Communicating About “No Grades”

Last week, we invited parents in to explore what reporting looks like when there is no number, no grade. We have purposely avoided stand and deliver type community forums as we discuss the shift from traditional grading systems to a proficiency based system that doesn’t rely on grades. This was mostly an intuitive decision rather than one based on any …

Supporting Drastic School Change

As we started this year, our leadership team acknowledged that doing something that nobody had ever done before could be pretty scary. We also acknowledged our strengths as we tried to start out in a proactive and positive note. Recognition In order to recognize the hard work that people had already done and the work they had ahead, we bought …

Offering Retakes is Not Competency Based Learning

One of my colleagues asked a question that inspired this post. Based on what she is seeing as her own school makes the shift, her question was, “Is having a student take the same test over and over again until they pass it, really proficiency based learning”? In Vermont we use the term proficiency which is interchangeable with competency. Competency …

How to Eliminate Grades in Your Lifetime

Two years ago we would dream about getting rid of grades over lunch in the faculty room; something that would never happen in our lifetimes. If you had told me that we would be getting rid of grades for the class of 2021, I probably would have made some snarky remark about how that  “would be nice”.  So how did it …

3 Ways to Get Buy-in for Radical School Changes

Getting buy-in for radical school changes is a common complaint of school leaders. It is important to remember how you got to the point of believing a certain change was necessary. There was probably a learning process; you read books, heard podcasts, saw a compelling keynote speaker or heard something from a student that convinced you. Those experiences were all processed …

school innovation

Is There a Right Direction for Education?

The education community has frequently been accused of a swinging pendulum effect; implementing one initiative after another and then swinging back to the original. This has caused an inordinate amount of skepticism and apathy amongst long time teachers who don’t believe any innovation is worth implementing since it will just go by the wayside eventually, leaving all their hard work …

Marketing for School Change

Communicating About School Change I have been thinking about marketing a lot these days.  We want to communicate with stakeholders about school change projects but the language can be a huge barrier and can increase fear because it is so unfamiliar.  I have been playing around with messaging and documents. I have been focusing on communication methods.  But, I think …

Solutions to Test Prep

I was recently in Texas for South by Southwest Edu and I spoke with some teachers who are bound by some very strict instructional limitations because of what they identify as testing requirements.  At a recent conference in Baltimore, we heard from someone who was actually docked pay because of test scores.  These people always say that they must teach …