Masters in Governance: course one

Masters in Governance: course one

As part of their Governance U program, the California School Boards Association (CSBA) has created a five-course professional development series aimed at “equip[ping] board members and superintendents with the knowledge and skills to build and support an effective governance structure.” Yesterday was Course One for me, and it featured two presentations entitled Foundations of Effective Governance and Setting Direction. Here are my key takeaways from each session: Foundations of Effective Governance: A good portion of the morning session was a repeat from my primer at last December’s Annual Education Conference. However, three quotes stood out as particularly powerful: The first dealt with a topic very near and dear to all Americans, the concept of Government of the people. It’s a quote attributed to Henry M. Brickell and Regina H. Paul, from their book Time for Curriculum: How School Board Members Should Think About Curriculum, What School Board Members Should Do About Curriculum (which of course, I had to order). It states: The most remarkable thing about our country is this: ordinary citizens control almost every major institution, public and private…Does this make sense? What it makes is a democracy. We, the people, govern ourselves. The second quote came from Lillian Katz, an international leader in early childhood education: Each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children…The good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is also secured for all other people’s children. The third quote is by Margaret Mead, a famed American cultural anthropologist who has become famous for these words: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is...
On Netflix: The Gruffalo

On Netflix: The Gruffalo

First published in 1999, The Gruffalo has become an instant picture book classic. The Academy Award-nominated adaptation of the book currently being featured on Netflix makes a great family night flick! Rated: G Time: 28 minutes Trailer: Don’t have a Netflix account? Watch The Gruffalo on Amazon Instant...
Middle school grades and attendance are highly predictive of high school success

Middle school grades and attendance are highly predictive of high school success

Test scores, schmest scores. According to a November 2014 study published by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (UChicagoCCSR): Grades and attendance—not test scores—are the middle grade factors most strongly connected with both high school and college success. In fact, grades and attendance matter more than test scores, race, poverty, or other background characteristics for later academic success. Key findings from the report include: Only those students who leave eighth grade with GPAs of at least 3.0 have a moderate chance of earning a 3.0 GPA in high school—the threshold for being considered college-bound. and Strategies aimed at attendance improvement could likely have as much or more of a payoff for high school and college graduation as efforts aimed at improving test scores because test scores are hard to move and do not show much variability throughout middle and high school. Meanwhile, attendance shows considerably more variation and middle school attendance is much more predictive of passing high school classes than test scores. What are we doing to ensure that our children maintain a B average (or better) from grades 5 to 8? How do we make sure they attend the most school days possible, year in and year out? How we answer those questions may very well determine how successful our students are in high school and...

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