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New Federal Government Report Finds that Disproportionate School Discipline Actions Persist with Black, Male, and Special Education Students (Part I)

Manipulating Policy, Buying Programs, and Following Federally-Funded Technical Assistance Centers Do Not WorkWhy be Surprised. . . about Why We Aren’t Succeeding?Dear Colleagues,Introduction On Apri...

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School Climate, Student Voice, On-Campus Shootings, and now Corporal Punishment??? (Part III)

Listening to Students—When They Make Sense; and Not Listening to Students—When They’re Ready to KillDear Colleagues,IntroductionI honestly was not planning a Part III to this Series—a Series that was...

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School Shootings, Comprehensive Prevention, Mandatory (Mental Health) Reporting, and Standardized Threat Assessments (Part II)

What Schools, Staff, and Students Need to Do, and The Help that They Need to Do ItDear Colleagues,IntroductionToo many times during my career, I have heard school staff members across the country stat...

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School Shootings: History Keeps Repeating Itself (Part I)

What We Already Know, and What Schools, Staff, and Students Need to DoDear Colleagues,IntroductionJanuary 3:  St. John’s, MI (East Olive Elementary School)January 4:  Seattle, WA (...

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The Folly and Frustration of Evaluating Schools and Staff Based on the Progress of Students with Significant Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Challenges

Understanding the Student, Home, and Community Factors that Impact Challenging StudentsDear Colleagues,“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but...

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How Strategic Planning and Organizational Development is Done by Every School . . . Every Year [Part II of II]

An Introduction to Successful School-based Strategic Planning Science-to-PracticeDear Colleagues,IntroductionThe Elementary and Secondary Education/Every Student Succeeds Act(ESEA/ESSA) requires every...

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Why Strategic Planning and Organizational Development Must be done by Every School . . . Every Year [Part I of II]

Preparing for ESEA/ESSA:What Effective Schools Do to Continuously Improve....and What Ineffective Schools Need to do to Significantly ImproveDear Colleagues,IntroductionHAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!As I fly ove...

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The Top Ten Ways that Educators Make Bad, Large-Scale Programmatic Decisions (Part I of II)

The Hazards of ESEA/ESSA’s Freedom and Flexibility at the State and Local LevelsDear Colleagues,IntroductionAs we plan in earnest for the full implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education...

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Back to the Future: What My High School Reunion Reminded Me about High School Reform

The Non-Academic Essentials for High School Students’ SuccessDear Colleagues,Introduction I hope that all of you had a great summer. . . but for some of you, the summer is over, and the new school y...

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School Climate and Safety, and School Discipline and Classroom Management

Building Strong Schools to Strengthen Student Outcomes—A Summer Review of Previous Blogs (IV of IV)Dear Colleagues,IntroductionI hope you are doing well, and that your summer has been both peaceful an...

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Students’ Mental Health Status and Wellness, and School Discipline and Disproportionality

Building Strong Schools to Strengthen Student Outcomes—A Summer Review of Previous Blogs (III of IV)Dear Colleagues,IntroductionAs our long, hot summer continues, I hope you are doing well.If you keep...

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The New Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA/ESSA), and Multi-Tiered and Special Education Services

Building Strong Schools to Strengthen Student Outcomes—A Summer Review of Previous Blogs (II of IV)Dear Colleagues,IntroductionHappy (early) Fourth of July !!!Knowing that we are sometimes not able to...

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School Improvement, Strategic Planning, and Effective School and Schooling Policies and Practices

Building Strong Schools to Strengthen Student Outcomes—A Summer Review of Previous Blogs (I of IV)Dear Colleagues,IntroductionWhile some of you are still working, most educators are off “for summer va...

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Effective School-wide Discipline Approaches: Avoiding Educational Bandwagons that Promise the Moon, Frustrate Staff, and Potentially Harm Students

Implementation Science and Systematic Practice versus Pseudoscience, Menu-Driven Frameworks, and “Convenience Store” ImplementationDear Colleagues,IntroductionFor 30 years or more, “School Discipline”...

