Lessons to Learn

Now_WhatThere were consequences to our actions. There are lessons to learn.

What should we be doing while we wait until June to receive the regulations that will guide the implementation of the new law about APPR? While we do know some things about the changes, we don’t yet know enough to start the construction of a new APPR system. What should we do in the meantime? Well, there are a couple of lessons that we should learn. Continue reading

The Health of Our Students: Front Page News

I got a call from the Post-Standard a few days ago. The news writer wanted me to comment on why the rates of overweight and obesity among Onondaga County students varied so dramatically—particularly between two districts. Here’s the back story…..

On Monday, April 6th, Governor Cuomo kicked off National Public Health Week by announcing his statewide educational campaign to reduce obesity. In collaboration, New York’s acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, launched a week-long, statewide tour to emphasize the importance of leading an active, healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition. His visit to Syracuse on April 7th included a stop at the Southwest Community Center where he spoke about the connection between screen time and obesity. Dr. Zucker stated the obvious— Continue reading

How Social Media is Transforming the Educational Landscape

Social Media. It seems to be at the center of so many things these days. With a plethora of options out there including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube and more, it can be confusing to navigate the internet jargon consisting of tweets, posts, likes, shares, etc and know exactly which forum to settle on to meet your needs. Given this, many of those who are new to the social media circuit often throw in the towel early as it can feel overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Even those who have a relatively good grasp on things, can find it taxing to keep pace with ever changing technology and trends. There is a core group of educators however, including principals that are looking to social media to capitalize on increased communication with staff and parents, share educational information with others in the field and attempt to positively impact school culture through connectedness. Continue reading

Teaching Social Studies = Layers (of Coquina)

Coquina, if you don’t know, is a sedimentary rock formed from shells and it is used in a lot of the buildings in St. Augustine, Florida, most notably the Castillo de San Marcos, the fort built on the site of the original Spanish garrison established in 1565. Coquina is very light and porous, made up of horizontal layers. Even though these crumbly layers can be easily chiseled apart, the thick coquina walls of the fortress were able to absorb or deflect projectiles and have lasted a surprisingly long time. Why the trivia lesson on coquina? I recently had the privilege of attending the National Council for History Education Conference in St. Augustine, Florida, a small city full of layers, of coquina and of history. It started me thinking about how attending a conference, or visiting a new place is full of layers. Continue reading



Over the past 10 months we have had a team from OCM BOCES Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department working with five component districts on assessment. Last summer we started with district teams conducting an assessment audit- looking to see what systems, procedures, type and use of assessments were in place. This fall, OCM BOCES was awarded a Teaching is the Core grant to enable teams to act on needs identified through the audit process.  Baldwinsville, Cortland, Liverpool, North Syracuse and West Genesee have assessment design teams learning about assessment design, including performance assessment design and scoring, piloting and revising their work. Continue reading

Making Connections – All Over the Place

I remember fondly the day, more than 30 years ago, when the principal of the middle school in which I taught suggested that we offer a unique experience to our students and connect mathematics and science into a “magnet” course. Since we were living in a world of separate subjects, it seemed to be a stretch from what we knew. With little to go on – there was no internet that we could access to see if there were models out there – we began to seek out the places where mathematics and science informed the world. And we found that there were places to show the connections not only between those two subjects, but also among other real contexts. Continue reading

The Responsive Classroom® Continues to Evolve and Change

“If you do not change, you can become extinct” is a quote from Spencer Johnson’s 1998 bestselling book Who Moved My Cheese?. In this book, Johnson uses a metaphor of four mice in a maze and how they all respond differently to the moving of the predictable placement of their cheese. This book helps readers learn what Johnson calls “The Handwriting on the Wall” regarding “change” in life, work and family:
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