrooms. 

Eduleadership RadioSubscribe in iTunes (link will launch iTunes)
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Download this episode (MP3 format, 28:37)

Listen Now:

 

 

Links to resources we talked about:
Kim Marshall’s book: Rethinking Teacher Supervision & Evaluation

Georgia School Keys

Evernote

Google Docs

Jessica’s Pre-Observation Form

ELR1: Working as a Solo Administrator – Scott Friedman

Working Solo: Scott Friedman of Nine Mile Falls Elementary (WA) was kind enough to join me for the inaugural episode of Eduleadership Radio, my new podcast in which I’ll bring you the best in professional practice from real school leaders.

Eduleadership RadioSubscribe in iTunes (link will launch iTunes)
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Download this episode (MP3 format, 26:11)

Listen Now:

Many elementary principals work without an assistant principal or administrative team. Scott Friedman shares his insights on working solo after years of working on an admin team.

Show Links:
Twitter (Justin, Scott)
Skype

Google+