Instructional Rigor: What Does “Creating” Look Like – Part 2

Note: First read the 1/24/2019 post “Instructional Rigor: What Does Creating Look Like – Part 1.” Once it dawns on instructional leaders the daunting and rare nature of “Creating” level rigor, the protests begin… “Well how is that supposed to occur in a (insert any grade / content) classroom?!” My response is, “Why should it?” This…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

A Teacher Asks… Lesson Framing in Kindergarten Classrooms – Part 1

In response to the 10/1/14 post, “Lesson Framing in the Kindergarten Classroom,” a LYS Teacher asks: SC, Thanks for this post! Can you share some examples of Lesson Frames from a Kindergarten classroom? That would be incredibly helpful. SC Response I passed your request on to LYS Icon and Elementary School expert, Barbara Fine. BF…

A Reader Writes… Does the Passing Standard Matter – Part 3

In response to the posts, “Does the Passing Standard Matter,” “Does the Passing Standard Matter – Part 1,” and “Does the Passing Standard Matter – Part 2,” another LYS Curriculum Specialist writes: SC, I can’t stop thinking about this conversation strand.  I don’t think this should be about the teachers.  It is about the kids…

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

A teacher sent this to the curriculum department in a district that has worked to implement 3-week checkpoints this year. To the Curriculum Department: I understand not having a Checkpoint in November because of the upcoming benchmark.  But here is what I do not understand. Why only 30 questions for 2 hours. If we are…

A Superintendent Writes… Changing Tires Doing 75 m.p.h.

A LYS Superintendent shares the following: I don’t think the changes to the Texas math standards are getting nearly enough attention. I have heard complaints from math teachers all year about how convoluted and confusing the entire situation is. If you are late to the game, let me catch you up. Some high school math…

A Superintendent Writes… My Texas School Plan – Part 1

In response to the 10/10/2014 post, “My Texas School Plan: An Open Letter to Candidates,” a LYS Superintendent writes: SC, I like it overall.   A. On item 6 (21:1 maximum class size), I would make class sizes smaller.  I would go 18 in pk-6. And yes, I would have universal Pre-K, full day.  It…

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…

A Reader Responds… Transforming Schools – Part 1

In response to the 2/11/14 post, “Nelson Coulter Writes… Transforming Schools 2.0,” a reader responds with the following: In other words, Texas school administrators in the South Plains are dead-set on further implementing Common Core practices and repackaged/renamed outcomes-based methodologies which have consistently failed for the last 45 years. SC Response Thank you for not…

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…

A Reader Shares… CSCOPE is SAFE

A long time LYSer shares the following: LYS Nation,  Generally, opinions (especially those in letters to the editor) garner responses based on further opinions and do little to promote a resolution of any problem.  Opinions to the side, I want to give reason as to why CSCOPE is a valuable tool in the advancing of…

A Reader Asks… What Will Districts Do Now?

A LYS Teacher asks: SC, I really like the alignment component with CSCOPE… and the scope and sequence helpful as well. What will districts do now? SC Response At this point, the only thing that won’t be available in CSCOPE will be the lessons. And the lessons were simply an add-on.  The power of CSCOPE…

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…

A Reader Writes… Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game – A Necessary Revision

In response to the 6/26/2013 post, “Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game,” a LYSer sends in the following (and mandatory) revision to my proactive scheduling plan: SC, It is always good to think out of the box for scheduling. A couple of hiccups in your science plan, though, due to prerequisite requirements in the…

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… CSCOPE is the Root of All Evil (Part 3:2)

In response to the 2/14/13 post, “It Seems That CSCOPE is the Root of All Evil (Part 3 of 4),” a reader writes: SC, CSCOPE may have limited access, but there is a resource that I believe is similar and is open source: http://cte.unt.edu/ There is a ton of curriculum material here that, as far…

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…

A Superintendent Writes… Texas “Sort of” Forced the Adoption of CSCOPE

A LYS Superintendent sent in the following: SC,  Today I was asked a question regarding CSCOPE, textbooks, and TEKS.  Here was my response. First, state adopted text books “sort of” don’t exist anymore. Which is to say there are state adopted textbooks, but districts are longer limited to using just them.  The old EMAT system…

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…

Accountability – A Reasonable Plan

Those who have worked with, for, or against me all know that I am pro-accountability.  I keep score and push limits. Not just in my chosen profession but in almost every other facet of my life. I don’t apologize for it; it’s who I am.  But even as an accountability advocate I have to admit…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of December 18, 2011

And we’re back. Happy New Year’s to all and I hope that you had a safe and restful holiday. In regards to bootleg technology I often get the question, “Where should we start?” Let you people try their bootleg technology at a personal level, first. And this is the best time of the year do…

A Reader Writes… (Curriculum Myth – Part 2)

In response to the 12/10/2010 post, “Curriculum Myth,” a LYS Principal writes: Sean did a good job of fielding this one. Let’s look at your opening statement: Shouldn’t curriculum, instruction and assessment all be standards-oriented, research-based and data driven? The answer to this question is “YES” From a curriculum theory standpoint, you have the taught…

Readers Ask… More Assessment Questions

There is a LYS district in Texas that is in the midst of implementing common assessments. The district is taking the lead on the six weeks assessments (awesome); the campuses are taking the lead on the three weeks assessments (awesomer). The following is a correspondence between the curriculum specialists (and new LYS’ers) and me that…
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