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…

Student Test Taking Anxiety is 99% on Us

I have heard the horror stories about students freaking out for STAAR.  And I don’t doubt them and here is the reason why. Starting at the beginning of the Spring Semester and continuing until the day of the test, teachers and administrators get more and more stressed out about the test.  The stakes are high,…

Your Best STAAR Preparation Plan – Section 2

As we discussed yesterday, schools across the country are entering into Testing Season.  Every teacher wants his or her students to be successful on the big test, whether it is a national test, state test, district test or teacher made final. That is a given.  And here is your best strategy to turn this want…

Your Best STAAR Preparation Plan – Section 1

At most schools we are now entering into testing season. In Texas, that test is the STAAR, but Texas is not unique when it comes to end of the year high stakes testing.  And even if your school isn’t dealing with state testing, there are AP Tests, Cambridge Tests and course finals that impact student…

A Reader Writes… State Testing – Making a Success Out of a Mess – Part 2

In response to the 9/24//2013 post, “State Testing – Making a Success Out of a Mess,” a LYS Assistant Superintendent writes: SC I would agree with accountability for all, but I do not and never will agree with high stakes testing.  As you know, I occupy a seat of significant responsibility/authority in my district, my…

A Superintendent Writes… State Testing – Making a Success Out of a Mess – Part 1

In response to the 9/24//2013 post, “State Testing – Making a Success Out of a Mess,” a LYS Superintendent writes: SC, Actually, there may be a much larger problem with the state assessment system than you have described.  Standardized testing can be broken into (if I recall the names correctly) two broad categories: achievement tests…

Readers Write… Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game – Part 7

In response to the 6/26/13 post, “Sometimes It Pays To Play The Game,” some readers shared the following: (From a new Principal) SC, I proposed a similar plan to my principal, right before I got my own school. However, your plan is better detailed! Thanks for sharing! Smart Thinking!!!! (From a District Science Specialist) SC,…

The Fundamental 5 National Summit Field Report

For those of you in Austin yesterday at the first Summit date, it was an incredible experience! Nearly 400 educators discussing, learning and networking on how better implement the Fundamental 5 for the purpose of improving student outcomes.  I have never seen conference attendees put so much effort into session after session.  If you missed…

A Reader Writes… The Common Assessment Process – Part 4

In response to the 3/13/13 post, “The Common Assessment Process – Part 3,” a long time LYSer writes: SC, I had an interesting discussion about the implementation of common assessments and benchmarks with a state literacy expert.  What is abundantly clear is that the STAAR and EOC assessments are more than ever, reading literacy assessments. …

A Reader Writes… Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game – Part 1

In response to the 6/26/13 post, “Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game,” a long time LYSer writes: SC, Your idea is good IF….  IF means all grade levels become aligned.  IF you moved all 9th courses to 10th or 11th grade except for ELA, your accountability scores would be based ONLY on ELA for…

A Reader Shares… State Testing – Make a Success out of a Mess

A long time LYSer shares the following: LYS Nation, If there is a problem with today’s state assessment system it would be with the way the data gained from the tests is used and communicated. What is the fear of rigorous testing? I have never feared it, and I am an unban high school educator. …

A New Principal Asks.. We Think We Do Enough

A new LYS elementary school principal asks the following: SC, As you know, my instructional experience is at the secondary level, but saying, “No” to a leadership opportunity was never an option.  I recently met with two teachers on my new (to me) elementary campus.  They were so glad to hear I am CSCOPE expert,…

A Reader Writes… Assessments vs. Benchmarks – Part 2

In response to the 11/17/2011 post, “A Reader Writes… Assessment vs. Benchmarks – Part 1,” an old school LYSer writes: SC, I completely agree with your comments on November 17, 2011 about Assessments vs. Benchmarks.  While our superintendent wants benchmarks at mid-term across the district for STAAR and EOC/TAKS, we are only using the unit…

A Reader Asks… Principal Evaluation

A LYS Assistant Superintendent asks the following: SC, I had a question from a principal that I wanted to pose to you. The order of our evaluation / contract renewal system has a bizarre sequence.  Around March or April contracts go out. About the same time summative conferences occur.  Finally scores from the state come…

