As we gather the files and clean up the hard drive for 2015, we like to take a moment and look back on what topics we tackled on this blog and what our readers found most interesting and valuable for their practice.
One of our top priorities at the Center for Educational Leadership is to help district leaders, principals and teachers improve instruction in every classroom. Drawn from our experiences in the field, we hope these posts (along with our tools and services) give educators the knowledge and motivation to grow their practice and help all students succeed.
So, without further ado, here are our top five most popular blog posts for 2015 (click on each title to view the post):
by Joanna Michelson
It's a familiar challenge for educators across the country: while standards push us to raise the rigor of texts and decrease the amount of scaffolding, how can we best support students who read below grade level.
In this blog post, CEL Project Director Joanna Michelson takes a real-world example and shows step by step how a group of teachers collaboratively analyzed Elie Wiesel's Nobel lecture "Hope, Despair, and Memory" and found ways to help ninth grade students to comprehend and interact with the complex text. Read now
by Stephanie Teel
In 2011, Onalaska Middle School was consistently one of the lowest performing schools in Washington state. Three years later, the school was one of the highest performing.
Principal Stephanie Teel tells the remarkable transformation story and describes in detail how the school used "learning walks" to drive instructional improvement. Read now
by Sheeba Jacob
Over the past decade, there has been a significant transformation in the way principals interact with teachers. Principals are no longer just managers, they are also instructional leaders. Increasingly, they are learning how to support teachers in their practice and professional growth instead of just evaluating them. One of the most important skills for this work is providing targeted feedback.
CEL Project Director Sheeba Jacob explains what targeted feedback is, when it can be used and in what scenarios it is most effective. Read now
by Joanna Michelson
Teachers have always set goals for their students and for their teaching. But what used to be a fairly open-ended conversation in the principal's office or staff room has now become a critical component of a teacher's professional development. Driven by student and teacher growth-oriented evaluation systems, many districts have formalized the process and now require goal setting at least once a year.
CEL Project Director Joanna Michelson takes you step-by-step through a process that helps identify an area of focus aligned to student and teacher growth and promotes meaningful goal setting. Read now
by Sandy Austin
When asked what prevents them from focusing on instructional quality in their school, principals often have one answer: time. But while time is always a concern for principals, it is not the only one. Working with many principals across the country we have found that even when principals carve out the time to improve instruction, they are often at a loss for what to do.
To help principals with the complex task of instructional leadership, we have developed a instructional leadership inquiry cycle tool that helps principal supervisors and principals to collaboratively engage in a continuous process of instructional improvement and analysis. Read now