Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers's Blog (358)

The Women We Need in Leadership

 In all fields, women are seeking and finding greater voice. As they do, we remind all who lead that voice is what matters. Allow a person voice and they will speak and sing, become orators and actors and work together on teams. But, not just any voice because voice can also have dreadfully negative effects. No, the voices must be ones of truth and courage and respect and civility. Strong voices will bring change and will create discourse. They can uplift and enlist collaboration or…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on April 29, 2018 at 7:00am — No Comments

Does The School Schedule Serve Teaching and Learning?

Considerations about scheduling and faculty assignments for 2018 - 2019 are more than likely in the planning stages right now.  In states like New York, much remains tentative until the school district budget is voted on and passed, but the development of the budget requires planning conversations and a course of direction. Often, last year's schedule is simply rolled over with minor changes, most reflecting grade level and course enrollments. The schedule is framed by start and end…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on April 15, 2018 at 8:00am — No Comments

10 Step Process to Evaluate Non-Instructional Technology

Schools, their leaders and their faculty, have invested time and money into technology systems that collect data and communicate with others. Moving from paper for communication, attendance, grades, and discipline has been a goal for schools over these past decades. Two different types of professionals have been involved in the transition from paper to technology. One group is teachers who have an interest and ability in technology who have stepped up into these leadership roles. The…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on April 8, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

Are There Unseen Children In Your School?

White people can take for granted that there are models of successful adults to watch and learn from. They grew up looking to presidents, military leaders, movie stars and characters in literature and in all sorts of positions of leadership including in education were of white models. They learned their exceptionality was by ethnicity or religion.They are told stories about names being changed as they came through Ellis Island or lived through the first Catholic president controversy.…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on March 27, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

Stop Bullying: Schools Can Hold Hope

The use of Twitter to share news and to congratulate individuals or teams, or to remind of meetings or events has become a part of many educational leaders' work of the day. Many, if not most students and parents are 'on' Twitter. It has become a favored way to communicate quickly and briefly. At first a vehicle for young people to speak to each other in brief terms, it has been swept up by adults and businesses. Its use was welcomed and used for good. The use of social media helped school…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on March 20, 2018 at 6:30am — No Comments

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' '60 Minutes' Interview Should Motivate Us

How many of you tuned into 'Sixty Minutes' on Sunday night in anticipation of the Stormy Daniels interview? It didn't happen. But, if you stayed with the show, you saw the interview segment with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. She had visited Stoneman Douglas High School this past week (though we haven't heard that she spoke with any of the students) and she will be somewhere at the table of decision makers about school safety federal policy. The interview did little to change minds…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on March 13, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

No Guns for Teachers!

Guns in schools that are not on the hips of police officers strikes us as a very dangerous idea. There are several reasons why. First, however, let us say in no uncertain terms, the safety of the children is paramount. Educators are fully aware of the responsibility they have from drop off to pick up. We have written about that before, actually as recently as last week. It is a responsibility educators take seriously and carry every minute of their working lives. …

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on March 8, 2018 at 6:30am — No Comments

Don't Let STEM Become a Fad

STEM has become the subject of community, curriculum, business, and budget conversations. The media gives it attention. Children's lives are changing because of it. This movement is grounded in the understanding that science, technology, engineering, and math are where the jobs of the future wait for our graduates. It also arises from a demand for schools to focus more in these fields. But, these are not the only reasons we should be learning about and implementing STEM in…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on March 6, 2018 at 6:30am — No Comments

What School Safety Means for Teachers

 Sandy Hook taught the nation that little children could become gun violence victims in their classrooms. It taught us, or it at least showed us, that teachers, school psychologists and school leaders could be killed in schools as well. School leaders began to respond with preparation in securing facilities, training staff and student drills, in building relationships with law enforcement, and in bringing community mental health agencies into schools. The leadership of the response was…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on February 27, 2018 at 5:53am — No Comments

A Serious Misunderstanding About Special Education and Discipline Problems

With the intention to bring awareness to racial inequity, over classification, and meeting quotas, apparently educators made some difficult decisions following the Obama-era rule on racial disparities in special education. Instead of taking stock of each school's classification process and causes and purpose, according to this Jason L. Riley's editorial in the WSJ, some districts…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on February 20, 2018 at 7:00am — No Comments

Are Children Lazy?

