A Reader Writes… (Teacher Nests – Part 6)

In response to the 8/19/11 post “Teacher Nests – Part 4,” a LYS Principal writes: SC, Just thought I would forward you what one of our teachers who moved to Dallas wrote about nesting Hi boss! I wanted to let you know that I got settled in my new school. It is a COMPLETELY different…

The Big Easy Writes… (Teacher Nests – Part 5)

In response to the 8/19/11 post “Teacher Nests – Part 4,” the Big Easy writes: Consternation? I have seen real tears and a lot of anger during discussions centered on teacher nests, and I have yet to see one tear during discussions about poor student performance. We can look to Maslow for an explanation. It…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of September 18, 2011

When I speak to groups about using bootleg technology in the classroom, many principals look at me with an expression somewhere between pity (for my obvious bout of early senility) and panic (please don’t let this idiot talk to my superintendent). As I query these administrators, it seems that it is the fear of introducing…

Uncle Mike’s Advice

Last week LYS trained over 400 campus leaders on the PowerWalks observation system. Every trainee was diligent, attentive and earnest. We could not have asked for better groups. While we were doing that, a LYS Principal was writing his weekly newsletter. At the end of the newsletter he included something I had shared in the…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of September 4, 2011

I’ve been in a number of school districts in the past month training staff and not one of them has had an easy way for visitors and guests to access their Wi-Fi. In an age where everyone is trying to expand customer access to the internet, from coffee shops to auto dealerships to burger joints,…

Teacher Quality and Qualifications – Why the Right is Wrong

It is interesting scanning the discussions about teacher quality and qualifications. As usual, both extremes have it wrong and those of us in the middle are forced to hold our noses and pick a side. Let’s look at the issue from each angle. First, the Right. Understand that the far Right is anti-public education, regardless…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of August 28, 2011

In response to the Top LYS Tweets post from 8/14/11, a reader tweeted: LYS Nation, I loved the blog post idea about having kids bring in their own technology to use! SC Response Thanks! I can’t think of a more relevant and engaging classroom practice that any teacher can begin to implement now, other than…

A Reader Submits… The Classroom Doom Loop

An Old School LYS Principal submits the following observation: Here is my classroom doom loop recipe. 1. Poor instruction 2. Students off task and don’t care 3. Minor, yet chronic, discipline problems 4. Teacher use failing grades as their primary motivator / punishment SC Response You forgot the critical catalysts of leadership failure: 1. Disengaged,…

An Exercise in Coaching Dialogue – The Summative Evaluation

A lot of non-LYS’ers ask me what exactly we do and why do principals use us. My answer is always the same, “We believe in successful schools, teachers and principals. We build that success though coaching and honest dialogue.” Below is one example of what this looks like. It is a conversation between me and…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of August 21, 2011

In response to the Top LYS Tweets post from 8/14/11, a reader tweeted: LYS Nation, Nice post, and you are right about school technology. But how do you address network security if students bring their own e-devices? SC Answer My assumption is that a “guest access” feature, similar to what is available in a hotel…

A Principal Submits… TPM Accountability Score Inflation

A LYS principal submits the following: I was speaking to Mr. Brezina at the TASSP conference concerning the amount of padding that TPM added to test scores. I told him that I expect that the average amount of inflation was 10 to 15%. He was surprised it was that much. To assure myself that I…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of August 14, 2011

Here’s another thing that I learned this summer while training teachers on student computers. The technology we provide for students is sub-par. The computers are old. The computers are slow. The software loaded on them is inconsistent and inadequate. And, the computers are in various stages of disrepair. Again, I am not blaming the technology…

Opening Day!

For many of you in the LYS Nation, today is the first day back for students. For me, this is the most exciting day of the school year. This is the only day when the whole year is still in front of us and all of us are Exemplary. All we have to do is…

A Reader Writes… (Teacher Nests – Part 4)

In response to the 8/12/11 post “Teacher Nests – Part 3,” a reader writes: The biggest bunch of bull I have ever read in my life. In order to de-nest, it will take hours away instruction; and to keep the classroom de-nested, likewise. This entire nesting theory of yours is just another way to micromanage…

Summer Camps

With teachers coming back to school this week, I hope that the activities and training that you have scheduled are valuable and immediately useful to your staff. Which automatically precludes “Personality” training and most team building activities (yes, I know that wasn’t a very “Blue” statement). A number of schools in the LYS Nation stated…

