School and Covid-19: An Equity Case Study

The events of 2020 have given us a window into some of the inequities present in American classrooms. The school shutdowns in early Spring, followed by re-openings with online or hybrid learning models revealed a number of inequitable situations: Lack of access to devices for online instruction, Lack of access to Wi-Fi for online instruction, […]

Who Was Nina Otero-Warren?

Let’s break with some of the heaviness of 2020 and get historical for a moment.  Nina Otero-Warren was the Santa Fe Superintendent of Instruction from 1917-1929, and also, briefly, the Inspector of Indian Schools in Santa Fe County. She was one of New Mexico’s first female government officials and she instituted a number of policies […]

Targeted Approaches to Close Gaps

The efficacy of intervening early and aggressively to close learning gaps for children of color and students in poverty is clear. What may not be so clear is how to intervene. What is going to offer the best chance of actually realizing the goal of improved achievement for these marginalized students?  Research that’s been around […]

Involving Marginalized Parents

Parents of marginalized students often feel marginalized themselves by schools and teachers.  Sometimes this marginalization is inadvertent: statistically, the higher the parents’ income, the more likely they are to attend school events and to volunteer. Those who volunteer frequently  have more opportunity, which allows them to build relationships with teachers and administrators,  to get information […]

Trauma, Learning, and the Summer of 2020

I’ve written about trauma and its effects in this space before, but in light of recent events, I think it deserves a deeper look. The simplest definition of trauma is an emotionally painful or distressing event that results in lasting emotional or physical effects.  An example of this is the PTSD suffered by soldiers returning from combat […]

The Power of Potential

“When we treat a person as only as we think they are, we make them worse.  But if we treat a person as if they were already what they could be, we take them as far as they can go.” —   Goethe Possibly my favorite piece of research ever is from 1985.  It’s an oldie, […]

The Instructional Core

The Instructional Core, as defined by Richard Elmore,  is composed of a teacher and student in the presence of content. The relationship between these three elements, and not the the qualities of any one element, determines the nature of instructional practice.  At the heart of this trinity is the Instructional Task:  what students are being asked […]

Standardized Testing: The Beginning of the End?

Something profound happened this spring and if you weren’t an educator, you might have missed it.  In fact, even if you were an educator, the significance of this event might have been lost in the greater upheavals we’ve all been experiencing in the last 6 months. Standardized tests were cancelled. These tests have been a […]

Return to Learn: Covid-19 and Lessons from Katrina

With coronavirus surging in a number of states, most people’s hopes for a normal school year appear to be evaporating fast.  School districts are working hard to put plans for socially distanced classes and distance learning in place to try to keep learning as on-track as possible for the foreseeable future.  Against that backdrop is […]

Coronavirus, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and Brain-Compatible Learning

I was listening recently to a medical doctor addressing a question about why, during the Coronavirus pandemic, people were reporting mental fogginess, an inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, and difficulty doing the creative things they had previously enjoyed.  Was that, the question posed, actually a thing? It is, and the doctor used Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs […]