National PTA President Otha Thornton discusses why his organization supports the Common Core, dispelling myths and sharing resources to help parents learn more and support successful implementation of the standards.
By Rich Bagin, APR, Executive Director of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA)
Years ago the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) offered a guidebook entitled Making and Marketing Your School as a School of Choice. This was even before the charter movement, open enrollment, vouchers, and the home schooling surge began nibbling at the enrollment of our public schools.
Even then, principals and superintendents saw the need to better identify and define the attributes of their schools. They realized that it was their job to make sure parents knew and understood the benefits and values that their schools could provide for their children and communities. They also realized it was their job to collaborate with parents groups and others to assess their strengths and weaknesses and then set an action plan to improve those areas that needed more attention. By coming together, they realized how their schools were working to improve and why the collaborative climate made their schools a school of choice in ...
The first step in creating a culture of change and innovation is stakeholder buy-in. In education, we often recognize the importance of teacher and student buy-in, but we forget about another critical stakeholder: The community, particularly parents.
What is the best way to get community buy-in for an education initiative? Communication. By communicating directly and honestly, educators can avoid community fears that can ultimately derail efforts to implement new teaching and learning practices.
I recently attended the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ (NASSP) annual conference, where I learned from many principals who have created cultures of innovation. I was particularly impressed by the 2013 NASSP Digital Principals – Dwight Carter (Gahanna Lincoln High School, Gahanna, OH), Ryan Imbriale* (Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Baltimore, MD), and Carrie Jackson (Timberview Middle School, Fort Worth, TX). ...
New technologies are dramatically changing how people learn. Unfortunately, many schools are moving far too slowly to adopt them, with classrooms today organized in much the same way they were in the 1950s. We in public education must do a better job incorporating new technologies into teaching and learning to prepare students for success in the changing world that awaits them.
But what does it look like when schools step into the digital age? And what can school leaders do to ensure students are learning in new ways?
We recently had the opportunity to hear about these issues from an expert, Ryan Imbriale, Principal of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in Baltimore, one of NASSP’s 2013 Digital Principals and a PDK 2013 Emerging Leader. In an e-mail interview, he shared his thoughts on how school leaders can promote digital learning and the challenges they face in doing so, as well as specific examples of what it looks like in his building.
Public School Insights (PSI): Before we discuss your school in particular, I want to ask a couple overarching questions. You were recently named one of NASSP’s 2013 Digital Principals. What exactly is a “digital principal”?
Imbriale: Well, a digital principal is actually real – it’s not some sort of virtual person. That’s been the running joke at my school since my staff found out I won the award. The award is designed to recognize principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership with new technologies.
PSI: In general, what is the role of a school leader in digital learning?
Imbriale: The school leader must be willing to fostering an environment of innovation, exploration, experimentation, and trial and error. When a school’s culture is student-centered and driven by a collaborative spirit it’s really amazing what can be accomplished. But I will also say that the leader must also be a user. It’s impossible to get buy-in if you are not modeling effective use. I try hard to continually model my own personal and professional use of technology, whether it’s social media or flipping professional development.
PSI: Now tell me about your school. What is your vision for it?
Imbriale: My vision for Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts is to provide students with quality comprehensive educational experiences that enable them to develop the productive habits of life-long learners. Our students will be able to think critically and creatively, learn independently and in collaboration with others, value ethical behavior, and develop skills needed to function in a technologically changing and ...
By Nora Howley, Manager of Programs, NEA Health Information Network
March and April bring spring break for millions of students. Summer break is just around the corner. And for too many students, vacation may mean easy access to their parent’s medicine cabinet. From cough syrup to pain killers, too many young people are able to access prescription and non-prescription drugs.
Students might seek to emulate media stars by ingesting a “sizzurp’ (a mixture of codeine cough syrup, fruit flavored soda, and a jolly rancher). Or they may decide to try their parent’s painkillers. Or they may seek out a classmate’s ADHD drug. And they may find themselves in the hospital with a seizure or an overdose.
The 2012 Monitoring the Future study found that 21.2% of high school seniors reported that they had improperly used a prescription drug. So while most young people are making the right choices, too many are putting themselves at risk. ...
