Blogs on California

Blogs on CaliforniaRSS
Elena AguilarFebruary 26, 2014

Instructional Rounds are a process for school improvement that are based on the Medical Rounds model. It brings groups of educators together to look at what is happening in their schools, develop a collaborative learning environment, and improve student learning. This year, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) where I work has taken Instructional Rounds to scale: Every school in the district will host two Instructional Rounds, over 800 classrooms will be visited, and the learning experience of some 10,000 children will be observed. The broad focus for Rounds this year is on academic discussions.

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Suzie BossApril 4, 2013

"Design your own shoe." That's what high school students thought they were signing up to do when they volunteered for an immersive experience in design thinking.

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With all the media chatter about test scores, merit pay, failing schools, and teacher quality, it's sometimes easy for those outside the school system to forget that it's people -- just everyday people with a calling for education -- who make up that system. Enter the Go Public Project, a labor of love by filmmakers and public school parents Jim and Dawn O'Keeffe. Jim and Dawn sent fifty film crews, both pro and student, into the twenty-eight schools in Pasadena, California to paint an intimate, and very human, portrait of a day in the life of an American public school district.

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Ken EllisJuly 17, 2012

The evening was filled with tales of despair, struggle and ultimate success. The Carlston Family Foundation was recognizing six outstanding California teachers, nominated by their former students who graduated from high schools in high poverty/high risk environments and went on to succeed at prestigious universities. An appreciative audience of family members, friends, students and colleagues were alternately roaring with laughter and fighting back tears, as they listened to the teachers describe their journeys from cluelessness to mastery in the classroom.

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Elena AguilarJune 1, 2012

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
--Proverbs

Does your school have a mission or a vision? Does it mean something and inform decision-making? Or is it just something posted on some wall/paper/handbook that you vaguely remember? Do you have a vision for yourself as a teacher, principal, coach, etc.? What do you feel is your mission?

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Elena AguilarApril 18, 2012

I work as a Transformational Leadership Coach in the Oakland Public Schools. I coach individuals, schools, and the educational system towards transformation. But what is transformation? Is it possible to coach to something I can't define? I know that what we have now is not working for the majority of children. Beyond all the statistics about graduation rates and literacy levels, I know that most kids don't love school and wake up every morning aching to get to that place where their minds, bodies, hearts, and souls are nurtured.

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Elena AguilarMarch 16, 2012

Teachers and administrators all over are trying to figure out how to support English Learners (ELs). One of the schools that I work with, United for Success Academy (UFSA), in Oakland, CA, has launched a concerted effort in the last year to address the needs of their ELs who comprise some 90 percent of the student body.

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David MarkusFebruary 22, 2012

Every once in a while, when visiting a successful school, you see something that makes your jaw drop, something so extraordinary, you have to stop and make sure what you saw is actually what it appears to be. What stopped me was the sight of more than 200 middle schoolers sitting in silence, eyes closed, nearly motionless, meditating together for 15 uninterrupted minutes. It happens twice a day at San Francisco's Visitacion Valley Middle School. They call it Quiet Time.

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Elena AguilarFebruary 15, 2012

This one's for you, Alexandra.

I'm feeling compelled to add to the case for art in schools and make another plea that as budgets are slashed this spring, funding for the arts in schools is preserved.

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Suzie BossFebruary 10, 2012

It takes courage to stand up to a bully or challenge hate speech. On K-12 and college campuses across the country, students and educators are coming together as "upstanders" to change their communities for the better. Their stories of everyday heroism are highlighted in a compelling new documentary and accompanying educational campaign called Not In Our Town: Class Actions.

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