Student vs. Teacher Data

Student vs. Teacher data: I recently had a frustrating meeting about this subject with someone who should know better (a big district C & I director). Parroting E. Don Brown (which is always a good idea), “We have beat student data to death. Let it go.” I’ll paraphrase the meeting1. An aligned curriculum should have…

The Little District That Will…

I have spent the last two days working with a group of teachers that has reaffirmed why the politicians and the angry fringe of the general public are wrong. Let me set the stage. In this district, the secondary schools lost their ratings in May. No TPM, means that they have to face the harsh…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of August 7, 2011

For all of the hard work and support that district technology departments provided during the trainings that LYS conducted this summer (and we are very appreciative), they still make the daily use of technology difficult. Here were some all too common roadblocks. Roadblock #1: Everyone has to have a password to access any computer. In…

A Reader Writes… (Teacher Nests – Part 2)

In response to the 7/14/2011 post “Teacher Nests,” a reader writes: All right, I’ll do it. Since no one else will ask, what is a “Teacher Nest?” SC Response Of all the things I talk about, the topic of Teacher Nests cause the greatest consternation. Tell a teacher that the rigor and relevance of her…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of July 31, 2011

Recently I was talking to a group of math teachers that were attending some “innovative teaching” training sessions. The primary push was how to integrate the use of a SmartBoard in their classes. After they explained what they had learned and what they planned on doing this year, I asked them if they were also…

A Reader Submits… UIL Disconnect – Part 1

A LYS Principal submits: As of this year, I have finally concluded that UIL has utterly disconnected itself from the educational process. In baseball and softball we play a determined number of pre-season games, during the school day, in the form of tournaments. Those are generally two-day, all-day tournaments that occur during a three-week period.…

Readers’ Reviews – The Fundamental 5

Two LYSers submitted to following comments: 1. SC, Just wanted to let you know that I read the book from cover to cover. Then I read it again. Of all of the “How to Teach Better” books, yours is the most accessible. In the on-going debate of are great teachers born or made – you…

A Reader Submits… Who I Vote For

A LYS Teacher submits the following: This comment is not directly related to a specific post but an observation from several. I’ve noticed that you have taken many opportunities to remind your readers of our current political environment. I want to commend you for doing that. Over the past couple of years my husband and…

The Legacy of a Great Coach

September 1996. I was in my first month of being a principal. I had just finished doing my morning class observations and was heading back to my office when I saw an older gentleman sitting at the secretary’s desk. Seeing me, she said, “Mr. Cain, this is Mr. Yetter and he would like a minute…

A Reader Writes… (Vouchers – It’s Only Choice – Part 1)

In response to the 5/19/11 post “Vouchers – It’s Only Choice,” a reader writes: Interesting commentary… SC Response There is no question that I am a school reformer. But I am not in the camp that now labels themselves as such. I believe we have a duty to the taxpayer to efficiently and effectively use…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of July 10, 2011

Three things to think about as you consider allowing the use of bootleg technology on your campus. First, it is already occurring, both by adults and students. The system is just forcing the early adopters to hide their knowledge and expertise. Second, you need to review and revise campus and district policy in order to…

A Reader Writes… (Teacher Nests)

In response to the 3/3/2009 post “Teacher Nests,” a reader writes: I understand that there are probably teachers who take advantage of their “nesting” areas, but punishing the entire field of teachers isn’t the answer. Yes, I love my coffee (as do many). And yes, I use a refrigerator. However, my students are allowed access…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of July 3, 2011

The move to embrace bootleg technology on your campus has the very real potential to save money in an era of already tight budgets. Once you allow students to pull out their cell phones, iPod’s or tablets they have immediate access to dictionaries, encyclopedias, periodicals, classic novels, graphing calculators, movie cameras and more. At no…

Doc Seabolt Clarifies… (Common Assessment Data Analysis – Part 3)

In response to the 4/22/2011 post, “Common Assessment Data Analysis – Part 2,” Doc Seabolt continues with: When I say at first let kids choose their level of differentiation, the operative words are “at first.” Combined with a concept like Game On, most kids will strive for more. However, if a student is observed consistently…

A Reader Writes… (The Power of PowerWalks – Part 1)

In response to the 4/21/2011 post, “A Reader Asks… The Power of PowerWalks,” a LYS Principal writes: What I would tell that principal is if you are frequently visiting classrooms, you don’t have to wait for test results. You know what students are learning and the level of success the teacher is having with the…
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