Lazy? How shocking it was to hear the Chief of Staff assume that some Dreamers were too lazy to apply for legal status! We wonder if the General can walk in someone else's shoes...one who has lived in fear, fled from home, learned to be suspicious of authorities and lived in shadows as the way to survive? Yet, before we rush to judgment, it takes only one moment to reflect on words we have heard in schools about certain students and certain parents. Before casting stones, let's take…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on February 11, 2018 at 7:00am — No Comments

Essential Professional Development We Must Provide

Schools invest in professional development in order for teachers to learn something that will benefit their students. As funds dwindle, early in the budgeting process, professional development is too frequently considered for cutbacks. We conclude there is a professional development necessary not only for the faculty, but the staff in its entirety, the leaders, the parents, the community including the board of education, and most certainly, the students. As educational institutions, we…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on February 8, 2018 at 7:18am — No Comments

Can We Teach Acceptance and Compassion or Only Mandate It?

A valued colleague used to debate with us whether we should focus discipline policies on changing student behaviors or changing how they thought. Law changes behaviors; it establishes expectations and consequences for violations. School policies do the same. By law and policy, we can control behavior. While these are sometimes the result of long and involved processes, they are much faster than changing minds and hearts. Those change, not in a sweeping social way, but one person at a…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on February 6, 2018 at 8:03am — No Comments

Multiple Grades: The First Step to Improving Grading and Reporting

Imagine going to your physician for a medical examination. During the exam, the physician records data on your height,weight, blood pressure, and heart rate, and asks you questions about your lifestyle and how you are feeling. After gathering all this information, imagine the physician entering the data into a computer that uses a mathematical algorithm to calculate a single number describing your physical condition. The physician then reports the…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on February 4, 2018 at 7:00am — No Comments

Leading and Teaching in an Equitable System

Whatever is going on in the country needs serious attention by educators. To assume that children aren't hearing the news, even with one ear, is misguided. They need help making sense of news about violence, lying, sexual harassment, racism, bias, and xenophobia. Before entering into conversations, or inviting speakers, or teaching these topics, leaders and teachers have to check in with themselves. Many of our Facebook friends have agreed to not speak about politics or the news and…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on January 30, 2018 at 6:49am — No Comments

How Schools Teach Victims and Abusers: Leadership Lessons From Michigan State

How many voices does it take? Is one child enough to cause a leader to set everything else aside and listen? Will 20 voices make the difference if one story doesn't create enough credibility or move a leader to action? Or is it hundreds? When does the conscience of a leader take over and compel the defense of a student even if it might cost adults a job or an institution financial support? Both Michigan State and USA Gymnastics have given us examples these past few months....and those…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on January 28, 2018 at 8:00am — No Comments

How Do Leaders Use Compromise and Consensus?

 Could we marry the processes of consensus and of compromise to benefit our work? Here's our take away thought and question. If we could get agreement on the 'what' by consensus, does that open the door to compromise on the 'how'? Consensus is based on these three statements...I understand. I can agree. I will support. Merriam-Webster offers these words as synonyms: accord, concurrence, concurrency, agreement, unanimity, and unison.  A recent headline read "Lawmakers remain in partisan…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on January 23, 2018 at 6:00am — No Comments

Your Moral Leadership Matters Now More Than Ever

 When the adults in the organization are offered specific processes that "build trust, develop relationships, and create a more mature and responsive professional community of colleagues with the moral and even spiritual commitment to their cause that is pursued with courage, commitment, and empathy" students will benefit. The striking fact remains that while we focus so much on curriculum development and delivery, responsibilities and obligations, problems and solutions, attention to…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on January 18, 2018 at 6:30am — No Comments

Why Professional Development Fails

Unless there is consistent support and practice, with feedback and evaluation, too often what is read, experienced, and taught have only a moment's life span. Children, parents and colleagues rarely learn what potential was offered and current practice returns. Schools change one teacher at a time or they will simply remain the same at their core. All of us know those who are the teachers on the edge...the ones who are pushing and pulling and agitating others with new thinking and why…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on January 14, 2018 at 7:34am — No Comments

How Does the Public Learn About Our Schools?

Bitter cold is preventing some schools from reopening after the winter holiday break. Even the Deep South is shivering this week. Snow storms continue to pummel others where snowfall measurements seem incomprehensible. Whether returning to school this week or not, vast numbers of Americans traveled somewhere during these past few weeks. Families of multiple generations met to enjoy dinners and exchange gifts. We were among those and we realized that in each of those where young people…

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Added by Jill Berkowicz & Ann Myers on January 4, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

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