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Showing posts from February, 2009

Reading Apprenticeship

I attended the Reading Apprenticeship Winter Conference and was asked to be a part of the panel discussion at the conclusion of the conference. Here's a preview of the key points of my presentation:Reading Apprenticeship (RA) is much more than content area literacy.If you are "doing" RA you are addressing Inclusion, 21st Century Skills, Principles of Effective Instruction, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Secondary Response-to-Intervention, Questioning, High School Reform, Differentiated Instruction, Adolescent Literacy and more.To ensure RA gets the time and resources it needs, it is wise to have RA permeate as many school planning documents as possible e.g strategic plan, school improvement, Special Education Plan, LRE Plan, Professional Education Plan, Induction Plan, etc.....

Relationships Lead to Results

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Northeast Middle School, Bethlehem Area School District, serves 835 students in grades 6 through 8. The student population is very diverse including over 50% who are Black or Hispanic. The school has many challenges including 61% poverty rate and 18.4% special education rate. In 2004, the school did not make AYP in several categories including the IEP subgroup and received a Warning Status. the following year brought School Improvement I. The work of the administrators, teachers and students has paid off. This year the school is completely off school improvement...having Made Progress for two consecutive years. In addition, Northeast MS made the IU 20 list of schools that have demonstrated the highest level of academic growth during the 2007-08 school year based on their PVAAS data three times..... 8th grade reading and math and 6th grade math.I sat down with Assistant Principal, Leigh Rusnak, to learn the secret to their success and the answer might surprise you....RELATIONSHIPS! The…

Consolidation: Will Charter Schools Be Included

Governor Ed Rendell has proposed forming a commission to consolidate Pennsylvania's 500 school districts down to no more than 100. The purpose of the consolidation is to reduce property tax burden. The commission would have one year to develop two plans to reorganize Pennsylvania's schools to be voted on by the legislature. If the General Assembly votes down both plans, authority would be given to the state board to reduce the number of school districts. Click here to see the fact sheet distributed by the state.My question is will the 127 charter schools be included in this consolidation effort to reduce administrative costs? Most charter schools serve a smaller student body and still have the same administrative positions as public schools. According to our local paper one charter school serving 440 students had a CEO making $5,000 dollars less than the public school superintendent serving 6,700 students. Click here to see the article. I am confused by these competing initiat…

Podcasting and the Five Big Ideas of Reading

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My son is nine years old and has really benefited from using podcasting to improve his reading comprehension and motivation to read. The problem is that he only has access to podcasting at home. It's not that his school lacks resources, rather it has been that his teachers have trouble understanding how podcasting can be incorporated into reading instruction. In fairness to his teachers, my experience has been that the bells and whistles of podcasting are emphasized rather than podcasting as a specific curriculum integration tool. I started wondering how we might leverage podcasting to develop reading skills within all the five big ideas of reading.The National Reading Panel concluded that quality literacy instruction encompasses Five Big Ideas. Five Big Ideas of ReadingPhonemic Awareness: The ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words. Alphabetic Principle: The ability to associate sounds with letters and use these sounds to form words.  Fluency with Text: The effortless, aut…

Football and School Improvement

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CIU 20 hosted a Super "School Improvement" Bowl on January 21, 2009. We wanted a new way to engage our instructional leaders in the work of continuous improvement. Believe it or not, football became our inspiration..."Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."Vince Lombardi If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team.”Bud Wilkinson"Coaches have to watch for what they don't want to see and listen to what they don't want to hear."JohnMaddenIn between bites of a Super Bowl lunch of six-foot subs, wings, and meatball sandwiches, School Improvement teams looked for ways for to connect lessons from football to school improvement. Here are a few:Every team needs a play book (school improvement plan) Teams win by moving in strategic ways and moving in the same direction Players improve their …