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Each generation has a personality, characteristics and preferences that define their behavior and their views of the world. Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, are no different. Their arrival in the professional world has significant implications for the workplace, across sectors but including – and perhaps especially – education.

The October issue of Learning Forward’s JSD features “Boomers and Millennials: Vive La Difference,” an article by Suzette Lovely that examines ways to blend different generational styles in the learning environment. The article poses five suggestions for creating a generationally friendly culture. They pay homage to the distinct differences between generations in the same workplace. What’s more, they aim to foster a more collaborative learning environment, helping ensure that an older, more experienced generation of teachers can pass on their knowledge to a new energetic teaching force. This new generation of professionals, in turn, must feel embraced by their older colleagues and respected for their ideas, innovation and energy. ...

By Nora L. Howley, Manager of Programs, NEA Health Information Network 

The fourth-grade class at Shadyside Elementary is having a birthday party. Selena just ate a cookie brought into the class by parent of one of her classmates.  All of a sudden she notices a rash and gives on her arms. She begins to feel short of breath, so she lets Pam the Paraeducator know that something is wrong  

Next week is Halloween. For many classrooms, it is the first celebration of the year.  But for approximately six million children in the United States who have one or more food allergies, this party could be a life-threatening experience. Is your school ready? 

Food allergies are abnormal immune responses.  In a person with a food allergy, the immune system mistakenly responds to a food as if it were harmful. Sometimes these reactions are life-threatening.  While many foods can trigger an allergic reaction, eight foods are responsible for 90% of reactions. 

So what should school leaders and staff do to be prepared for food allergy reactions? 

First, managing and preventing food allergies requires a team approach.  It involves all school staff, parents/guardians, health care providers, and students themselves.  It involves ...

Toppenish High School, in south central Washington State, is a rural high-poverty school with 99% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch and a 95% minority student body. The community’s economy rests primarily on agriculture and tourism, two sectors suffering from the recent downturn.

Schools with such profiles in such communities are often ones that grapple with inadequate funding, find student groups struggling on standardized tests and have lower graduation and college-going rates. But proving that great school leadership is a key component of beating such odds, Principal Trevor Greene has set high goals and invested in key improvement strategies that are showing amazing results for Toppenish High School. He was recently recognized as MetLife/NASSP’s 2013 National High School Principal of the Year. ...

It seems everyone has an opinion about the teacher strike currently taking place in Chicago.  I do too, but it’s not about who’s to blame.  There’s plenty of that to go around.  What I do know is that regardless of how this strike ends, nobody will have won—

  • Students will have missed valuable learning time
  • Teachers and their union will be vilified for selfishness
  • The mayor and school board’s judgment will be suspect
  • Parents will be disappointed and frazzled with child care challenges
  • The President’s “reform” agenda will be questioned
  • The citizens of Chicago will be embarrassed and dismayed for their city

While I have followed the events as they’ve unfolded in Chicago between the mayor, the school board he appointed, and the teachers’ union, the facts I’m able to glean from public sources only raise questions in my mind as to what’s really going on.  I do know that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are under-resourced and that ...

As teachers prepare lessons and materials for the fast-approaching 2013 school year, it is an opportune time to highlight the value of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) as a tool for the nation’s educators. Learning Forward explains PLCs as:  “Learning communities [consisting of education professionals that] convene regularly and frequently during the workday to engage in collaborative professional learning to strengthen their practice and increase student results.” PLCs are not a new phenomenon, but they are gaining increased attention as the national conversation around education focuses on improving teacher quality through effective professional development. ...

A couple months ago, I wrote about a new assessment designed to address one of the ever-present challenges in teacher preparation: How do you ensure that those entering the classroom can teach effectively starting their first day as the teacher of record?

Now called the edTPA (formerly the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA)), the assessment was developed by Stanford University in collaboration with teachers and teacher educators (higher education involvement was coordinated by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education) to set a new standard for determining teacher readiness. It requires teacher candidates demonstrate the skills necessary to meet the daily challenges of classroom teaching, including but not limited to:

  • Planning around student learning standards
  • Designing instruction for students based on their specific needs
  • Teaching a series of lessons and adapting them to

Last week The New Teacher Project (TNTP) released a report entitled The Irreplaceables-Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America’s Urban Schools which continues the theme espoused in their previous report The Widget Effect, that public school districts treat all teachers the same and hold them to low expectations, particularly in urban districts, with disastrous results for students.  To be clear, neither I nor any of my colleagues in the Learning First Alliance (LFA) believe that low expectations for teacher performance should be tolerated nor do we believe that current practices and policies should be perpetuated if they contribute to supporting mediocrity in the classroom.  However, we do believe that most teachers who are appropriately supported by strong instructional leadership and collaborative school culture can improve their practice in a way that benefits the students they serve. 

Without digging into the data used to identify those teachers labeled “irreplaceable” and those labeled “struggling” in the report or the variables that exist within the districts and schools surveyed, I find the remedies to retaining the “irreplaceables” less than new or eye-opening.  The report’s findings essentially said that teachers whose students achieved well (i.e. irreplaceables) in well managed schools stayed in their jobs longer….big surprise.  The key supports provided by ...

At a recent reception in the august Mansfield Room in the the U.S. Capitol celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), Ron Thorpe, the new President and CEO of NBPTS, compared the Board certification that almost every physician earns in order to practice medicine to the status and importance of Board certification for teachers in K-12 classrooms.  He specifically asked if we’d be willing to send our child (or grandchild) into surgery if the physician doing the work wasn’t Board certified in his or her field.  Of course, none of us is willing to send a loved one into the operating theatre under the care of a surgeon who is not Board certified, so why should we be willing to send our children to schools with teachers who may or may not be skilled in their practice? 

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was established twenty-five years ago with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and under the leadership of then North Carolina governor, James Hunt.  The Carnegie Forum on Education and the ...

Policymakers, researchers, practitioners and the general public all seem to agree: Improving teacher quality is one of the most promising strategies for improving education outcomes in our nation. But to date, most policies on teacher quality revolve around teacher evaluation – identifying weak performers and helping them improve (and getting them out of the profession if they don’t). And most seem to rely on one of two tools for measuring quality: Observations by school administration (some of whom have little time for, and training in, this particular activity) or standardized test scores (which are of questionable value in assessing educator performance).

Often ignored in the teacher quality conversation are those first entering the classroom. How can we be confident that they are able to teach effectively starting their first day as a teacher of record?

Recognizing the need for a new standard for determining teacher readiness, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) and Stanford University have partnered to ...

It seems the one thing we can all agree on when discussing how to improve public schooling for all our children is that we need data to guide our approach to personalizing teaching and learning in the classroom, so that we can ensure student success and support teacher effectiveness.  Yet we persist in ignoring data that points to root causes that hamper the most talented school leaders in their work with children. 

At a recent meeting on Capitol Hill, researcher Sean Reardon from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) shared data showing the only developed country in the world with a larger percentage of children living in poverty than the United States is Mexico.  So the US is #2 in the developed world in children living in poverty (22 percent of our children live in poverty).  Dr. Reardon also ...

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