Tag Archives: administration

How Principals Can Help Teachers, and Entire Schools, Build Energy

How Principals Can Help Teachers, and The Entire School, Build Energy

How can principals help teachers build energy? It's an enduring question for a reason, with many possible answers. Don Graves once visited a school where each Wednesday morning the faculty met to have a breakfast of rolls, juice, and coffee and then moved into various curriculum focus groups. The faculty had one half hour together before school and then one halof hour after the children arrived on the busses. The staff ran the sessions and discussion groups. “I have but one requirement,” the principal said, “that everyone attend and no one be alone in their room. I make sure the kids are in a good situation for their half hour. Every June we reevaluate the Wednesday morning program and decide what specific interest groups will follow for the next year. In previous years we’ve produced lots of things: parent forums, a new math curriculum; we prepared a language arts presentation for parents.” This particular program had been going on for ten years. There is renewal for the staff in the middle of the week, and above all, keeps the staff in touch with each other and develops new ideas.

Continue reading

Aligning Teacher and Admin Goals to Get The Most Out of Evaluation

E08879_Gabriel and Woulfin_Bookcover_0358

Teacher evaluation can be tough for everyone involved. And in the context of literacy instruction, teachers and administrators oftentimes are not on the same page when it comes to understanding what good literacy instruction looks like, and what criteria to set for evaluation.

In Making Teacher Evaluation Work, Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin examine the roles of teachers, teacher leaders, coaches, and principals in supporting high-quality literacy instruction in the context of accountability and evaluation policy. 

Continue reading

The Need for Making Teacher Evaluation Work

E08879_Gabriel and Woulfin_Bookcover_0358With new-generation teacher evaluation policies in place, the evaluation process may seem as daunting as ever—for both teachers and evaluators. And when both sides have a different understanding of what teacher evaluation looks like in the context of literacy instruction, evaluations can end up entirely unproductive.

As Making Teacher Evaluation Work points out, it doesn't have to be this way.  Authors Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin walk you through the entire teacher evaluation process and offer context and strategies aimed at improving the process for everyone involved. The authors clearly show how effective evaluations provide the foundation for collaboration that improves literacy instruction, promotes teacher growth, and supports schoolwide improvement.

Continue reading

Evaluating Beginning Teachers

E08879_Gabriel and Woulfin_Bookcover_0343

As a beginning teacher, not knowing what areas of your teaching to improve can be overwhelming. This is where teacher evaluations come in handy.

In Making Teacher Evaluation Work, authors Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin examine the evaluation process from both a teacher and administrator point of view. The authors suggest ways to bring these two different perspectives together with the goal of improving the evaluation process, and using teacher evaluations to improve teaching. 

Continue reading

Creating Empowered Teacher and Evaluator Relationships

E08879_Gabriel and Woulfin_Bookcover_0386


In Making Teacher Evaluation Work, Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin walk you through the entire teacher evaluation process—from policy to practice—offering context and strategies with the goal of improving the process for everyone involved. The authors examine the roles of teachers, teacher leaders, coaches, and principals in supporting high-quality literacy instruction in the context of accountability and evaluation policy.

Teacher evaluations can cause unwanted tensions on both sides. In the following video, authors Rachael and Sarah discuss what an empowered teacher and evaluator relationship looks like, as well as how to maintain one.

Continue reading

Discussions with small school districts . . .

Grant Funding Success

Carissa O’Gara has worked at the Moultonborough, New Hampshire school district since 1986 as a learning disabilities and reading specialist; she is currently the Title I project manager. She is passionate about reading and writing and, when not teaching, she loves to be outdoors hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing.

I asked Carissa how her district transformed their reading program.

“We were using a basal reader, and we wanted to move away from that canned program and move kids into reading more authentic kinds of literature. So we formed a study group around Fountas & Pinnell’s Guiding Readers and Writers: Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy. Every Wednesday, the teachers got together and discussed what we needed to do to unfold a whole new way of thinking about teaching. This yearlong starting point has led to a completely different approach toward meeting the diverse needs of all of our students.”

Carissa also told me how excited she is about Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention System:

“I cannot say enough positive about the impact of this program: it’s a little like magic. It’s very comprehensive, embedding reading, writing, word study, and vocabulary instruction, and addresses all the areas in which you want students to become proficient—comprehension, communicating ideas, fluency, vocabulary, all the components of high-quality reading instruction. The kids (and their parents) love the materials. The leveled books are so well written. You can tell there’s been a lot of care put into the details. It’s a really good fit for our students. It’s been a very exciting step.

Leveled Literacy Intervention is an especially good fit for a small school because professional development is built in. It’s not often I can travel to offsite workshops. With the resources on the Heinemann website and the CDs that accompany the teacher manual and resource guide, I have what I need to do the kind of teaching that’s going to help my students move forward.”

Is your district considering moving away from a basal program? Authors Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell have already helped hundreds of thousands of K–3 teachers engage, inform, and inspire early readers and writers. Now, with Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3–6), Fountas and Pinnell support teachers on the next leg of the literacy journey, addressing the unique challenges of teaching upper elementary students.

View Fountas & Pinnell’s Language and Literacy framework here.

Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) is small-group supplementary literacy intervention designed for students who find reading and writing difficult. Through systematically designed lessons and original, engaging leveled books, LLI supports learning in both reading and writing and helps students expand their knowledge of language and words and how they work. The goal of LLI is to bring students to grade-level achievement in reading.

Click here to Download a digital sampler.

About the author: Pamela is a Resource Support Representative at Heinemann. She has ten years of publishing industry experience. Pamela is pleased to work with our customers in the Upper Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.