Customized Solutions for K-12 Educators
When he talks to students at Yakima’s Lewis and Clark Middle School, Principal Victor Nourani’s message is clear: Public education is a gift — and an opportunity. Your job is to make the most of it.
The school serves a high poverty area. Ninety percent of the school’s students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
Nourani’s words are more than casual rhetoric. “I call this a country club,” says Nourani who is in his second year as the school’s principal. “I tell them this is a privilege we have in this country, that they are lucky to be here, that kids their age in Pakistan or some other countries are making soccer balls. I tell them they are in a great place that values education and taxpayers make sacrifices to educate them. I want them to understand the sacrifices made each day for them and that they owe it to us to come to school each day and learn.
“Our challenge is to make education important to our students and their families.”
Call that quintessential Nourani, a man who believes that with opportunity comes responsibility and that potential is meant to be realized.
Energetic, innovative and vibrant, he is a leader with a keen sense of possibility and a knack for instilling it in others.
It happens to everyone – even adults. Assigned reading that makes you want to pull your hair out.
Never fear! This video discusses a strategy for how to get through it (maybe even with a smile?) Great for adults, students, spouses, and even young teachers making their way through continuing education programs.
If you’re on a dial-up, there’s a nice summary of the video content here.
Thanks to Trelease on Reading for the great resource!
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to catch up with Mitch Richards, a 4th Grade teacher at John Campbell Elementary in Selah School District about a program that they have been developing called the John Campbell Instructional Learning Cohort (JCILC).
The cohort is a grassroots movement by a group of teachers, led by Richards, who decided to take professional development into their own hands by coming up with a structure to benefit from observing one another. The tool of choice? Our recently developed Student Learning Protocol.
Richards was inspired after doing an observation a few years back: “It was an overwhelming learning experience for myself to be able to watch another classroom and then reflect back on my own teaching practices – and that really started the interest in observing and learning from each other.”
To start listening right away, just hit the play button:
We’ve been having some great conversations with people lately about our podcast series. Here’s what people are telling us: We Want More!
In the same way that we consistently hear teachers tell us how much they value having time to collaborate with their colleagues, it seems that most of you out there are eager to hear other schools tell their stories.
We’ll continue the series as long as we keep getting the kind of feedback that we’ve received so far, so if you enjoy hearing how other people have implemented PTL, please leave a comment or shoot us an email to let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
In Podcast #3, I talk to Joy Landsdowne of Glenwood Elementary School. We had a great discussion about how Glenwood got started with PTL, what they did to ensure universal buy-in, how they moved forward, and what kind of results that they’ve seen. This is a longer podcast at around 32 minutes long, but it’s one of our best yet, so we’ll hope you’ll find a corner of your day to listen along. If you’d rather have time to comb through the content slowly, you can download a transcript of the interview from our Resources Page.
(Don’t forget: Due to the size of the audio file, it may take a few moments to load.)
I got a chance to catch up with Jean via phone a few weeks ago to catch up with her about Richland’s implementation progress. We’ve created a 20 minute podcast of the interview so that you can listen to some of the great tips she gave me, and learn a little bit about how one district is using powerful teaching and learning to transform their culture and make huge improvements.
Check it out here or just hit the play button at the end of this post. (It may take a few moments to download for you – I promise it’s worth the wait!)
There’s no better way to reinforce new skills or initiatives than by walking the walk. Incorporating Powerful Teaching and Learning strategies into your staff meetings will not only make them immediately more effective and productive, it will also serve as a powerful model for teachers to see how the same tactics can be employed in the classroom.
Here are three quick ideas for how to do it:
Implementation matters. That’s clear.
The number one question that I hear from the educators, administrators and school leaders that I talk to is, “What are other people doing with Powerful Teaching and Learning strategies and how are they making it work?” At this point, everyone’s seen the research, read the reports and studied the evidence. It’s clear that there are effective ways to begin to raise achievement scores and close traditional and predicted gaps. The problem isn’t knowing what to do, it’s knowing how to do it.
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