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Posted by on in UNward!

BuckleUP

Wow! It wasn't a Dream. Betsy DeVos and US Secretary of Education are now synonyms.

When DeVos closed her first staff meeting at the Department of Education, she ended with a very Trumpian phrase - “Be bold, think big...”

Can you feel it?  The gale force winds of change have started to blow. It looks like we're all about to live through a blizzard of historic events. 

To um, "celebrate" we've geared up to document this unprecedented pivot for our grandchildren, future anthropologists, and life forms on other planets who are wondering what the hell is going on down here?

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

b2ap3_thumbnail_curious-child.jpg

I was once asked during a presentation for a parent’s group what it is that preschoolers need most to prepare them academically.

I’m sure some would have loved tips on building early readers or how to get a jump start on math skills (both important, to be sure), but what I really believe young children need goes beyond even those basic skills.


“Honestly,” I said, “if I had to pick one thing, it would be for them to simply keep their curiosity.  Everything else will follow.”

Passionately Curious

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Counselors office

Last year, I had the privilege of presenting, along with the high school principals, to the Worthington City Schools Board of Education on the “State of the High School Programs”.  We spent time framing our work to consider the whole child as well as students with different backgrounds, interests, and levels in learning.  We shared about the partnerships with various organizations which extended learning beyond the walls of the schools, as well as creating a physically and emotionally safe environment for students to learn and explore.  After the presentation, we opened the time to questions that led to a great dialogue to showcase the hard work of our staff and students.

At the conclusion of the evening presentation, I continued to reflect on a statement from a Board Member immediately after the presentation portion of the evening – “It sounds like our School Counselors are doing a lot for our students.”

As I reflected on all of the slides about our programs, everything we talked about attached to the direct or indirect work and involvement of our school counselors.  While I have an incredible respect for our school counselors and what they do each day, I realized that I neglected to recognize them overtly.  I am so glad our Board Members were able to make this great connection of the work with our students to our school counselors.

With the increased and changing requirements on graduation requirements and state Image result for school counselorstesting, I am fortunate to work with such talented and committed school counselors.  The role of the counselor has changed.  In addition to managing college essays and counseling
students, they also create and monitor programs, in social-emotional learning, new student programs, suicide prevention, career development, intervention, and family issues.  In my role as a district administrator, they are on my direct dial for many of these efforts.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

It still seems to be an accepted response continuing to receive a smile when someone makes a "drop the mic" comment in response to a profound activity, come-back, statement, or speech.  Although the phrase has recently gained popularity through its use by notable celebrities, the actual physical dropping of the mic started way back in 1980's by rappers and comedians.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_Barack_Obama_Mic_Drop_2016.jpg

There's got to be a high sense of accomplishment to say something so profound and definitive that it cannot be followed.  The ultimate show-stopper.  How could you not help but smile when you release the mic allowing gravity to do its thing?  There would be nothing left to do but walk off stage under the thunderous applause! 

But, what happens after the mic is dropped?

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

letter flashcards

It’s becoming more and more commonplace to see programs using flashcards and worksheets in their attempt to jumpstart literacy development. These early academic activities are touted as best approaches and provide tangible take-homes for anxious parents who don’t want their children to “get behind.”

Unfortunately, what’s really important to early literacy is largely being overlooked and the best opportunities to make learning matter are going unnoticed.

These programs need to stop the nonsense and expense of fancy and unnecessary academic curriculum. Instead, there needs to be a focus on just 5 things, using an approach that is age-appropriate, meaningful, and purposeful to young children.  Research tells us that these 5 are the best predictors of early literacy:

speaking to child

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