Why My Suits Hang in the Back of My Closet

I have suits, and lots of them. I used to wear one serveral times a week when I first entered administration. Before that, I was an elementary teacher with recess duty, after school car duty, and reading groups on the carpet. My kids would find comfy places around the room to read and write, and … Continue reading Why My Suits Hang in the Back of My Closet

Standards Based Grading Made My Kid Average

This just had to be shared. I’m so thankful I came across it. Such wisdom and common sense in this post. Thank you, Lisa Westman, for writing this, and for sticking to the purpose of grading, which is to provide feedback to the learner so he/she can progress. It is not about the parents, it’s about the children. It’s not about the comfortability of age-old practice. It’s about being innovative in order to prepare our kids for what’s next. There simply isn’t a reason we should be continuing a practice of assigning letter grades and/or percentages simply because it has always been done and it is easier for adults. Its time to evolve into what works, and is proven by research to work.

"Put me in, Coach!"


This post was originally published in @PeterMDeWitt’s blog Finding Common Ground in Education Week.

Today’s guest post is written by frequent Finding Common Ground blogger Lisa Westman. Lisa is an instructional coach specializing in differentiation for Skokie School District 73.5 in suburban Chicago. She taught middle school gifted humanities, ELA, and SS for twelve years before becoming a coach.

Recently a friend called me in a panic. She was beside herself because she had just received her seventh-grade daughter’s new standards-based report card.  My friend relayed that her daughter (who was formerly an “A” student) was now “just average” according to the new report card.

I asked my friend if the report card had the word “average” on it and my friend said, “no.” She elaborated that her daughter had received all “meets” and no “exceeds” on her report card, and, therefore, her daughter…

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From the Mouths of Babes Comes Perspective

Over the 18 years I have served in education, I have collected pieces of conversations that grounded me in my beliefs and values in the profession. I have written hundreds of kid quotes down in journals, on sticky notes, in electronic documents, and in my phone. Kids say the darndest things! Some are hilarious, some … Continue reading From the Mouths of Babes Comes Perspective

Connecting for Kids

What do you do when you are trying to do what’s best for kids?  We CONNECT. We connect with kids. We connect with parents and families.  We connect as teachers.  We connect as leaders.  We find any way possible to connect, so we can do what is best for our kids. Education was once considered … Continue reading Connecting for Kids

Recharging Conversation: The Power of the Hashtag

We want you to harness the power of culture and the power of people so that you can develop teachers and schools that are better than ever before. ~Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker Imagine gathering at a local coffee shop with colleagues and friends. You have all decided to set aside time for positive, intentional … Continue reading Recharging Conversation: The Power of the Hashtag

Be a Miracle Helper

Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing. ~Wayne Dyer Miracles happen every day, I am convinced of it. I am not always a witness, or involved in them. It occurred to me recently that I don't see or experience them often because I do not have a habit of expecting and searching for them. … Continue reading Be a Miracle Helper