Principals, You Really Need To Think About Spring Sports

It’s too late now, but this is the absolute right time to fix this for next year.   Multiple times a week I’m on a secondary campus. And without fail, during the Spring, I’m greeted with the same welcome… “Glad you’re here. Just want to let you know that we have a lot of subs…

Focus on the Test That Matters

I was working with a Texas secondary campus last Monday. On Thursday, district unit tests were scheduled, in STAAR tested courses. Planned instructional activities for the week were as follows: Unit test review on Tuesday; unit test review on Wednesday; administer the district unit on Thursday.   Here is the brutal math, a mere 5-weeks…

Top LYS Tweets – June 4, 2018

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS tweets from the past week 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.   The fact of the matter is we can’t trust Lt.…

Lost Instructional Time

Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on instructional time this year for Texas Gulf Coast Schools. Hurricanes, Flood Events, Snow, Flu… Sounds like a disaster movie spoof. If only… And do you know who doesn’t care, at all? The State. Sure, our Texas politicians and Texas Education Agency people will wring their hands and say nice…

A Superintendent Writes… Playing Against a Stacked Deck

A LYS Superintendent writes the following: SC, I’ve been thinking about this for a while and admit that I don’t have the answer. It is clear from state testing data that our students do better every year they are out of 3rd grade.  I am confining this discussion to reading but that trend is true…

A Reader Asks… STAAR Review

A LYS Principal asks the following: SC, Just checking in to see if we’re on the right track.  We have our 18-day embedded STAAR review set up and running in our 8th grade classes. But I’m wondering if this is the most effective way to provide additional support for struggling students.  Right now, before school we…

A Superintendent Asks… Prominently Posted Goals

A LYS Superintendent requests the following: SC, I need some examples of posters other schools have put up to show their goals for the STAAR tests.  I’ve heard you talk about this and I’m looking for new ways to promote achievement.  Thanks for the help! SC, I don’t have any pictures to show you.  The…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of December 25, 2016

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of December 25, 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.     PowerWalks Report Building allows SISD leadership to…

A Reader Asks… The Timed Checkpoint

A reader asks the following: SC, We are new to using the LYS Short-term Trend Analysis Form in our PLCs.  At our last meeting there was much debate over the time allotted to giving the quick 10-question checkpoint. We allow 30 minutes for the checkpoint, but the instructional leaders at campuses feel that many of…

Flat STAAR Scores

So the STAAR scores have been basically flat for four years and a lot of people are in a tizzy about that little fact. There are a couple of simple explanations for this that I have discussed previously, so I won’t retread that ground.  Instead I just want to remind school leaders of one thing.…

A Reader Asks… Reducing the Number of Re-testers

A LYS Reader asks: SC, I attended my state’s Principals’ Conference this summer and had the pleasure of attending two of your new presentations.  I have heard you speak several times over the past few years and have slowly introduced your ideas and suggestions them to my staff.  This year we are going to focus…

A Superintendent Continues… Red Shirt Your Freshmen – Part 2

In response to the 5/11/12 post, “Red Shirt Your Freshmen – Part 1” the LYS Superintendent continues: SC, … Granted. But for some districts (like the one I just joined) this is a high stakes chess game.  When you are one of the districts at the bottom of performance rankings, saving the King is all…

A Superintendent Writes… Red Shirt Your Freshmen – Part 1

In response to the 4/29/16 post, “HS Accountability – Red Shirt Your Freshmen” a LYS Superintendent writes: SC, Something to consider and a possible warning. When restructuring the order of high school tested subjects, you must keep in mind that rearrangement will mean some tests will not be given for a year or two.  That’s…

Top LYS Posts From the Week of May 1, 2016

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of May 1, 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. If you are the smartest person in…

HS Accountability – Red Shirt Your Freshmen

Accountability is a game. Play the game right and your students, your staff and your campus wins.  Play the game wrong and everyone suffers. Recognizing this, I am baffled why high school leaders continuously place the burden of accountability on the shoulders of their most fragile students. Especially when the only reason to do so…

