What Have We Learned from APPR?

APPR-ArtThe end-of-the-year in schools in New York State has a whole new meaning now that the new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans are in place. In addition to wrapping up the school year, administrators are preparing summative evaluation reports, calculating SLOs and LATs, and conducting end-of-the-year meetings with teachers. The usual administrator’s mantra, “It all gets done,” is being repeated more frequently and louder than ever before.

It’s a good time to take Continue reading

Take Care of Yourself Today


TraumaRecently, I participated in a webinar on Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. As the webinar progressed, the conversation shifted from the trauma that students have experienced in their lives, to the trauma that teachers working with aggressive youth face daily. While children and families are heavily impacted by trauma, so can be educators.  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (www.NCTSN.org) states that any professional (including educators) who works directly with traumatized youth is vulnerable to the effects of trauma.  This is referred to as Continue reading

Historical Thinking ≠ That Was Then and This Is Now

It’s June, in case you hadn’t noticed, and everyone I know is in end-of-the-school-year mode – finishing assessments, scoring, grading, writing reports, cleaning, organizing, etc.  Somewhere in all of the June busy-ness, take a few minutes to reflect on the past year and marvel at what you have accomplished: teaching and guiding students, learning new standards and assessments and maintaining relationships with students and colleagues.  No small feat, my friends!  Job well done!

1A couple of weeks ago, I was able to go on a three day field experience to New York City with 27 teachers as part of this year’s Teaching American History grant.  We packed a lot of historical thinking into those three days, along with numerous lessons in how to maneuver around Manhattan with 28 people and a big green bus in 95 degree heat!  Let’s just say, it wasn’t easy, but we made it work.  Continue reading

Summer Rest . . . Not a Waste of Time

BurnoutAs the school year winds down, I thought I’d take this opportunity to focus on the rest and relaxation many of us might be craving during our time off.  (Of course I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is on a teacher schedule, but I’m hoping that the pace of life even for administrators, counselors, and others who work during July and August will be a bit more easy-going). It seems to me that this has been a particularly stressful year for those of us who work in schools, with additional emphasis on Continue reading

Tiering the Task?

artThere seems to be a great deal of attention given to discussing and providing interventions for students who are not achieving as expected. Although I believe that targeted interventions are a necessary step in supporting student achievement, interventions come after the task has been performed. I wonder what would happen to student achievement and the amount of interventions needed, if our focus went to our lesson planning for daily instruction with a lens of “tiering the task”? Continue reading

Data Dilemma

“Data – it is such a dilemma” – E. Holcomb

I have this quote hanging in my office.  I have displayed this quote because I believe data needs to drive our work; yet we can be starved for data, or inundated with data, or wonder about the quality of the data. For so many of us in the education world there seems to be so much data and so much to do that it can overwhelm us.

Organizing Professional Development Work:

Combining essential questions from Adaptive Schools and DuFours’ work with Professional Learning Communities, our department recently asked ourselves:

Thank You!

ThanksAs another school year comes to a close, we’d like to thank everyone who successfully fostered an engaging learning environment for all at-risk literacy students and those who  invested in building capacity for change.  This year’s layers of professional development for teachers included, but were not limited to, whole-group learning sessions, small-group cluster sessions, and one-to-one feedback sessions.  Every learning session was facilitated by a reading interventionist of the OCM’s Literacy Department.   Continue reading

Science and Technology…?

ScienceQuizThe public’s knowledge of science and technology varies across a range of questions on current topics and basic scientific concepts, according to a new quiz by Pew and Smithsonian magazine.  The quiz is part of a nationwide survey, conducted March 7-10 among 1,006 adults, which also probed opinions and perceptions about science and math in education. The survey was conducted with Smithsonian magazine for an edition focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.  Continue reading

You-Do: Practice & Application (SIOP Component #6)

Science_ProjectPerhaps you remember learning about the “I-do, we-do, you-do” cycle of instruction. Although it is known by many names, it is not a novel idea that at some point a teacher need to stand aside and let students practice and apply their new knowledge and understanding, with only as much guidance and support as they require.  When teaching language through content, there are a few features of practice and application that can maximize English Language Learners’ gains in both. Continue reading