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A Multi-Tiered School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management Model to Guide Your FAPE (and even Disproportionality) Decisions

The Endrew F. Decision Re-Defines a “Free Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE) for Students with Disabilities (Part III of III)Dear Colleagues,ForewordOn March 22nd, the Supreme Court made history by...

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The Endrew F. Decision Re-Defines a “Free Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE) for Students with Disabilities

A Multi-Tiered Academic Instruction-to- Intervention Model to Guide Your FAPE Decisions (Part II of III)Dear Colleagues,IntroductionOn March 22nd, the Supreme Court made history by considering the dep...

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Special Education Services Just Got Easier. . . and Harder (The Endrew F. Supreme Court Decision in the Court's Own Words)

The Endrew F. Decision Re-Defines a “Free Appropriate Public Education" (FAPE) for Students with Disabilities (Part I of III)Dear Colleague,IntroductionOn March 22nd, the Supreme Court made history by...

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What Happens When School Leaders Make Decisions Not for the Greater Good, but for the Greater Peace

“You Can Please Some of the People Some of the Time. . . But You Can’t Please All of the People All of the Time”Dear Colleague,IntroductionAs many of you know, I consult with school districts all over...

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The Revolving Door of the Superintendency: A Case Study on Resetting the Course of a School District

When Mission, Vision, and Values Count More than Resources, Requirements, and ResultsDear Colleague,"A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their ener...

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Federal and State Policies ARE NOT Eliminating Teasing and Bullying in Our Schools

Teasing and Bullying is Harming our Students Psychologically and Academically: Here's How to Change this Epidemic through Behavioral Science and Evidence-based PracticesDear Colleague,Introduction...

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ESEA/ESSA, School Improvement, Race/Ethnic Status, and Students with Disabilities

We Need to Differentiate Disability Just as We Differentiate Race and EthnicityDear Colleague,IntroductionHistorically, the 2001 No Child Left Behind version of the Elementary and Secondary Education...

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ESEA/ESSA Tells Schools and Districts: Build Your Own Multi-Tier System of Supports for Your Students’ Needs

Focus on Your Principles, Students, and Staff. . . and Verify the ESEA/ESSA “Guidance” Advocated by Some National GroupsIntroductionLast week, I was testifying as an expert witness in a Due Process He...

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Education Week Series on RtI Highlights Kentucky/ Appalachian Mountain Grant Site’s Successful (Project ACHIEVE) School Discipline Program

An Overview of the Scientific Components Behind this Success, and a Free Implementation Guide for Those Who Want to FollowDear Colleague,Happy New Year !!! I hope that your holiday season was filled w...

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What the Next Director of the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Needs to Do to "Right the Ship"

My “First 100 Days” if I was Appointed the New OSEP DirectorDear Colleagues,This is clearly a pivotal time for our country—politically, on all social and economic fronts, relative to our national and...

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When Character Education Programs Do Not Work: The Difference between “Being Aware” and “Behaving”

TEACHING Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Skills Requires Behavioral InstructionDear Colleagues,The marketing of “Character Education” curricula, programs, and materials is a big business in this cou...

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Beating Kids in Schools: How Corporal Punishment Reinforces Bias, Violence, Trauma, Poor Social Problem-Solving, and the Fallacy of Intervention

The Alternative? Eliminate Corporal Punishment by Preventing its Need, and Implementing Interventions that Actually Change Student BehaviorDear Colleagues,Early in my career—well over 30 years ago—I s...

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Braiding Five Critical Concerns for Children: Reading Instruction, Grade Retention, Skill Remediation, Response-to-Intervention, and Chronic Absences

Why Effective Practice Needs to Dictate Good Policy (Rather than the Other Way Around)Dear Colleague,There are times in education where we get so focused on the individual trees in our forest, that we...

