Does Your Campus Have an Induction Plan

It always amazes me how often campus operations and practices are left to chance. We hire staff and then hope that thru luck and osmosis, the new hire will know what to do.  There is a better way.  Implement a new hire induction program. Why? Because an induction program ensure that new hires integrate successfully…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of April 17, 2016

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of April 17, 2016 when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list. 1. You create an environment where everyone has…

A Reader Shares… The Power of The Fundamental 5

A LYS Principal shares the following: LYS (and the LYS Nation), I wanted you to know that recently I was asked to write about one program that I implemented from curriculum and instruction that made a significant impact at my school. Consider this my personal endorsement. The one curriculum and instruction initiative that I have…

A Reader Asks… How Do I Recognize Critical Writing

A LYS Assistant Superintendent asks: SC, I have attended many of your sessions on curriculum.  Currently I am trying to support my district with its implementation of The Fundamental 5.  After conducting a classroom walk-thru the following question came up…  “When you are in ELAR, does writing count as critical writing or does the ELAR…

A Response to the Plan for Improving Urban Schools

A new report from, The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), outlines a five-part plan for improving schools.  As a former urban teacher and principal, here is my critique and suggestions. 1. AROS: A challenging curriculum; including access to honors courses, services for English-language learners and special education students, GED preparation, and job training. SC:…

A Principal Submits… Observations From a Perfect Dysfunctional Storm – Point #2

The following is the second of a multi-point field report from a LYS Principal. SC, A school’s quality is largely determined by perception.  A school that has decent law and order, clear hallways, and is reasonably clean, is further along the path towards being considered good.  After those issues are addressed, the only way leadership…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of March 29, 2015

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of March 29, 2015. 1. Congratulations to LYSer, Dr. Matthew Mann! He is…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of March 15, 2015

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of March 15, 2015. 1. The A-F grading system for Texas schools is…

Quit Doing Things That Don’t Matter

I just met with the leadership team of a campus I am coaching.  The campus trails its peers when it comes to student performance and is working to catch up.  Today was a process check-up meeting.  I asked how things were going and the report was: 1. Common assessment scores are a significant concern, with…

A Reader Asks… Common Assessment Reflection

A LYSer asks the following: SC, I have attended a number of your conference sessions over the past several years and always feel that your information is very pertinent and valuable.  Our campus will be conducting 3-week common assessments this year and I am curious about your thoughts on the reflective process following these assessments.  What are your recommendations…

A Reader Writes… But I Want a Full Benchmark – Part 1

In response to the 12/9/2014 post, “I Want a Full Benchmark,” a LYS Curriculum Director writes: SC, Thank you for the excellent information / explanations in your recent benchmark posts. Your posts support what we are trying to implement in our district. It’s good to have some backup ammunition when on the front lines, fighting…

The Failure of Leadership

Last week’s post (9/17/14), “Treat the Symptoms Vs. Treat the Disease,” got me thinking about my real job when I was working for the state.  Yes, my title was “State Director of Innovative Redesign,” but the actual job was more along the lines of Plumber.  When systems fail, there is either a broken component, a…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of September 14, 2014

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of September 14, 2014. 1. For those who believe that Public Schools are…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of August 31, 2014

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of August 31, 2014. 1. Putting an RTI label on a child doesn’t…

My Texas School Plan – An Open Letter to the Candidates From Both Parties, Part 2

In the public interest and courtesy to all of the candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senator, and State Representative, I present the Texas Model Education and Ensured Economic Prosperity Plan.  Feel free to discuss and use as if it is your own.  1. Significantly increase the quality of candidates attempting to enter the teaching…

My Texas School Plan – An Open Letter to the Candidates from Both Parties, Part 1

I’m not running for office, but I am a civic minded, reasonable professional educator. Due to my devotion to the profession and to the state I offer to our candidates who are running for public office a primer on effective schools. Here are the pertinent take-a-ways from the countries that have students who outperform ours…

