Articles of Interest
Ottawa schools to continue contract with Boys Town
Ottawa Herald Online | By John Hawks | Posted January 19, 2019
“It is a system that gives teachers some tools to address classroom management and behaviors that may happen in their class,” said Ryan Cobbs, USD 290 superintendent. “With this, we are managing our classrooms better than we have ever done before because our teachers have the tools to address the issues that they are seeing in their classrooms with today’s kids.”Read more...
Behavior Referrals Plummeted While Attendance Skyrocketed in This District. Here’s Why …
When a high school student at New Britain Transitional Center deliberately destroyed his social studies textbook, staff members were angry and frustrated. Textbooks, after all, cost a lot of money, and this incident was not the first time this student had lost his temper. But rather than kicking him out of school, staff tried an alternative to suspension.Read more...
Building a Positive School Culture: How One School Transformed From Violence to Haven
By Jennifer L.W. Fink
Christian Fenger High School had a bad reputation. Located on the south side of Chicago in a neighborhood known for crime, poverty and violence, Fenger had long been a less-than-ideal educational environment. But when 16-year-old honors student Derrion Albert was beaten and murdered in 2009 while walking home from school, Fenger catapulted into the national news. The school was in crisis, and everyone—from politicians down to neighborhood activists— agreed something had to change.Read more...
Irving Middle School Wins 2018 Inspire School Award
Originally Published in the Lincoln Journal Star
Ben was a high-trauma child. He came to Irving Middle School as a sixth-grader scared of school and not trusting adults. His behavior kept him out of the classroom more than he was in it. Four years ago, a student like Ben might have faced suspension or expulsion, and his future success would have been questionable. But students like Ben have been able to assimilate and become productive members of their school community at Lincoln Public Schools, including Irving Middle School.Read more...
Study: Behavior in kindergarten linked to adult success
Children who were helpful and shared in kindergarten were more likely to have graduated college and have a full-time job at age 25. The children who had problems resolving conflicts, sharing, cooperating and listening as kindergartners were less likely to have finished high school and college, and were more likely to have substance abuse problems and run-ins with the law.Read more...
Reaching Every Student
By Cherly Mizerny
William Glasser said, “Effective teaching may be the hardest job there is.” I tend to agree with him. How else can we explain the sheer volume of books, websites, blogs, courses and consulting firms expressly devoted to the art and science of teaching? In fact, one of the things I am most proud of about my chosen profession is that teachers, as a whole, are already doing a pretty great job, yet most of us explore how to do even better.
One of the ways in which many teachers would like to improve is in their ability to reach and motivate all of their students. While it’s true that there are those who seem to be natural-born teachers, it is possible to learn some of their secrets to keep every student in your classroom engaged and invested in their learning. What do these “naturals” have in common?Read more...
Teaching Empathy: Turning a Lesson Plan into a Life Skill
By Joe Hirsch
Worried about the shrinking presence of empathy in our schools? I know how you feel. With classrooms operating more like grade factories, it's hard to make the case for school-driven empathy. Faced with an endless cycle of memorize, drill, spit back and test, teachers have become the wardens of a new educational reality that pits the head against the heart. Even if educators manage to skate past the dizzying array of standards and value-added evaluations, they must still contend with this fundamental divide: academic rigor, with its unflinching emphasis on measurable success, seems strangely at odds with emotional intelligence, a soufflé of moods and feelings. Which leaves many to wonder -- can empathy feel its way back into the classroom?Read more...
The Importance of Teaching Through Relationships
By Stacey Goodman
How do we teach through relationships? What does that even mean? That was my response when I began working at a school that holds teaching through relationships as a core value. Teaching through relationships posits that teachers who have knowledge about their students will be better able to teach them. It is a fundamental idea that most progressive educators have long embraced.Read more...
5 Ways Schools Can Build Positive Relationships With Parents
By Dana Truby
Has this happened to you? Last spring, the Philadelphia school where Sarah is a first-year science teacher put weeks of planning into a science night for students and their families, only to have fewer than 20 parents attend the event.
"We had a shark dissection. Really they're dogfish, but the kids get so excited. We had kids making marshmallow and toothpick structures and frozen popcorn. It was awesome. But no one came."
So why didn't parents show up? "A couple of moms told me, 'The school says they want us to come, but they don't act like it,'" Sarah admitted as one reason.Read more...
Ways to Build Positive School Culture Now
By Dana Truby
Life is about relationships. Building a positive environment in individual classrooms and throughout your whole school is too. It takes commitment and consistency from the whole team—administrators, teachers and support staff. But you can make it happen, even in the most challenging school environments.
Here are eight guidelines for improving your school culture based on the Boys Town educational model, which has helped hundreds of troubled schools turn their school culture around.Read more...
The Long-Term Economic Benefits of Social and Emotional Learning
The past two decades have brought clear progress and a stronger empirical understanding to the fields of school-based prevention and the broader field of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) (Greenberg et al., 2003). There are now a considerable number of evidence-based classroom and family-based curricula that have been shown to reduce adverse mental health symptoms, substance use, and associated risk factors.Read more...
Developing Social Emotional Competencies Intentionally
"Social emotional competencies need to be developed much in the same way academic competencies are developed-through instruction, and if necessary through correction and intervention."Read more from our interview with District Administration Magazine.
Building Reading Skills Step by Step
Though she was resistant, I persuaded Anna to enter Reading Is FAME, the reading program our district had adopted. Because of the Reading Is FAME program, five months into the program Anna had been transformed from a self-proclaimed nonreader to a Borders-gift-card-toting book lover.
Reading is FAME is now Expedition LiteracyClick here to read "Building Reading Skills Step by Step."