Saturday, August 13, 2011

Improving Teacher Morale

Hello to all of my administrator colleagues,

I am writing this blog to ask for ideas of how you go about boosting teacher morale in your buildings and how you navigate all of unexpected nonsense to follow through with it from September to June or whenever your school year begins and ends.  My administrative team has struggled with this in recent years.  We start each year to recognize our teachers and make them feel important and that the things they do are worthwhile.  I have gone as far as always telling my teachers "thank you" for anything that I have asked of them that was above and beyond their duty.  We started the teacher of the month recognition last year but only did it for a couple of months and wasn't able to follow through because of so much nonsense that takes place throughout the year.  I am looking at other schools and their criteria for teacher of the month, and how they go about maintaining effective teacher morale; however, I would appreciate any feedback that you can give me to pass along to my team.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Data Teams

At our administrators retreat this week we discussed data teams.  We were given a very good book to read and discuss.  DATA TEAMS: THE BIG PICTURE.  This is an awesome book.  I am a big data person and fully believe decision should be made with sound facts and reasoning.  This book goes a long way in simplifying the structure and process of utilizing data to drive instruction and decision making.  I recommend this book to any administator, I may fully change the way you look at making decisions; maybe not.  The schools represented in this book have made great strides in student achievement since implementing DATA TEAMS.  The book spells out the roles and repsonsibility of building leadership to support, not manage data teams in the schools.  Go ahead and check this book out.  Well worth the read.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

N.J. Board of Ed votes to open superintendent positions to non-educators |

N.J. Board of Ed votes to open superintendent positions to non-educators |

Well, here we go NJ educators. The manager of 7-11 is now going to run our district. Chris Cristie has gotten away with this one. He is out of his mind. You have to read the article to understand the true insanity of it all. Now anyone with a Bachelor's degree can be a school superintendent in a low performing/ failing district. Forget about spending countless hours and dollars in a masters program to understand the organizational side of the superintendent. Anyone with a bachelors degree and a healthy political connection or contribution will be in. I am appalled. Each time I read an article about Christie referring to education as a business I cringe. It is pure insanity. For starters, the main constituent of education is not a constant, the child), especially in the urban district. Urban kids go through so much from the time they leave school to the time the get back in the morning. I can't tell you how many students I give high fives to one day and the next day suspending them for cursing out a teacher. His feeling is that schools should be treated as a business, "that the end result is a business product, a student graduating into the business community" I agree that our products are the children, however, there are too many uncontrollable circumstances that are dealt with on a daily basis that hinder a child's education, especially the urban child.

Now what we don't see is this happening in the well do do districts. Go figure. Wake up New Jersey, before it's too late. Pretty school you will be seeing signs that read: "'Proctor and Gamble privatized schools system' our motto: Children are a business, not our business".

Friday, July 8, 2011

The End of Cursive? - ABC News

The End of Cursive? - ABC News

Ladies and gentlemen, Please take some time and read this article. If you have any conscience at all regarding your son/daughter, niece/nephew, grandchild's education please read this article. There are actually school districts out there who are declining to continue instituting cursive writing in schools. I find this action absurd. Cursive handwriting means so much to the development of the whole child, just read the article. Cursive teachers us so much more than just writing at a more progressive pace. It teachers us patience, critical thinking skills, forces us to shape what we say. The article makes a good point regarding children's accessibility to historical documents that are written in cursive. If you don't learn how to write it, how do you learn how to read it. I commented on "ThePrincipalspage" blog today that I feel as if today's society is changing from a choo choo train to a bullet train. I am all for technology, you should see my house, I am a technophile. However, I still see the value in cursive writing and I hope all of my parents out there see it as well. Kids don't have to get rid of cursive writing to accommodate technology, there is technology all around us. It is innate, why not just focus on teaching keyboarding skills just as typewriting was taught when I was a young tot. Sometimes we need to slow down.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No child left behind, How about no dentist left behind

Hello Everyone,

I was given this article by a colleague and I thought I would bust a gut laughing but at the same time was thrilled to see this article.  If you have been following the whole "no child left behind act" and the fact that politicians want to tie teacher compensation to student test data, you will see the relationship in this article.  I do not agree with tying teacher performance to student test scores, simply because you do not have a controlled population.  There are so many dynamics that are at play with students that it would be an unfair practice.

So, check out this article and you take a stand for you local teaching community.

Share you thoughts. Click this link for the article: NO Dentist Left Behind

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Vice Principal's World

Hello everyone,

I used to make fun of my vice principal when I was in high school, I know it wasn't nice but we did.  Never in my life did I ever think I would wind up in education, yet alone, be an administrator.  I don't know what I was thinking.  Now I am getting payback for all those times I made fun of my vice principal in high school.   I work in an urban district, punishment #1 and there is never a dull or mediocre day.  Punishment #2 is that I work in a middle school setting, grades 8 and 9.  What was I thinking? There is not a day that goes by when maximum decibel levels of my eardrums are not tested.  I wouldn't mind so much if the students were far away and screaming at each other.  No they stand 2 feet from each other and scream and yell at each other, standing right next to me (now I know why they don't do well in class, the teacher doesn't scream).  It is so bad, when I get in my car I immediately turn off the radio, which is tuned to NPR from the morning; now how bad is that.  I have to turn off NPR.

Needless to say, I will be wearing hearing aids by the time I am 40.  Well, I guess that is what I get for making fun of my assistant principal in high school.