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National Policies, State Procedures, and Local Practices: Avoiding Untested Traps and Unhelpful Trends

Links to My “Most-Liked” Blogs: Effective Practice, Questionable Policies, and Unproven BandwagonsDear Colleague,Since 2003, I have been writing this Blog. . . analyzing essential policies and critica...

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U.S. Department of Education Reminds Educators about Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports for Students with Disabilities

But… Watch Out for Their References and RecommendationsDear Colleagues,In this day and age where we are inundated by literally millions of news-related, job-specific, and social-media “feeds” each day...

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Political Doublespeak, Students with Disabilities, and Common Sense: A Legal Case Study on Students’ Rights and Standards-based IEPs

How Departments of Education Use Language, Fear, and Ignorance to Get their WayDear Colleagues,I now do a lot of Expert Witness work around the country- - usually helping parents and legal advocacy fi...

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From One Extreme to the Other: Changing School Policy from “Zero Tolerance” to “Total Tolerance” Will Not Work

Decreasing Disproportionate Discipline Referrals and Suspensions Requires Changing Student and Staff BehaviorDear Colleagues,As we begin the new school year, many districts and schools are appropriate...

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Effective School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management: The Five Components that Every School Needs

Reflections on a National Survey of Administrators and TeachersDear Colleagues,I hope you had a great summer. . . but (believe it or not), for some of you the summer is already over- - and school has...

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Rethinking School Improvement and Success, Staff Development and Accountability, and Students' Academic and Behavioral Proficiency

Using ESEA/ESSA’s New Flexibility to Replace the U.S. Department of Education’s Ineffective NCLB InitiativesDear Colleagues,In my last Blog post (July 9, 2016), I discussed:Why Students Don't Behave:...

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Why Students Don't Behave? Because We are not Teaching Them the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Skills They Need

The Unfulfilled Promise of Education: Students’ Social, Emotional, and Behavioral SkillsWhy the “Soft Skills” are the Hard Skills, and Why they are Essential for Students’ Academic SuccessDear Colleag...

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ADHD Students in School: Helping Them to be Successful in the Classroom

New CDC Report: Why Behavioral Interventions at Home and School are Needed to “Add Value” Even When the Medication “is Working”Dear Colleague,According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagno...

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How to Improve your Chronically Absent Students’ Attendance… During the Summer Break

Why Now is the Best Time to Analyze, Understand, Plan, and Implement Strategic Interventions for your Most-Absent StudentsDear Colleagues,Earlier this year, on March 20th, I asserted that (grade) Rete...

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The Difference between Social Stories and Social Skills Training? A BIG Difference!

If You Don’t Know, Get a Consult. . . Before You End Up in CourtDear Colleague, As most of you concluded or have near-concluded your school year, I spent most of this past week in Court. Not to wo...

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Student Engagement (Down), Teacher Job Satisfaction (Down), School Safety and Academic Expectations (Down)

Helping to Raise our Students and Schools UpDear Colleague,In today’s message, I am actually going to start with the “punch lines” and work backwards.In working backwards, I am going to weave together...

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School Resource Officers: Helping or Hurting Students and School Discipline?

Integrating Hiring, Training, and Deployment Criteria for School Resource Officers, School-based Police, and Security Guards into States’ ESEA-Required Bullying, Restraint, and Suspension PlansDear Co...

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Grade Retention is NOT an Intervention: How WE Fail Students when THEY are Failing in School

Improving Grade Retention Policy, Practice, and ResultsDear Colleagues,Last week, I was sitting in on a series of meetings between the multidisciplinary Student Assistance Team (involving the Principa...

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The New ESEA/ESSA: Discontinuing the U.S. Department of Education’s School Turn-Around, and Multi-tiered Academic (RtI) and Behavioral (PBIS) System of Support (MTSS) Frameworks

Using ESEA/ESSA’s New Flexibility to Purge the U.S. Department of Education’s Ineffective NCLB InitiativesDear Colleagues,Let’s start here:We DO need tohelp failingschools to turn-around and improve.W...

