The Perfect Day

 
 

The perfect day- going to bed with a dream, waking up with a purpose.

 

I had a dream one night that I would create a website and blog for school leaders.  I also had a dream one night that I would pledge to make a difference in this world as a school leader.  Both of these things have happened.  It is great to go to bed with a dream and wake up the next day with a purpose. 

What was your purpose today?  Can you pledge to make a difference?

 
 
 

Take the pledge challenge too at http://principalprinciples.com


 
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Leadership is action, not a position

Top 10 things to know about leadership:

Quotes of Wisdom

1.  No one will deem you as a "leader" unless you earn it.  

2.  Your position does not make you a leader.

3.  People follow people.

4.  Inspire people to want to follow you as a leader.

5.  Leadership is the opportunity to serve.  Do it well.

6.  If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

7.  People come first.  Take time for your team, employees and staff.

8.  Standards are the same for all.  Treat each fairly.

9.  Set a goal and work to achieve it.  Leaders provide the road and navigate others in the right direction.

10.  A good leader makes a difference.  Be a leader that changes the world.  Don't just be a leader for the position, but for the opportunity to influence, inspire and to leave a mark on this world.

Are you a good leader?  What qualities do you have?
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Why Are High School Students Not Prepared for College?

The U S News-Education reports that nearly 1.7 million students took the ACT college entrance exam.  Most of these students are not prepared for college or workforce.  


More than a quarter of 2012 graduates fell short of college readiness benchmarks that ACT sets for all four subjects, and 60 percent of students tested missed the mark in at least two of the four subjects, the report states.
Students deemed college-ready in a subject have a 75 percent chance of passing a first-year college course in that area. 

Many states have taken steps to improve this by implementing the Common Core Standards and the STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

What is your school district doing to insure students are prepared for college or the workforce?  

It begins with monitoring students and monitoring the instruction.  The role of the principal is to be knowledgeable about core subjects as well as overseeing that sound instructional strategies are being used.  The principal should monitor the student's performance levels through data, including district benchmarks, classroom grades, and progress monitoring results.

American students need to perform at the highest levels to compete in the job market and maintain successful careers.  In order for this to happen, they must have a solid foundation in school.  

What steps do you think we need to take to improve quality education in our schools?  Have something to say?  Share it.

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Mitt Romney on Education


MITT'S PLAN


As president, Mitt Romney will pursue genuine education reform that puts the interests of parents and students ahead of special interests and provides a chance for every child. He will take the unprecedented step of tying federal funds directly to dramatic reforms that expand parental choice, invest in innovation, and reward teachers for their results instead of their tenure. These policies will equip state leaders to achieve the change that can only come from commitment and action at the local level. He will also ensure that students have diverse and affordable options for higher education to give them the skills they need to succeed after graduation and that, when they graduate, they can find jobs that provide a rewarding return on their educational investment.



K-12: Promoting Choice And Innovation

Giving students trapped in bad schools a genuine alternative requires four things: (1) such alternatives must exist, (2) parents must receive clear information about the performance of their current school and of the alternatives, (3) students must be allowed to move to a new school, and (4) students must bring funding with them so that new schools can afford to serve them. Mitt’s reforms achieve each of these objectives:

Allow Low Income And Special Needs Students To Choose Which School To Attend By Making Title I and IDEA Funds Portable.

Provide Incentives For States To Increase Choices For Parents And Develop Quality Alternatives.

Build On The Success Of Effective Charter And Digital Schools.

Expand The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program To Serve As A Model For The Nation.

K-12: Ensuring High Standards And Responsibility For Results

Currently, there is little easily-available data for parents about their children’s schools. Mitt’s reforms will provide better information for parents through straightforward public report cards and will empower them to hold districts and states responsible for results. When combined with increased parental choice, this will give parents more control over their children’s education.

Reform No Child Left Behind By Emphasizing Transparency And Responsibility For Results.


K-12: Recruiting And Rewarding Great Teachers

A school is only as strong as its teachers, but the most promising teachers often find it difficult to reach the classroom door or receive recognition for their efforts once inside. Mitt’s reforms smooth the path for talented individuals to join the profession and shape the next generation.

Attract And Reward Great Teachers Through Increased Flexibility And Block Grants.

Eliminate Unnecessary Certification Requirements That Discourage New Teachers.


Higher Ed: A New Vision Of Affordable And Applicable Learning

America’s traditional community and four-year colleges are the heart of our nation’s higher education system. However, a flood of federal dollars is driving up tuition and burdening too many young Americans with substantial debt and too few opportunities. Meanwhile, other models of advanced skills training are becoming ever more important to success in the American economy, and new educational institutions will be required to fill those roles. Mitt’s reforms spur the access, affordability, innovation, and transparency needed to address all of these challenges:

Strengthen And Simplify The Financial Aid System.

Welcome Private Sector Participation Instead Of Pushing It Away.

Replace Burdensome Regulation With Innovation And Competition.



