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Chris ONeal (not verified)

Great thoughts - I love the

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Great thoughts - I love the idea of just the digital camera use - simple, but very effective. I also like what some principals do with their students - a "breakfast with the principal" chat. It's an informal way for principals to keep on the pulse of what's going on in the student's minds and lives! Chris www.edleadersonline.org
Folwell Dunbar (not verified)

Another great introspection

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Another great introspection tool is the digital camera. I like to walk around campus and take reams of candid snapshots. I then share them during faculty meetings. We identify strengths and challenges in the pictures and look for "Photoshop" opportunities. I find that still images are far less intimidating than video – then again, the latter is truly the Holy Grail of self-reflection…
Ruth Manna (not verified)

Carol Whelan, I don't know

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Carol Whelan, I don't know if you'll see this post but I'm interested in what Tulane is doing with the New Orleans Public Schools. I'm an elementary teacher in Massachusetts and I'd like my school/school district to help in some way. Don't know what shape this might take, perhaps we could partner with a school. Recently I was in New Orleans for my son's graduation from Tulane and in driving around was amazed at the extent of existing problems. Although there was awareness after Katrina, it seems like the rest of the country has forgotten.
Chris O'Neal (not verified)

I agree - I think all

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I agree - I think all schools, even with good numbers, benefit from looking inward. I believe it's easy to get into the trap of thinking that once the numbers look good, all is well. As beneficial as standardized testing can be, it can lead us into the mindset that the test scores are our ultimate goal - when, in fact, our goals are much bigger than test scores. I would hope that any principal would be open to growth, so perhaps even starting a very informal dialogue about needing help with your lowest (even if it's not so low) performance area on standardized tests, a common theme of need across a certain grade level, or even requests from students about certain types of projects, etc. might be a way to start a bigger, ongoing discussion. If there is a small team of teachers who all share an interest in beginning a school improvement exercise, perhaps they could be coordinated into having an unobtrusive meeting with the principal to spark the idea of being even better than good test scores. Most principals are certainly interested in innovative teaching practices, and having a good baseline can be the start to that endeavor. Project-based learning, technology integration, etc. are all proven ways to extend learning, even for those students who already perform well on tests. If you're not already doing projects in classes, take a look around the Edutopia website for some great samples and how-tos. Perhaps sharing some of this information with other teachers or your principal could spark the interest, then lead into the topic of examining just where your school is - in a bigger context outside test scores.
Terry (not verified)

Even though our schools

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Even though our schools 'numbers' are good, we would benefit greatly from a school x-ray. Our principal would never let it happen. How can we get passed that?
Michele Baboolal (not verified)

Chris, thank you for

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Chris, thank you for sharing this unique piece of work. I will certainly look at how it can be used here in Jamaica. Will let you know how this progresses.
Chris O'Neal (not verified)

Carol - regarding the

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Carol - regarding the surveys, depending on how deep you need to go, I would suggest checking out www.profilerpro.com. First, it's free for basic educational use. Second, there are lots of great surveys already done on everything from self-assessments of one's strength against the ISTE (www.iste.org) technology standards, to skill levels for technology use, to special education expertise, etc. I use their survey tools often.
Randy Averso (not verified)

This is very useful angle on

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This is very useful angle on data-driven decision-making. It is always helpful to get meaningful tools and templates with which to manage the intensive task of mining available data and making sense of its applications for our practices. Excellent work, Mr. O'Neal - thanks for sharing!
Carol Whelan (not verified)

Chris, Thanks for sharing

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Chris, Thanks for sharing your work. At Tulane we are working with a new Charter School System (K-12) and I'd love to share the School Improvement X-Ray with them. Also, Jim is working at the newly developing high school. Are there any technology surveys that you'd recommend or share?
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Chris O'Neal Educational consultant and former Edutopia.org blogger

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