Wherever you teach, the stress, demands and expectations can take an emotional and physical toll. At Lakewood Primary in Phenix City, Principal Sarah Kimmel and her leadership team recognized the need to support and encourage faculty and staff throughout the year to help alleviate these pressures. Using the motivational book The Energy Bus, they are well on their way to “turning negative energy into positive achievement.”
The ABPC Blog
Learning should not be a mystery to students. John Hattie’s research shows that changes in practice to produce “teacher clarity” can have a huge impact on student success. A recent book from Corwin, Clarity for Learning, provides a roadmap for teachers and schools interested in engaging their students more deeply by making sure they understand what’s going on. Cathy Gassenheimer provides a helpful summary!
The achievement gap between children who read or are read to, and children who are not, is well documented and widely discussed, writes Assistant Principal Jill Edwards. Some schools may view the gap as outside their control, but not Harlan Elementary in Florence City (AL), where educators are using a variety of “combat strategies,” including the newly launched video collection of Goodnight, Harlan bedtime stories.
Ron Berger’s comprehensive companion guide to his landmark 2014 book Leaders of Their Own Learning has been eagerly anticipated by educators in ABPC’s Powerful Conversations Networks. Cathy Gassenheimer highlights the impact of LOTOL on student-engaged assessment in Alabama and her own role in writing the Foreword to the just-released Leaders of Their Own Learning Companion.
“One of our parents walked up to a staff member and said ‘Thank you for coming into our community,’” writes principal Debbie Brooks. “It was then that I realized that to build and maintain lasting relationships with our families, we have to do more than offer THEM the experiences. We have to have the experiences WITH them.”
“When we heard about the idea of a book vending machine last year, we were intrigued, to say the least!” writes Pete Forster, principal of Yarbrough Elementary in Auburn City Schools. “We researched and found a vending machine company in New York that could provide exactly what we wanted to support our culture of reading.”
In a time when the teacher workforce is rapidly evolving and schools are under great pressure to strengthen their systems for professional learning and collaboration, what better topics for a learning “retreat” than cross-generation communication and “hard conversations” about professional growth. Cathy Gassenheimer reports on ABPC’s two-day Hard Conversations Institute with expert Jennifer Abrams.
Over the summer, Cathy Gassenheimer had the chance to ask Greg Edge, principal of Attalla Elementary School, why he continues to be involved in ABPC’s professional learning opportunities. “I told him about the questions we often hear from potential funders, who want to know how ABPC programs differ from what Alabama educators might otherwise experience.” Here’s what Greg (and some other KLN participants) told us.
Tables were turned when Cathy Gassenheimer introduced members of the A+ Education Partnership Board of Directors to a visioning protocol the Alabama Best Practices Center uses in our Key Leaders Networks. Our board members, accustomed to listening to reports and asking strategic questions, found themselves in the collaborative learning mode. And they liked it!
With half our population thought to be introverted to some degree, it’s important for educators to pay attention and adjust our lesson plans and teaching styles to better support our “quiet” kids, writes professed introvert and assistant principal DeAnna Miller. “Learning to help both extroverted and introverted students understand more about themselves and each other will only enhance our learning environments.”