A Reader Writes… Reasonable Accountability – Part 5

In response to the 1/14/2016 post, “Reasonable Accountability – A Primer for the Texas Legislator,” a reader asks: SC, I am interested in what you base the 75% standard for passing. Your use of the term “mastery” is relative. This is extraordinarily high especially for assessments such as 3rd grade reading. At the state level,…

Get Serious During Crunch Time

This is the time of year where we start counting down the days until the state accountability tests. The stakes are high (duh), there’s still too much content to teach (double duh), and there’s not near enough time (aarrgh).  And this is if every teacher shows up AND every teacher runs the plan.  The odds…

A Reader Writes… Reasonable Accountability – Part 3

In response to the January 14, 2016 post, “Reasonable Accountability – A Primer for the Texas Legislator,” a reader writes: SC, First, let me also state that I too am a public school advocate and proponent for accountability. With the proposed accountability revisions, I offer the following for consideration: Use the ACT as the exit…

A Superintendent Writes… Reasonable Accountability – Part 2

In response to the January 14, 2016 post, “Reasonable Accountability – A Primer for the Texas Legislator,” an Old School LYS Superintendent writes: SC, Your plan is better than what we have now and obviously written with a heaping dose of common sense.  But… here is your big flaw.  You are still basing your plan…

Reasonable Accountability – A Primer for the Texas Legislator

First, let me state for the record that I am a public school advocate and an accountability proponent. As are most of the proactive public educators that I know and work with.  Accountability, implemented correctly, is good for students.  Because without accountability, it is too easy for too many students to be systematically underserved by…

Checkpoints and the Un-informed Leader

Sometimes I’m in a district and I witness leadership making a huge mistake. Today was one of those days. Today, I heard a Superintendent tell his Principals that if their checkpoint scores didn’t improve then their jobs would be at risk. Definitely a case of backwards thinking. Checkpoint scores are about providing the following information:…

Lose the Battle, Win the War

With 3-week checkpoints, if they are administered correctly, the assumption should be that performance will be lacking.  After all we are asking high rigor questions almost immediately after students have been first exposed to the content.  As long as the poor performance is not due to being off pace, everything else can (and generally will)…

A Reader Asks… Better Checkpoint Implementation

A LYS Principal asks the following questions. I will embed my answers after each question for easier reading. SC, I love the daily e-mails addressing improving schools (The LYS Nation Blog) and love The Fundamental 5 (Cain & Laird) and The Foundation Trinity (Cain).  As you know I have moved to a new district and…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of February 22, 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 February 22, 2015. 1. School choice? Options abound: Relocation, Transfers, Charters, Home…

A Reader Shares… Quick Accountability Testing

A LYS district leader shares the following: A common sense testing plan (feel free to adopt): Any student who scores high enough on the ACT/SAT or TSI (Texas Success Initiative assessment) to gain entry to ANY accredited (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) institution of post-secondary education is deemed college ready.  No new test needed. …

A Reader Writes… Does the Passing Standard Matter – Part 1

In response to the 1/29/15 post, “Does the Passing Standard Matter,” a LYS Central Office Administrator writes: SC, I am a proponent of having a minimum performance expectation of a Checkpoint (common assessment) at 70%. 70% is the passing standard for classroom assignments. We all know the passing standard for the STAAR is different for…

A Reader Asks… Does the Passing Standard Matter

A LYS Central Office Administrator asks the following: SC, Quick question. When the state doesn’t require 70% of the EOC (End of Course Exam) questions to be answered correctly to meet the state’s standard – why are requiring 70% proficiency on our checkpoints? We realize we need to get to this 70% level for the…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of November 9, 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 November 9, 2014. 1. Take an environmental walk through your school. What…

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…

Your After STAAR Plan

I have talked extensively about how the schools that consistently outperform their peers make better use of time.  The tempo of these peer-beating schools is always a notch or two above the norm, and nowhere is this more evident than at the end of the year.  When everyone else is winding down, these campuses are…
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