A Superintendent Writes… A Drop In Scores

A LYS Superintendent writes: SC, I need some therapy.  We received our STAAR scores today.  We saw some slight improvements in some areas, and some slight decline in others.  Of course what we want to see is significant improvement in all areas.  What troubles us is significant decline in several areas.  This comes after we…

Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game

There are way too many educators celebrating because of the passage of HB5.  As if it changes something.  It does not.  Funding has not been restored to previous levels and nothing has changed on the testing front.  All the tests that are kicking schools in the teeth are still there.  The only tests that are…

A Superintendent Writes… Remember Who You Voted For

A LYS Superintendent writes the following: SC, I’m lamenting the crippling blow inflicted on CSCOPE.  I’m sorry to see this happen and I know this is not the ESCs’ wish. It’s all part of a public school witch-hunt. So last session, Senator Dan Patrick votes to strip away our funding, which requires us to cut…

A Reader Writes… The Hidden Agenda of Choice (Continued)

In response to the 5/1/13 post, “The Hidden Agenda of Choice (7:1),” a LYS Teacher writes: SC, I am concerned about the high drop out rate in our schools.  Enough testing.  Let students pass their courses, earn their credits (in appropriate, required courses) and GRADUATE.  Could this be any worse than what we are doing right…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of May 26, 2013

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 May 26, 2013. 1. Students who take at least 2 AP courses…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of May 19, 2013

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 May 19, 2013. 1. Congratulations to LYS Coach, Harry Miller! The newest…

Top Tweets From the Week of April 28, 2013

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 28, 2013. 1. Leadership doesn’t start with how to improve others,…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of April 21, 2013

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 21, 2013. 1. For all we know, STAAR may be using…

A Principal Asks… Master Schedule Options

A LYS Principal asks the following: SC, So if eight and nine period days are so awful, what does a good schedule look like? Seven periods? I am loaded with electives, what do I do with those folks? My E/LA department believes and have shown through scores that if they are not blocked that they…

A Superintendent Writes… A Synthesis of Montelongo and Cain

A LYS Superintendent share the following: LYS Nation, I had the privilege of working directly with John Montelongo several years ago at an inner-city, 5A high school.  Like most schools, we were struggling with math scores and to combat this Montelongo had developed a warm-up book.  Montelongo had analyzed his school-wide data and determined his…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of March 31, 2013

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 31, 2013. 1. No research supports low grades prompt students to…

A Reader Writes… STAAR Preparation Strategy – Part 1

In response to the 12/14/12 post, “Your 6-step STAAR Preparation Strategy,” a LYS Assistant Superintendent writes: LYS Nation, The only thing that is accomplished by the use of all the STAAR worksheets that are being sold is ensuring profit for their publishers. Nothing takes the place of effective, well-planned instruction. SC Response Testify! And keep…

It Seems That CSCOPE is the Root of All Evil (Part 1 of 4)

Note: CSCOPE is a vertically aligned scope and sequence used by hundreds of school districts. I’ve been informally following the anti CSCOPE loonies for a while, mostly for entertainment purposes.  I find the anti-CSCOPE’rs to be a lot like the anti-children vaccination parents who seemingly believe, “Science, research and significant benefits aside, my opinions matter…

Your 6-step STAAR Preparation Strategy

Drill and kill was very effective as a preparation strategy for TAAS. Even though it was a less effective strategy for TAKS, educators were unwilling to let it go.  For STAAR the strategy will simply ensure that students will fail, en masse.  Yet sadly, at campus after campus I visit, test remediation is the same…

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of October 7, 2012

The great thing about my job is that I get to visit all types of schools in every imaginable setting, day after day.  The frustrating thing about my job is that over 95% of the schools I visit are actively discouraging the use of bootleg technology by students. Sad, just sad… However, I understand why…

A Reader Writes… Pretty Lies and Powerful Truths – Part 1

In response to the 9/25/12 post, “Pretty Lies and Powerful Truths (A),” a LYS Assistant Superintendent writes: SC, In Texas we have gone through several test cycles: TABS, TEAMS, TAAS, TAKS, and now STAAR. During each cycle, scores went from bust to boom, as educators overwhelmingly met the challenge put before them. Politicians however, never…
Menu