Monday, June 4, 2018

Safe & Secure Environments For Students

It's vitally important in today's learning environments for learners to feel safe and secure if we wish to maximize learning potentials and outcomes. Educators at all levels play integral and key parts in ensuring the learning environments promote and sustain safe and secure practices at all times. Preventing violent actions is one component of ensuring safety however, close attention also needs to be given to social and emotional realms in support of strong mental health among all learners.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Learning Environment Factors

In authentic learning environments there exist many factors which can influence learning on a variety of levels. The factors increase dramatically when moving from individual environments to collaborative learning environments due to the needs of learners involved. Understanding the varieties of factors and being aware of them can dramatically increase the effectiveness of learning facilitators as they seek to structure the learning environments they lead in. The list of factors impacting learning environments can be exhaustive so I've chose two factors to focus on here as I see them impacting not only the learning environments I engage in, but also many of the learning environments I seek to impact as a learning facilitator.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

School-wide Expectations For Students & Staff

Spending a significant amount of time in education for more than a decade has provided a wide range of experiences with various systems that establish school-wide expectations for students and staff. PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Systems) is a common implementation being seeing in schools across the country. PBIS establishes clear expectations and routines for supporting students and staff with creating effective relationships and procedures to ensure optimal learning environments. Although PBIS has been successful in a variety of learning environments, there are situations in which PBIS has failed to reach effectiveness in supporting student needs in schools I've worked in/with. These situations may be due to a number of factors including lack of consistent implementation, lack of student involvement in the development of action plans or growth steps, and the failure to effectively teach or model desired behaviors. With the successful implementation in some environments and failure in others, I've sought out additional models to support school-wide expectations with success.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Conflict Management & Resolution

Conflict management and resolution needs to be a vital skill in any leader's tool bag. Often times many issues can be avoided as leaders seek to identify problems early and work toward respectful resolutions to meet the needs of all parties involved. As collaboration takes place to ensure all voices are heard and needs are met as much as possible, conflicts within professional environments can be kept to a minimum.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Budgeting Challenges

Interviewing the person primarily responsible for the budget in the school where I'm doing my
internship as a leader provided interesting insights into the challenges faced on an annual basis. The budget is often provided to the school in the early spring and consists of pre-determined amounts by the district. The school is then responsible for itemizing out the budget by making decisions around where the funds will be allocated to have the greatest impacts.

Monday, April 30, 2018

District Budgeting Processes

The current district I work in has an extensive budgeting process focused on site-based budgeting. As each school has a variety of programs and support services for the learners they serve, schools can be given increased autonomies through SBB to make decisions about the services and programs they offer to best meet the needs of their learners.
(SBB). "The key to a successful SBB process is to let staff closest to the instructional setting set priorities and allocate funds" (Shilling & Tomal, 2013, p.49). Leveraging SBB in the district allows school leaders to determine how their specific sites need to use the funds to provide necessary services for their learners. The SBB designations to each school are based on student enrollment numbers for each school and a preset amount is provided for each student attending a school.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Adequacy, Equity & Equality in Education

Addressing these three terms in education can often be extremely difficult due to the many different components involved in developing and sustaining successful learning environments and institutions. Adequacy can be viewed in terms of "what resources are adequate to make [individual competency] a possibility for every child?" (Shilling & Tomal, 2013, p.4). Considering this definition of adequacy, it can be determined that each and every school has a right to be provided necessary resources which can promote and provide educational opportunities for every learner. The primary obstacle then becomes what is considered "adequate" for each school and what is considered adequate for learners in those schools? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Administrative Blogging For Communication

Working towards administrative licensure in educational leadership has provided me the opportunity to reflect on how school leaders can use blogging as a communication tool for their school communities. I've had a fairly broad experience with blogging over the past few years in a variety of contexts and am looking forward to spending more time back on my own blog. Finding the time to blog can be challenging given the amount of roles and responsibilities educators need to maintain on a daily basis. One of the most important components of successful blogging is finding a consistent time frame in which to construct and share thinking and learning regularly.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shifting The Pedagogical Focus

In a recent article published on The Guardian "In an age of robots, schools are teaching our children to be redundant" by George Monbiot, I was especially impacted by the statement, "At present we are stuck with the social engineering of an industrial workforce in a post-industrial era." The significant impact on me here is the accuracy with which this statement is characterized in our schools on a daily basis. As technology and innovation continues to grow at unprecedented rates, I am consistently experiencing students being taught through 19th century methods and structures. Students continue to sit in rows, working on paper worksheets (or digital worksheets), all completing the exact same assignments, and turning them in for a teacher to grade/give feedback to prepare for testing of rote memorization and recall skills.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Developing Thinkers


      I recently came across an article from the Harvard Ed Magazine titled Bored Out of Their Minds by Zachary Jason.  It's an interesting read and one I hope it's widely circulated in a quick manner.  In short, the article claims students are bored out of their minds in today's classrooms for four main reasons:

  1. An escalating emphasis on standardized tests
  2. The novelty of school itself fades with each grade
  3. Lack of motivation
  4. The transition from tactile and creative to cerebral and regimented