To read the entire article visit:  http://www.mittromney.com/issues/education


Who is your pick for President and why?  
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What's On Your Home Screen?



A view of someone's home screen on their cellphone is like looking into their closet, purse or wallet.  It tells a story or just a glimpse into the life of the person.  

I love movies so Flixster is a must have.  For a good laugh and not in a serious mood try the PocketWhip.  With just a simple shake of the phone, it sounds like a whip.  What's not to love about that.  A great tool to fulfill my creative side is Pinterest.  I find great ideas for DIY's around the house, Hair & Beauty tips and tons of great recipes.   As you can see, I also utilize a running app, Google+, Facebook and of course Blogger.  These keep me to stay connected when I'm on the move.  

Take a picture of your home screen or tell me what you love using and what you can't live without.  

What does your home screen say about you?
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Winning Schools and Strong Leadership



Join the pledge to make a difference in your school.  Our School Our Future Pledge is a signed promise by school leaders to provide quality education. It all begins by strengthening school leadership.  Can you commit to being a stronger leader?  For America to have great schools, it must have great leaders.

Did you know:

More than 1.2 million U. S. students drop out of school every year.

Of the 13 million students living in poverty today, 1 in 10 will graduate from college.

Join the pledge by signing your name to the list on http://principalprinciples.com to make a difference.  Pledge that you will be committed to excellence and will strive to provide quality education to your students.  

Let's stand for strong education by joining together.  Let's have winning schools that foster college bound students.  A school's leadership may be the deciding factor between success and failure.

Join the Pledge Today at Principal Principles.


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Top 5 Things Every Teacher Needs to Know to Be Successful


I loved reading Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.  The book offers 49 great teaching techniques that every teacher should be using in their classrooms.  He writes these 5 powerful Things Every Teacher Needs to Know or Do to Be Successful.  

1. Simplicity is underrated. A simple idea well-implemented is an incredibly powerful thing. 

2. You know your classroom best. Always keep in mind that what’s good is what works in your classroom. 

3. Excellent teaching is hard work. Excellent teachers continually strive to learn and to master their craft. No matter how good a teacher is, it’s always possible to be better. 

4. Every teacher must be a reading teacher. Reading is the skill our students need. 

5. Teaching is the most important job in the world. And it’s also the most difficult.



Why Did Doug Lemov Write the Book Teach Like A Champion?  Watch the video.



Teach Like a Champion offers effective teaching techniques to help teachers, especially those in their first few years, become champions in the classroom. These powerful techniques are concrete, specific, and are easy to put into action the very next day. Training activities at the end of each chapter help the reader further their understanding through reflection and application of the ideas to their own practice.


Among the techniques: 

Technique #1: No Opt Out. How to move students from the blank stare or stubborn shrug to giving the right answer every time. 

Technique #35: Do It Again. When students fail to successfully complete a basic task, from entering the classroom quietly to passing papers around, doing it again, doing it right, and doing it perfectly, results in the best consequences. 

Technique #38: No Warnings. If you're angry with your students, it usually means you should be angry with yourself. This technique shows how to effectively address misbehaviors in your classroom.
Why I love this Book?  You don't just get to read about the 49 Techniques but their is a DVD of the top 25.  Great for a when you want to have Book Study for Classroom Management.

The book includes a DVD of 25 video clips of teachers demonstrating the techniques in the 
classroom.


Want to purchase Teach Like a Champion?  Buy Here.
 



About Me:  I am Stephanie McConnell, Principal of 600 students in East Texas.  

Check out my website at:  http://principalprinciples.com


What are some of your classroom techniques that make your students successful?







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2012 National Distinguished Principals


Congratulations to this year's class of National Distinguished Principals!



Check out which Elementary Principal was selected to represent your state.  Click Here.

The National Distinguished Principals program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that America's children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. The program was established in 1984 to recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities.

Each year, NAESP congratulates principals from across the nation in both public and private schools and schools from the United States Departments of Defense Office of Educational Activity and the the United States Department of State Office of Overseas Schools for their exemplary achievements.

It is so important that Principals are rewarded for their hard work, dedication and campus achievement.  The principal is instrumental in leading the campus in the right direction.  

Questions:  Does you school have a dynamic leader?  What makes them dynamic?

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Valuable Life Lessons Learned Along the Way

Over the last several years of my life, I have "won some" and "lost some" valuable moments of time.  It's all about taking 100% responsibility for your life and decisions we make each day.  As a mother, wife and school principal, I have several responsibilities and roles.  Today I hope to share some key points of life changing lessons and hope they can help you in your hurdles in life.


The purpose of life is not to simply be happy, but to matter, and to leave a legacy on this world.  We can all make a difference with our lives.  We can be all that we can be.  


