Showing posts from April, 2015

Understand Your Impact

We are entering a very busy time of year that is challenging for just about every educator in the country. Deadlines need to be met, uncertainty is in the air with next year's plans, and teachers are doing all they can to meet the needs of their students in the remaining weeks of the school year. Typically February, March, and April are difficult months with a fair amount of negativity in the air, as educators often ask, "Will winter ever come to an end, where am I going to be teaching next year, or even, will I have a job next year?"  It is easy to get sucked into the end of the year busyness and stress: we sometimes need to be reminded why we are here.

There is also a certain amount of excitement with upcoming graduations, students finalizing choices for colleges, end of the year activities, and an overall buzz in the air. This year has been no exception at Epworth and Farley Elementary Schools, as students are expanding their learning on field trips, outdoor activitie…

More than a Number

Recently we were given the results of Iowa Assessments (the standardized test in our state) for third and fourth grade students.  I spent some time with teachers reviewing this data while examining areas of strength and opportunities for improvment, a routine exercise that we go through every year.  As I was looking at the data and the blue, green, and red colored cells on the spreadsheets, I couldn't help but think of a conversation that I had with one our instructional coaches a few weeks ago...

We are surrounded by data, numbers, targets, and goals that drive our work and decision making each day.  I am a firm believer in data and continuous improvement and feel that we have taken big steps in using the information we have to build on strengths and address deficiencies.  We utilize an assessment wall at Farley Elementary School that takes into consideration all available reading assessements to give the most accurate representation of where our students stand and what supports …