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Reviewing Mindfulness and Other Mind-Related Programs: More Bandwagons that Need to be Derailed? (Part II)

Why are Schools Wasting their Time and Resources on Fads with Poor Research and Unrealistic Results?Dear Colleagues,Over the past year or more, the educational community has become obsessed with a num...

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Reviewing Mindfulness and Other Mind-Related Programs: Have We Just Lost our Minds? (Part I)

Why Schools Sometimes Waste their Time and (Staff) Resources on Fads with Poor Research and Unrealistic ResultsDear Colleagues,It is amazing to me that some schools and districts claim that they do no...

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Building Strong Staff Relationships and Effective, Productive Teams- - The Ultimate Staff Strategies for School Success (Part II)

The 7 C’s of Staff Success: Building Strong RelationshipsDear Colleagues,Happy Belated New Year !!!! With the holiday season and our transition into a new year now passed. . . and at least two weeks b...

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May the Force be with You- - The Ultimate Organizational Strategies for School Success (Part I)

Dear Colleagues,After months of build-up, the new Star Wars movie was released a few days ago. . . not surprisingly, to record audiences.On the one hand, it is amazing that this film series- - which b...

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Rich District, Poor District: Common Sense Practices to Maximize Resources and Improve Student Outcomes

It’s Not Always about the Money, HoneyDear Colleagues,I hope that your December has gone well so far. . . and that you are looking forward to a wonderful holiday season.The sun is now rising in the Ea...

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New U.S. Department of Education Report: Students in RtI Tier II Interventions are Losing Ground

What the Report Says. . . Why RtI is Not Working. . . Recommendations for Improving the RtI ProcessDear Colleagues,This past week, a new federal report, Evaluation of Response to Intervention Practice...

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How do Teachers Influence Students’ Classroom Self-Management? Research to Practice Recommendations

New Research Report: Positive Classroom Climates and Relationships Most Influence Student MotivationDear Colleagues,As a parent and a presenter, there are times that I joke (??!!) about adolescence be...

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Is Your Strategic Plan Focused on Outcomes… or Just a Direction?

There are “Many Roads to Rome”—but You Need an Address and a GPS to Get ThereDear Colleagues,As the saying goes, “There are many roads to Rome.” And that is true.But after traveling in Italy this summ...

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When Kids Can’t Read: Policy and Practice Mistakes that Make it Worse

Reading Proficiency, Unprepared Students, Untrained Teachers, and Ill-Advised Responses: A National Dilemma and New National ReportDear Colleagues,Since the early 1990s (and even before), our schools...

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The Beginning of the New School Year Starts in April

[This Blog was originally published by SmartBlog on Education on April 30, 2015]Cherry blossoms. . . . baseball season. . . . high stakes assessments. As schools complete our nation’s annual rite of t...

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New NEA Policy Brief on School Discipline Highlights Project ACHIEVE as Effective Model

NEA Brief Describes Project ACHIEVE’s Successful School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management ApproachesDear Colleague,As the new school year begins for many of us, the importa...

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Donald Trump, Negative Campaigns, and Social Skills: Modeling Intolerance for our Students?

Why the Education Community Needs to Seize this Teachable MomentThe campaign season that will elect our next President has clearly begun, and we have been hurled- - like it or not- - into a teachable...

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The Seven Sure Solutions to School Success: How Many Do You Need?

Looking to the Future by Reviewing the PastDear Colleagues,There are times when all of us need to pause, consider, reconsider, and regroup. This especially important given the speed of our personal an...

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The Unfulfilled Promise of Education: Students’ Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Skills

Why the “Soft Skills” are the Hard Skills, and Why they are Essential for Students’ Academic Success- - What Outcomes should be Targeted?Dear Colleagues,For all of the rhetoric about ensuring that stu...

