As Expected

The real story about the NYS 3-8 Assessment results went relatively untold in the media. While most of the media used terms like plunge, drop like a rock, plummet, and other dramatic terms, the more accurate descriptions should have been terms like ho-hum, same old story, and status quo. What is the real story about student achievement?

We don’t need the NYS 3-8 assessment to tell us about student achievement. As was the case with the previous assessments, almost all of the assessment results for schools and districts can largely be explained by their socioeconomic status.

When you compare the mean scale scores on the 3-8 assessment with the free and reduced lunch rate of districts you find startling high, negative correlations. Here are the correlations I found:


These data show that most of the variation in scores can be explained by Continue reading

Responsive Classroom® and the New York Teaching Standard 1

A blog series: Part 1 of 7

Standard 1: Knowledge of Students and Student Learning

arrowsLast school year I ran a monthly “OCM BOCES – Responsive Classroom” blog series focusing on the “7 Guiding Principles of the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning”. For the new school year I have decided to do the same monthly series focusing on how the application of the 10 teaching practices of Responsive Classroom will foster the positive community, engaging academics and effective management needed to reach the 7 New York State teaching standards. Continue reading

Historical Thinking = Curiosity and Inquiry

encI have to admit that I read the encyclopedia for fun when I was growing up.  I must note that my growing-up years predate the internet by several decades, so the encyclopedia was the norm at the time.  Reading encyclopedias for fun probably wasn’t.  I would choose a volume of the Golden Book Encyclopedia at random, open to a page and start reading whatever looked interesting.  Let’s say I was reading this piece in Volume 4 (Chalk to Czechoslovakia) about the “Confederate States”, and I arrived at the end of the article to find this: Continue reading

Embracing Healthy Foods in Schools

As another school year begins there has been increased media attention on school lunches and how some people are not happy with them.  The revised nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which began last year, include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables while reducing the sodium and empty calories in meals for our youth.  There are a lot of anecdotal stories which say that kids don’t like the new meals and are going hungry because of them.  Continue reading


My niece and nephew as they head off to their first day of pre-school.  They love it!

My niece and nephew as they head off to their first day of pre-school. They love it!

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year!  It’s hard to believe that summer is over and a new school year is already upon us.  I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love the beginning of a new school year.  It’s crisp, it’s fresh and I honestly can’t get enough of the “first day of school” pictures.

But the beginning of a new school year is always an adjustment.  It’s simultaneously an ending and a beginning.  It’s both exhausting and exciting.  And whether you’re a brand new teacher, a returning teacher, an administrator, a support service provider, a professional developer, a parent or a student, the beginning of this new school year has us all dealing with one constant:  CHANGE.    (The weather certainly is changing.  It was 44 degrees when I left for work this morning!) Continue reading

Driving Question: Can the Use of Project-Based Learning Take Teachers from “Effective” to “Highly Effective”?

Common Core GraphicRecently I was looking over the Lead Evaluator resources from a training we provide here at OCM BOCES and was struck by a few things in regard to the work I do with PBL.

As I read through the training materials, I discovered what makes a teacher “Effective” is that they “Show evidence of thorough knowledge of all aspects of the profession.  Students are engaged in learning.  This is successful, accomplished, professional, and effective teaching.” (Lead Evaluator PPT Day1, 2013). Continue reading

First & Last Days…

This quote came across my facebook page last week and struck a cord with me.  We typically mark first days with memorabilia and photos.  For example, the photos that accompany first day of kindergarten and in my home this year, the first day of high school.  Likewise, we may document the last days whether through graduation ceremonies or another photo of the last day of school each year.  However, it is what comes in the middle that makes the long- lasting memories and growth.   Yet, typically we don’t document the routine or the normal daily little moments that make up a school year.  However, it may be said that it is the routine; the middle that is critical.  I think what resounded with me in this quote was that the middle is the building of the classroom community- it starts on the first day and never stops.  Whether thinking about adult learners or our students in schools, it is the middle that can be daunting. Continue reading

I love September

imageDon’t get me wrong:  I could use another summer day.  But, where summer is filled with unstructured sunny days, September is delineated with schedules, timelines, and the academic calendar.  For me, it is filled with excitement, anticipation, and an opportunity to begin anew.  This is my time to affect change – meaningful change.

Just like making New Year’s resolutions, I use this time to reflect on the past and organize my thoughts on the coming year.  I would like to share some of my school year resolutions. Continue reading

Good Choices

NewAndImprovedChoosing textbooks and series has always been an important decision. Now, as ELA and math are changing everywhere, all at once, everyone is considering a big purchase. Teachers are clamoring for resources to support the Common Core. Publishers are employing a full court press with new and re-labeled materials. New York State Education Department is purchasing curriculum modules that districts can choose to use. Yikes! The pressure is on to make decisions! That means it is more important than ever to employ a careful, deliberate process. Continue reading