Listening to today’s rousing debates in education, it often feels as if we are employing the tyranny of “or” vs. the synergy of “and.” Deciding whether to make hiring systems more centralized (controlled by the central office) or decentralized (controlled at the building level) seems to be one of those situations. Having held jobs in both camps—and having worked extensively with practitioners on designing and implementing these systems—it may be more productive to view this as a natural tension. Battelle for Kids’ experience is that the hiring process can be balanced in a manner that values all stakeholders, leads to more efficiencies, results in better decisions, and most importantly, benefits all students.
When teachers or principals change schools, what happens to the colleagues they leave behind? How will their new colleagues perceive the changes at their school? And, how will students be affected? These questions highlight the importance of looking at the big picture when implementing school-improvement initiatives. For talent transfer to be truly successful, it cannot be seen as an isolated effort.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) borrows concepts from architecture and applies them to teaching and learning. UDL is an orientation to student learning that focuses on all students and how we create adaptive environments that assure learners can receive information, express their understanding, and meaningfully engage with peers. One way to integrate UDL into your instruction is through formative instructional practices. Based on the four core components of formative instruction, here are four tips that will help you get started thinking about UDL so your instruction is designed from the start to reach all learners.
Assessment continues to play an expanding role in education, and therefore it is imperative that educators are confident that the data generated can be used to make valid, reliable inferences about students’ growth and achievement. This requires that teachers and administrators are assessment literate, that they have developed a trained-eye to effectively select and develop high-quality measures designed for a variety of purposes.
To shift from a driving value of autonomy to one of collaboration, teachers and leaders need to embrace a new set of practices; many of which take time to master. I like to refer to these practices holistically as facilitative leadership—the leadership practices required to lead a successful collaborative team. How can you become a more effective facilitative leader in your classroom, school, or district? Consider these key strategies for leading a successful collaborative team.