By William D. Waidelich, Ed.D., Executive Director of the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
It wasn't that long ago. Students sat in rows and watched, glassy-eyed, as the teacher lectured in front of class. Lectures were very common in teaching and learning. In those days, student success was measured by homework turned in on time, neatly penned; posters created with markers and colorful snippets from magazines; and book reports teachers could use to measure if a student actually read the book.
Today's modern educators know better. Middle grades students can be found addressing the city council, building a prototype city that generates its own electricity, developing a smart phone app, creating a marketing plan for a local business, and writing or illustrating a self-published book. Students who are engaged in their own learning are productive, motivated, and ...
The following blog post is from Samantha Huffman and was written in response to a recent article about a special needs student who was bound with duct tape during school.
Samantha is a former National Youth Activation Committee member and current senior, studying Elementary Education at Hanover College. Samantha has been a student leader in Project UNIFY for many years.
I recently went to a conference where a young man with cerebral palsy kept bringing up how we needed to focus on students with disabilities being tied down to chairs or restrained and/or harmed in some other way by educators. I kept thinking to myself how this wasn’t important because this would never be allowed to happen in a school in today’s society. I’m a senior Elementary Education major and never once in my four years of classes have we addressed the idea of restraining students because that’s just plain wrong, isn’t it? Well, apparently I was living in some kind of dream world and this young man at the conference was living in the real world. ...
In the work that the Learning First Alliance (LFA) has undertaken over the past months in gathering data on public attitudes and perceptions of public education, one common assumption among the general public becomes clear:
- Student success and teacher effectiveness are related to a single quality - caring
So, the public and educators alike believe that if teachers care about their students and the students with whom they work believe their teacher cares about them as individuals, the likelihood of learning taking place is high. This doesn’t imply that subject level knowledge and pedagogical skill aren’t important, it just states that those two characteristics don’t work effectively if the educator doesn’t care about the students he or she is working with. ...
By Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
In July, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) held its first national conference in nearly a decade to remind educators and community leaders of the dire circumstances faced by some of our nation's students. The conference challenged all leaders to “pursue justice for children with urgency and persistence.”
Although the challenges public education faces -- fiscally, economically, politically, and socially -- are complex, there are discrete solutions that we can leverage right now to transform learning.
- Too many of our children are uninsured and, thus, lack access to healthcare.
- Too many of our children lack access to nutritious foods.
- Too many of our children are not college-ready.
Research has demonstrated clearly that health and learning are linked (see Charles Basch’s Healthier Students are Better Learners for incredible detail on the subject). Furthermore, we know that these issues are more acute in our most vulnerable populations: students living in low-income, urban, rural, or ...
A new study that tracks the long-term effects of bullying suggests that intervention efforts are well worth attention and investment. While some consider bullying to be a rite of passage - it is certainly a common occurrence – the behavior adversely affects student learning and can account for higher rates of absenteeism. Nationally, 160,000 students miss school on a daily basis due to a fear of being bullied or attacked. ...
By Steve Berlin, Senior Communications Manager of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
The American education system — inasmuch as it's actually a system — is not failing. For readers stunned by a phrase not often seen in print these days, I repeat: The U.S. education system is not failing. I know that's not a popular position these days, but it is the right one. There are indeed problems that need addressing, but there is significant cognitive dissonance in how the public views K-12 education.
So, why do I say our schools as a whole are succeeding? Well, why not start with what is meant by "failing?" The term is a relic that defines education policy and growth as all-or-nothing propositions. It can be easily traced to 1983's A Nation at Risk, which made "failing schools" a part of the American vernacular. But it was truly burned into headlines and our collective consciousness with the 2001 iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind — a law that uses all stick and no carrot as inducements for improvement, usually with the "failing" schools and districts that were struggling in the first place.
Worse, NCLB pointed to 2014 as the deadline for 100 percent proficiency. If schools, districts and states can't meet that deadline, well, they have failed. Doesn't matter that people are working hard to draft new policies and legislation, and devising new and ...
A VISION FOR GREAT SCHOOLS
On this website, educators, parents and policymakers from coast to coast are sharing what's already working in public schools--and sparking a national conversation about how to make it work for children in every school. Join the conversation!