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School Disproportionality and the Charleston Murders: Systemic Change vs. State Statutes

Why New State Discipline Statutes will NOT Solve the Minority/Special Education Disproportionality Problem in Our Schools. . . Connections with Ferguson, Baltimore, and now Charleston, SCDear Colleagu...

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School Improvement? The Questions your Department of Education Needs to Know

A New Federal Report Confirms that State Departments of Education are Trying, but Not Succeeding. . .Twelve Essential School Improvement Questions Needed to Jump-Start the ProcessDear Colleague,OK. ....

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Parents and Students in Jail: How are Schools Helping?

How do Schools Support Students with Parents in Jail and Students who, Themselves, are Incarcerated?Dear Colleague,Prison. . .Jail. . .Juvenile Correction. . . Detention Facilities. . . Schools.There...

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Extending the School Day? Is it Due to Ineffectiveness, Disengagement, or Enrichment?

Are Schools Extending the School Day (and Year) to Compensate for Ineffective Teaching and Student Disengagement, or to Enhance Elective, Enrichment, or Extracurricular Opportunities?Dear Colleague,As...

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The NEW ESEA Draft: Tell Congress that Capital Letters Make a Difference-- An Open Letter to Congress

How the U.S. Department of Education has Consciously Confused its Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Framework with ESEA’s “positive behavioral supports” LanguageDear Colleagues,Pro...

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March Madness: How Effective Schools are Like Successful Basketball Teams

How to apply the Characteristics of a Successful Basketball Program to the Design and Process of an Effective SchoolWith many sports enthusiasts spending this and next week continuing their participat...

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Restorative Practices and Reducing Suspensions: The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

A New Center for Civil Rights Remedies Report Concludes (again) that Schools are NOT Closing the Minority and Exceptional Student Discipline GapReports say that the Chicago Public Schools’ Restorative...

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Be a Hero to Your District’s Administrators: How to Stop Your Best Teachers from Leaving your School, District, and their Profession

Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Recruiting, Training, and then Losing Your Best TeachersDear Colleagues,Having spent another week consulting in a very rural area of the country (and driving to work in 1...

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Your State's Guide to RTI Just Doesn't Make Sense

What your Department of Education isn't Sharing about its Multi-tiered/Response-to-Intervention ProceduresDear Colleagues,When you work as a national consultant, it is expected that your districts or...

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Correcting the Flaws: The Feds’ Thinking on Academic Proficiency and Results Driven Accountability

Connecting and Correcting the Flaws in (ESEA's) High Stakes Proficiency Assessments of Students' Academic Achievement and (OSEP's) the New Special Education Results Driven Accountability SystemDear Co...

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Academically Struggling and Behaviorally Challenging Students: Your Doctor Wouldn’t Practice this Way

Why We Need to Validate the “Experts’” RecommendationsDear Colleagues,As I work with schools and districts nationwide— helping them to address the needs of academically struggling or behaviorally chal...

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A New Federal Report Documents What Low-Performing are NOT Doing to Succeed

The Problem? The U.S. Department of Education's School Improvement Practices do not Guide Real SuccessMoving Toward Solutions: 12 Questions that WILL Guide School Improvement SuccessOver the past week...

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School Improvement Succeeds only with Shared Leadership: A Field-Tested Blueprint

Matching the Essential Components of School Improvement with a School-level Committee Structure that Facilitates Shared Leadership and Staff/Student SuccessAll schools need to improve. . . to look at...

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Another Federal Push… What’s the Deal with Trauma Sensitive Schools?

Why Schools Can't Become Trauma-Sensitive Unless They Simultaneously Address Bullying, Exposure to Violence, Persistent Academic Failure, and Other Student Mental Health IssuesI hope you are doing wel...