A Reader Asks… A Common Scope and Sequence

A LYS Principal asks the following: SC, We have all heard and/or been told, “A Scope and Sequence is a living document.”  But I don’t think “the scope and sequence is a living document that can be changed” should be anyone’s justification for not following it at any given time. Before I step on any…

A Superintendent Shares… Retention

A LYS Superintendent reflects on the following: LYS Nation, My first year as an assistant principal was a whirlwind.  I wanted to do a great job, so I was tough, on everything.  I worked discipline and truancy with a vengeance.  Too many missed days, and I would put you in Saturday school to make up…

A Reader Asks… Make the Last Month Count – Part 1

In response to the 4/25/14 post, “Make the Last Month Count,” a LYS Teacher asks: SC, Sounds neat. What about 5th grade teachers though? SC Response Here are a couple of options for 5th grade teachers. 1. The fifth grade teachers can drop down a grade and begin to teach the 4th grade students that…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of April 20, 2014

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of April 20, 2014. 1. “In education, goals are only reached through a…

Make the Last Month Count

When you look at schools that outperform their peers, one of the telling differences is the urgency of May instruction.  Sadly, most schools in the month of May start to ease up and coast to the finish.  Those who don’t begin to separate themselves from the pack.  It is amazing what an extra month of focused…

Addressing Stress

When I visit a new campus I am invariably told by multiple sources that, “The teachers are really stressed,” or “We are really concerned about the amount of stress that teachers are under.” To which I always ask, “What exactly is the source of all the stress?” The answer is presented as a list of…

A Superintendent Writes… An Attempt at Meaningful Dialouge – Round 1

A LYS Superintendent shares the following: SC, A teacher (with a known agenda) sent a mass email to a bunch of superintendents. As you know, I love reasoned and spirited discussions so I responded. Below are the questions and my responses. Thinly Veiled Questions Mass Emailed to Texas Superintendents: Please inform me on what the…

A Reader Asks… What Do You Really Think – Part 3

In response to the August 1, 2013 post, “What Do You Really Think – Part 2,” a reader asks: SC, Who qualifies as a “curriculum expert” to pick and choose educational materials for a particular subject? What qualities would you expect those people to have? SC Response Those are some good questions.  From a practitioner’s…

Jeanette Nelson Op-Ed: The State of Teaching

LYS Coach, Jeanette Nelson, had the following piece published in the November 15, 2013 issue of the San Antonio Express-News Re: “Looming teacher shortage fails students,” Gloria Padilla, Nov.2: Gloria Padilla is right-on with her assessment of why there is a looming teacher shortage. In addition to her observations, I have seen multiple reasons for…

A Principal’s Petition

This post highlights a petition created by LYS Principal, Sammy Wyatt.  A petition that exposes Sammy to the wrath of the Anti-CSCOPE zealots, meaning that this is a case of courageous leadership. This is because Sammy isn’t just arguing for his school, he is advocating for every school district to retain the power to select the instructional…

A Reader Writes… Best Tweets From the CSCOPE Debate – Part 1

In response to the 8/27/2013 post, “Best Tweets From the CSCOPE Debate,” a reader writes: OK, let’s just face it; a good teacher doesn’t need CSCOPE. The real question is the money trail to a few at the ESC’s that profit from this. SC Response It amazing how wrong you are able to be in…

Exposing the Idiocy of the Anti-CSCOPE Zealots

I have brushed my teeth twice a day, almost every day for 45 years.  During that time I have purchased and used scores of toothbrushes, miles of floss and gallons of toothpaste.  Because of this experience, I now consider myself to be an expert in dentistry.  And due to this expertise I will now determine…

Best Tweets From The CSCOPE Debate

This past Saturday night, State Board of Education Member Thomas Ratliff and Senator Dan Patrick debated CSCOPE.  The debate was streamed live and it was fascinating viewing.  Both men did something that is rare in today’s political world.  They engaged more in argument and discourse than scripted made for TV sound bites.  And for those who think this…
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