Friday, April 24, 2015

The Principal: Three Key Impacts

I attended the Building learning Communities Conference last year and found Michael Fullan's keynote intriguing. He suggests that we should look at research evidence to hone our leadership skills to be purposeful and strategic.

What do you think about Michael Fullan's three key impacts on deeper learning and learning outcomes? 

  • Teaching and pedagogy
  • Collaborative culture
  • Technology as an accelerator

What does that look like in your school and our district? 
How can we use technology as an 'accelerator'?

Teaching is simple.........

Good teachers strive everyday for the same thing: We want to challenge our students so each one is able to reach his or her full potential. So how do we do that?

Well one way would be to make the tests harder so fewer students get 20/20. You could teach to the highest level student in the class and hope the rest of the class rise to the challenge. That's great teaching, right?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age.

Who Owns the Learning?
This is the key question that Alan November, an internationally recognized leader in education technology, asks about 21st century learning. He argues that before we add more technology into the classrooms, we need to look at the culture of teaching and learning. 

Does this apply to school districts with a long and strong record of academic excellence I wonder? Given our MCAS and SAT results here in Westford, we must be providing high quality teaching to our students. So why do we need to change anything?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Space By metalyman (Labeled for non-commercial use)
Star Trek
'.....To boldly go where no man has gone before.' 

Westford's Version: 
'.....To boldly go where few have gone before.' 

I’m relatively new to Westford Public Schools, but one thing that immediately stands out to me, is that we do not blindly follow popular educational trends. Before we dive into new initiatives, we consider what’s best for students and learning outcomes, while spending taxpayer funds as judiciously as possible. In my opinion this is a very good thing and is one of the reasons Westford was recently named by Nerdwallet as the “Best School System For Your Buck in Massachusetts.”

How does this impact our transition to a Digital Learning Environment?
It means we will not jump into a Digital Learning initiative which focuses primarily on putting computers on students desks. We will start by considering learning outcomes and research the best ways to support student learning with technology, so we can achieve our learning objectives. Our approach is not a quick fix. Some may want things to move more quickly and get devices into the classrooms sooner. We are committed to increasing the number of devices in our schools  as quickly as possible, based on our Vision for Digital Learning and available funding.

You can feel reassured that Westford is not alone in our approach. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

We want more! More! More!                       

That is the overall theme of feedback from the this year's Summer Institute. We could all feel the excitement and energy that developed through the day. So what is it that everyone is getting so excited about?

Believe it or not: educational leadership in the digital age. On Wednesday the leadership team had our eyes opened to the potential that Web 2.0 tools and social media offer. Now we want to grab hold of the possibilities and run with it.

The highlight of the day and what everyone was so excited about, was the presentation by Patrick Larkin, Assistant Superintendent of Burlington Public Schools, who spoke about Burlington's journey: Social Media as a Powerful Tool. 

Our thanks and gratitude go out to Patrick, whose presentation was engaging, enlightening, honest and inspirational.

Some key take aways: