Showing posts from March, 2020

A Novel Opportunity

Gordon has been an educator for 17 years.  For the first sixteen years, he taught English exclusively to “at-risk” students with the last ten years teaching at a juvenile detention center.  He is now a first year assistant administrator at an urban Title I school.  The students who are labeled “at-risk” are his passion because they have been slighted for too long, told they couldn’t learn, or any number of other negative things that get stuck in their minds.  All of these things can be undone, but only through the hard work of devoted teachers who understand the entire student and all of the events that impact their lives. Gordon is a chess addict, runs a small business with his wife, and lives a family-first lifestyle to the best of his ability. “Fear and uncertainty are often the first steps on the road towards personal growth.” ― Dee Waldeck There is no need to explain in great detail the obvious, but because of COVID-19, we are venturing into uncertain educational times. 

In Uncertain Times: Higher Ed (and Society) Need to Do Better

Mark M. Diacopoulos – PhD. Curriculum and Instruction.  Assistant Professor, Dept. of Teaching and Leadership, Pittsburg State University Mark has been an educator for over 25 years. He has taught in middle and high schools both in the US and UK. An early adopter of educational technology, he has worked as a Technology Specialist and Curriculum Specialist in social studies for a large district in Southeast Virginia. He earned his PhD. in Curriculum and Instruction in 2018 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership at Pittsburg State University in rural Kansas. As well as researching and writing about how to best teach future teachers, he also examines issues of professional identity, technology teaching and learning, critical friendship and communities of practice. Mark is also a devoted parent, a lifetime fan of Arsenal F.C., and a self-described “retired broken aikidoka”. In uncertain times, one thing is certain – we need to do bette

Virtual (R)Evolution

At any given time,  you will find Jaime Kurowski either parenting, teaching, reading, writing, wood-burning or fiercely trying to shift the mindset of anyone who needs more joy in their lives.  She realized she was a teacher and collector of quotes when she was a 3rd grader in New Jersey. She started her teaching career in New Mexico in 1998 with Americorps before moving to Virginia. She then taught 5th grade, raised babies at home, 5th again, 3rd, 2nd and now 4th grade in Virginia Beach. She didn’t realize she was a writer until her divorce. She didn’t realize how powerful stress was until her stroke. She didn’t realize how resilient she was until she walked herself through the tunnel with the light at the end of it and started a small business sharing her collection of quotes on driftwood art.  ‘She Makes’ became an essential outlet to help her prevent the burnout of teaching and help supplement a single income.  She is passionate about helping shift the mindset of teachers and st

Thoughts on Standardized Testing After the Storm Has Passed

Copyright © 2020 by Douglas G. Wren, Ed.D. Doug Wren has worked in public education for nearly three decades—half of that time as a classroom teacher. He recently retired from Virginia Beach City Public Schools after serving for 12 years as Educational Measurement & Assessment Specialist. Before coming to Virginia Beach, Doug was Director of Research & Evaluation for the DeKalb County School District in Georgia. Please go to for more information about Doug. We must always remember—in times good or bad—that this too shall pass. The 1918 flu pandemic resulted in more than three times the number of deaths than the total killed in World War I, which ended the same year. Worst case scenarios for the current pandemic indicate that the mortality rate of COVID-19 will not come anywhere near the rate of last century’s pandemic. One lesson learned from the 1918 pandemic was that schools should be closed as soon as possible. As of this writing, 46 states h

Keeping the Balance with Home Learning

Annette Conley has been teaching for more than 30 years. Currently, she is the Reading Specialist at Thoroughgood Elementary in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Annette is a lifelong learner who is passionate about finding the balance in education, especially in literacy instruction. Annette has been writing lessons and doing literacy presentations for the VDOE. Follow Annette on Twitter @Amconley49 As a reading specialist, I am comforted by the news that I am hearing - that the majority of parents are really trying to follow the lessons and suggestions from their children’s teachers. We are so fortunate in Virginia Beach that so many of our students have internet access and are using the digital formats that our teachers are sharing with them. My concern with home learning is my same concern for learning at school - balance - balance between reading, writing, and speaking, balance between decoding and comprehension, balance between using technology and paper pencil activities, betwe

Envisioning Learning and Blended Online School Scenarios for the Next 18 Months and Beyond

Envisioning Learning and Blended Online School Scenarios for the Next 18 Months and Beyond Chris Jacobs MA in Education and Human Development~The George Washington University Ed.S. in Educational Leadership~Old Dominion University I am currently the Co-Founder and Lead Teacher of the Green Run High School Innovation Lab (iLab) at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The iLab is a disruptive public school program focused on social and emotional learning, interdisciplinary learning, and learning expeditions. You can find a day to day history of our program for the past 3 years on Twitter @GRHSiLab.  I am also a 25 year traditional classroom veteran teacher. Additionally, I was a Virtual Virginia Beach online instructor and online teacher trainer for many years. In the grips of this horrific global pandemic, if we can survive through world-wide disciplined mitigation and suppression efforts, we will have an opportunity in the days, months, and years ahead to radicall

Edjacent: A Call to Action

Whenever we have a question and don’t ask it, we rob ourselves and others of small moments of learning. When we don’t speak up, we squander an opportunity to innovate or contribute to creating a better organization. Hacking School Culture: designing Compassionate Classrooms by Angela Stockman and Ellen Feig Gray This was not supposed to happen yet. Edjacent is a passion project that was meant to simmer for awhile, to be a little more perfect before reaching the world. We wanted to get the message right, test the idea with a trusted few. We were going to create and release content at a trickle pace, getting it just right before sharing it with the world. But times have changed and sometimes big ideas happen on their own timeline. “Edjacent is an educator design collaborative made up of educators who dream of a better world for our students and their teachers.” We wrote that more than a year ago, but it has been in development for our whole careers, since we were students ours

Preparing to Working Remotely While Your Kids are Home From School? 5 Essential Tips From Someone Who Does it All the Time

Image COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has many schools and businesses scrambling to quickly find ways for employees and students to complete work from home. Teachers are preparing virtual lessons and employers are assigning work, but a problem remains: how will parents keep their children busy and meaningfully engaged while also completing their own work in a timely fashion? I started working from home in June of 2018 when my sons were 3 and 5 years old. My husband is home several days a week and my kids were both in school for at least part of the day for part of the week, but I often have to meet deadlines, write curriculum, develop online courses and conduct virtual meetings while my kids are playing right outside my (home) office door. The rewards of this scenario outweigh the costs for my family, but the road to productive work from home has not been easy! Here I share some five of my most important sanity-saving tips for working from home wi