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Minneapolis Superintendent Bans Most Suspensions for their Youngest Students

What Districts Need to do Instead of Suspending (Young) Students: Effective Student, Staff, and Student ApproachesToday, I am writing this E-Blast at 30,000 feet as I return from presenting a workshop...

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New Superintendents’ Survey: Suspensions Do NOT Change Behavior—What does?

School Discipline Policies and Practices, the Impact of Out-of-School Suspensions, and How to Rethink our Approaches for Greater Student SuccessThe DilemmaWhile the school year typically begins in man...

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Don't Reinvent the Wheel: Transitioning THIS Year's Successes to NEXT Year

The Beginning of the New School Year Starts in April: Student, Staff, and School Transition Activities to Help Prepare for a Successful New School YearDear Colleagues,While many schools across the cou...

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Beginning the New School Year on the Right Foot: Why Classroom Routines, Behaviorally Disordered Students, and the Brain Matter

Why Behaviorally and Emotionally Challenged Students, Teaching Classroom and Building Routines, and the Hippocampus (in the Brain) Should Matter to YouDear Colleagues,With the school year about to beg...

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Implementing the U.S. Department of Education's School Safety Report... Beginning THIS Year

Resources to Prepare your School at the Policy, Procedure, and Practice Levels: Completing Safety Audits, Teaching School Area Routines, Passing Teasing/Bullying Policies, and Creating RelationshipsDe...

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Student Mental Health and Wellness: What the New RWJ Foundation Report Means for You

Building School and Community Linkages to Facilitate Students' Mental Health and WellnessWashington, D.C.Dear Colleagues,Today, I am writing you from Washington, DC where I am attending a three-day U....

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The 2013 U.S. School Crime Report Just Released by the US Departments of Education and Justice

And Another School Shooting Death to End the School YearNo School in America is Immune from School Violence-- Making Schools Safer during the Summer, so They are Safe in the FallDear Colleagues,Today'...

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New National School Discipline Consensus Report Just Released

New Report Discusses Ways to Improve School Learning Conditions for Students and Staff. . . and How to Break the "School to Prison" Link for Behaviorally Challenging StudentsDear Colleagues,I hope you...

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Preschoolers Most Suspended Age Group: New Report and What It Means for You

New U.S. Department of Education Report Just Released: New Office for Civil Rights Report Reveals that African American and Male Preschool Students are Disproportionately Suspended from PreschoolDear...

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Approaches to Eliminate Disproportionality: New Study Reinforces State-wide Student Discipline Inequities

Just Released U.S. Department of Education Study:Minority and Special Education Students are Disproportionately Suspended and Expelled across ALL Maryland Counties from 2009-2012 …There ARE Solutions...

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Implementing the U.S. Department of Education's New School Discipline Policies

A Three-Year Positive Behavioral Support Implementation Blueprint, and Two Upcoming Federal Grants to Pay for ItDear Colleagues,With Spring Training starting this week in Florida and Arizona, the weat...

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Congress Passes New Improvement Option for Struggling Schools

Congress Recognizes that the Department of Education's Turn-Around Options and More (SIG) Money are NOT Improving Schools or Student OutcomesDear Colleagues,I hope you are warm and safe after all of t...

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New Brown University Study: 90,000 Students per Year Suffer "Intentional" Injuries at School between 2001 and 2008

Resources to Help Schools and Districts Prevent Student Violence, Assaults, and AggressionDear Colleagues,I'm writing to you from Hobbs, New Mexico--where I will be training administrators and Student...

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US Department of Education Report: "Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline"

Resources to Help Schools and Districts Put "Principles into Practice"Dear Colleagues,Happy New Year ! ! !This week, the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, respectively, joi...

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The National Council on Teacher Quality and The New York Times:

Teacher Training Programs NOT Preparing New Teachers in Classroom Management, and Zero Tolerance Procedures for School Discipline Do not WorkDear Colleagues,As we remember the children and staff who l...

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