AP Insight E-Newsletter
AP Insight is the quarterly e-newsletter of the NASSP Assistant Principal Leadership Center. Subscriptions to the e-newsletter are free, but please note that many links in each issue are to content available exclusively to NASSP members.
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AP Insight Archives
AP Insight - April 2013
Vol.5, Issue 4
Faced with the “perfect storm” of new teacher evaluation systems, new state accountability systems, and new college- and career-readiness standards, school leaders are now expected to:
- Create a safe, orderly, and inviting school environment that supports teaching and learning
- Fashion a personalized school climate that values relationships and connects students to learning
- Foster a culture of collaborative accountability based on trust and shared responsibility
- Effectively implement multiple, long-term, systemic change initiatives
- Raise the achievement of diverse students by changing classroom practice, improving classroom instruction, and enhancing teacher capacity.
This issue of AP Insight focuses on the expectation of raising student achievement by improving classroom instruction and building teacher capacity. Each article was written by a practicing school leader. Of the six articles, four relate specifically to literacy which just happens to be the common ground of the Common Core and the key to college and career readiness.
NASSP Associate Director of High School Services
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Literacy: Every Student, Every Class, Every Day
By Teresa McDaniel
Never before in history has literacy been more important to the acquisition of meaningful employment and the pursuit of happiness in both professional and personal relationships. Literacy is indeed the gateway skill. And yet, last year assistant principal Teresa McDaniel observed an English class in which students never wrote a single word. After observing multiple classes, she realized that it was possible for a student to sit through four 90-minute blocks and never actually read anything or write a complete sentence—in high school. (More)
Change Is Happening!
By Kathy Pechtold
The teachers at State College (PA) Area High School underwent a major transformation when the school implemented a new literacy initiative and the district trained all 5th through 12th-grade teachers in Reading Apprenticeship. At first, the training was met with a few obstacles: teachers viewed literacy as an English skill that was the sole responsibility of the English teachers, and other content area teachers believed that focusing on literacy would pull them away from the ability to teach their subjects. Eventually, as Pechtold describes, the teachers came around and the outcome has been nothing short of miraculous. (More)
Innovation: Let’s Find Out
By Brian P. Cory
Educators and students have been measured, bogged down, and increasingly distracted by one word for far too long: achievement. Valuable resources, countless initiatives, and a super storm’s worth of waves of education reform efforts have been devoted to fixing the persistent achievement problem in our schools. Achievement has not only been the problem, it has also been the assumed answer. What if “innovation” became the new “achievement”? More than ever before, schools need to transform into hubs of innovation and educators and students need to be in the future business. (More)
Encouraging Readers in Middle School
By Chris McLean
If you visit Sullivan Middle School in Rock Hill, SC, you will see many students reading. The school is proud to have created a culture of reading, both for information and for pleasure. The fundamental concept of holistic learning, which is a basic premise of the IB Middle Years Programme, means that educators have to help students build their skills in academic and recreational reading. Why the focus on both kinds of reading? Richard Allington’s research shows that students who read 33 minutes a day read about 2,357,00 words in a year. Those that read only 9 minutes a day read about 601,000 words per year. The more often students read these words in context, the more likely they are to retain their meanings. (More)
Synchronizing Instruction, Collaboration, and Evaluation
By Alex Case
Staff members at West Potomac High School have invested time and energy in building high-functioning collaborative teams and creating a culture of continuous improvement around student learning. In the midst of goal-setting and progress-monitoring for new teacher evaluations, the staff found that one way to not get overwhelmed is to return to the basic principles of the Breaking Ranks Framework. For West Potomac, that means synchronizing specific classroom instructional strategies, school plan objectives, and student progress goals for teacher evaluation. (More)
Using Primary and Secondary Source Articles to Support Literacy in Science Courses
By Mary C. McDowell
One of the most important instructional techniques employed on a regular basis by the teachers at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, is using primary and secondary source research articles to supplement content in class. Biology teachers in particular, find that this is the only way to keep students abreast of the rapidly evolving subject. Article reading immediately lifts science content from the historical to the current context. Students are able to see how knowledge builds. By reading a wide variety of articles, students are exposed to many writing styles and they learn to communicate their ideas to a wide audience. (More)