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Arizona Educators United?

Strike. Walk out.

In my 22 years in education, I never thought I'd hear those words. I remember marching along McDowell near 35th Avenue, signs in hand, speaking out about the lack of support for teachers. It was 1997.

I remember gathering in the cafeteria of Isaac Junior High and hearing our Superintendent tell us that there was no money, that the State's funding model for our zip codes was broken and that there was a law suit pending.  I remember veteran teachers voicing deep frustrations, tears shed, and wondering when I could just go lead wrestling practice....and then go home to my family.

Fast forward to this morning, sitting in my rental car, in a Salt Lake City parking lot, on a conference call talking to my leadership team back in Phoenix about closing school for 3 days. Managing food services, where will the kids go, who's going to be open, should we cancel our neighborhood clean up, will this work, what other scenarios should we run?

Then I get a text from my 15…
Recent posts

Academic Parent Teacher Teams - Parent Conferences Be Gone!

I've sat in my fair share of parent conferences. You all know the one, 15 minutes of forms, fliers, sheets you don't fully understand...only to finally see a letter grade that might or might not tell you how your child is performing.

It's a 200 year old way to keep parents and care-givers in the dark about public education.

There's a better way. Academic Parent Teacher Teams, or APTT. Attended by all the parents in your child's classroom. Led by the classroom teacher. Data driven. Performance measured. AND...wait for it...collaborative.

Done the right way, and I've done them the right way. You get 70 minutes to dive into instruction, standards and mastery. You learn a skill or strategy that can be done at home WITH your child. You're around other parents and can feel safe asking questions like, "I don't understand that word, what does it mean when you say _____?"

For more information on Academic Parent Teacher Team (APTT) implementation, visi…

Focus 5 - The Infinity Stones of Education Leadership

Big picture to small, here are 5 key questions that can guide nearly every single leadership scenario a school administrator will encounter.

Every. Single. One.

Seriously? Seriously.

What is it that I want my (district, charter, staff, parents, students, child) to be able to know and do?How will I know that my (district, charter, staff, parents, students, child) is able to do it?What's one thing that I can do, or have done, that contributes to the success of the (project, lesson, assessment, evaluation)?When I reflect on that one thing I did, how can I improve?What happens when my (district, charter, staff, parents, students, child) doesn't perform? Let's scaffold shall we?
Question one is pretty simple, straight forward. It emphasizes doing. Taking the proper tools and acting.
Question two demands some form of accountability. For the classroom, this might look like an artifact or assessment. At the 30,000 foot view, we could be talking about a strategic report to a Governi…

Armed Teachers?

While serving in the military, I was introduced to the terms force multiplier and force mitigation.
Permit me, dear reader, an explanation.
I served as a Forward Observer, 13Foxtrot, or FISTr. FO's are fire support specialists who have the ability to arrange for extra artillery, close air, mortar or naval gun ship ordinance when things get really dicey. We do this job with one tool, a radio. That radio has two critical parts necessary to it's function, without which nothing will happen. Antennae and batteries. With those two accessories, the radio is a force multiplier
In other words, when compared to a weapon (pistol, rifle, tank), it has nearly limitless capacity to incapacitate the enemy. A weapon is limited by the number of bullets in a magazine (clip) and the number of bullets one soldier can carry. It's not an efficient nor is it, in my opinion, a very effective tool of war.
Even more effective than a radio in war is an outward mindset - or that sense that we have…

For-learning schools

For-profit schools vs. For-learning schools

I hear a lot of banter about how profits are bad, people who earn them are bad. Wait what?!

Bill of the world's most prolific philanthropists, has made A LOT of profit by creating something that a lot of people needed/could use and presenting it in an arguable user-friendly way. He made profit, which allowed him to grow, make more profit, retire, and give it all away.

Profits allow us, the public, to play a role in the firing of people/services that we don't like, or to vote with our feet. Don't like those shoes, don't go back to that store. Disappointed with the Windows OS, buy an Apple.

So what about government services? What's their incentive to provide excellent service? Profits? No.

Back to the question...what incentive do government agencies have to give a superior product. They can't fired. They have no competition. So your telling me that they do it out of the goodness of their hearts? While the gr…


An open letter to Arizona Teachers United

RE: The narrative

For decades we've languished like a sick patient in recovery, or wounded in triage. Doing more and more with less and less. In Rick DuFour's book, In Praise of American Educators and How They Can Get Even Better, he points to credible evidence that stacks up nicely, nearly proving this point.

American teachers have never been better. Ever. So why isn't the general public more actionable & supportive. I mean we get the nod, the praise, the lip service, which is nice.

Comparatively speaking, our professional counterparts have what we need.

Collective bargaining power - united they approach the communities they serve and participate as a unit to ensure fiscal and operational viability.Tools they need - every officer, paramedic, and firefighter has what they need to do their job. The community never balks at making sure this is the case. Fiscal agreements - first responders know how much they're going to make, …

Prayer for an Educator

It's rare to sit in the staff lounge for the 30 minute lunch break we get and be able to reflect on one's career.

Today was one such day...causing a flood of memories.  I offer this prayer for educators
May you have protection when you do the home visit on the little girl who's father beat her with a 2x4 for getting a C.  May you have wisdom when consoling the teacher who gave her the C.
Go with courage to sit next to the little girl who all alone weeps at the lunch table because she has lice. Teach her mother with tenderness.
Be vigilant when the little boy describes the cigarette burn on his eye given him by his mother because he complained he was hungry.
Hold fast at the 9 o'clock hour, still at school prepping for another day, while your own children go to sleep not having seen you all day.
Have wisdom when all at home is falling down around you - and you know the children at school need you now more than ever.
Be with joy when the 35th student walks in your classroom.  Y…