1.  Maintain an open mind-
Having an open mind benefits you and the world in a number of ways. When you interact with people without judging them, you foster tolerance and encourage those around you to keep an open mind. On a personal level, you open up your world of possibilities.  For example, try new foods, hobbies


2.  Keep your promises-Building trust based relationships, either professional or personal, is a really big thing. It can propel your career or your life if you can do it, and it can sink them if you can’t. I believe that one of the most important ingredients for building these kinds of relationships is keeping your promises. When you consistently keep your promises, you essentially align what you say you will do with what you truly do, and people know that they can rely on you.

3.  Be present-How often are you driving and talking on the cell phone? Do you drift off while others are talking?  What is happening right now, at this very moment?  Connect with the people around you.  Celebrate the small things in life.  Build relationships that last.

4.  Be compassionate- Wikipedia's definition:  Compassion is an emotion that is a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another; to show special kindness to those who suffer. Compassion essentially arises through empathy, and is often characterized through actions, wherein a person acting with compassion will seek to aid those they feel compassionate for.  Put others before yourself.  Show kindness and appreciation without expecting rewards.

5.  It's never too late- It is never too late in life to go to college, to say your sorry or to call a relative.  Life is too short to waste. You can start marking off items from your bucket list right now, this very minute.  Stop waiting for tomorrow, it will never be back.  The simple fact that you're alive makes you worth it.  Dream big- Why not.


You are not what your have done, but what you've overcome.


Stephanie McConnell, me, far left
Judy Pollan, Superintendent and Fantastic Boss
Sarah Richmond, Principal
Receiving an award for our campus

About me:  My name is Stephanie McConnell.  I am a principal in East Texas and I have the most wonderful campus.  I wrote this piece because #5 is about me.  I grew up in poverty with two parents who suffered from substance abuse.  College was never discussed in my home just as it is not discussed in many homes of poverty children.  I am the first to go to college and earn a Bachelor's Degree and then go to college again and earn a Master's Degree.  I was determined to change my future.  I live by this quote by Walt Emerson.  "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies with us."  

Miracles happen every day.  Are you ready to be one of them?


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Academic Excellence of Your Classrooms


Brief but frequent classroom walk-throughs are a popular strategy for informally evaluating teachers and observing classroom activities.  How can the walk-throughs that you do improve classroom performance? Do you have elements in place that maximize teacher effectiveness?

Principal Principles Strategies to Maximize Classroom Effectiveness:


1.  Make walk-throughs routine- Short and brief- typically 3 minutes and no longer than 15 minutes.  I typically stay 5 minutes.
2.  Are the students engaged? Not just engaged but actively engaged in the lesson.  Classrooms should have students that participate in the lesson.  No one likes a "sit and get" classroom.
3.  Is it working?  Are the teachers effective in delivering the lesson?  This can be very valuable in your school.  Know what is working and what is not working in your school.  Reflect often.

The more opportunities I have to get into the classrooms, the more information I have to talk to parents about, to research about, and to understand.  Teachers don't just need you for discipline.  They need principals to understand curriculum and instruction.  Principals, after all, should be the instructional leader of the campus.

A great resource for principals when conducting walk-throughs:



Change to a supervision method that impacts student achievement by cultivating self-reliant teachers who are continuously improving their practice. An effective guide for pinpointing effective classroom instruction. 

This book also outlines specific strategies for engaging teachers in reflective dialogue that could enhance classroom instruction. A must read for administrators. 

This book was an easy read and had very practical, easy to put into practice, tips on observing classrooms. Time-saving techniques that still are quality practices.



Did you know you can egift this item to someone you know? Instant delivery by emailing this gift card and suggesting they purchase it.  Do you know someone who could benefit from this book?



The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through: Changing School Supervisory Practice One Teacher at a Time
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Tech Envy: My Wish List

Having great technology in your business is a strong asset.  Follow me as I discover the latest and greatest tech gadgets that can be fantastic for any business or profession.


I'm in LOVE with this!   

Introducing the Rickshaw Mini Commuter bag in Stout Brown Performance Tweed. Sized perfectly for iPads, netbooks, e-readers - and (of course) Moleskine journals and all of your other gadgets and personal effects. The Mini has all of the great features if the Commuter 2.0 including: waterproof wipe-clean liner, roomy front zipper pocket, quick access exterior organizer pocket, magnetic Velcro silencer, comfy handle and deluxe quick adjust shoulder strap.






Need a bunch of redundant data storage, and need it to go? The Drobo Mini has you covered. Built from metallic carbon fiber with a soft touch finish, this sandwich-sized box holds up to four 2.5" drives — giving you a total possible capacity of 3TB — offers both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connectivity, and, like the company's full-sized boxes, uses BeyondRAID technology to ensure that your data is safe, no drive configuration wizardry required.







  And here you thought laser pointers were dead. The Smart Dot is a tiny, aluminum, headphone port-mounted laser pointer for your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad (!) that's powered by a simple app and fits into the top of an aluminum stylus when not in use. Don't want to go digging in your bag for a stylus? It also includes a rubber strap that you can wrap around the handle or strap of your bag so it'll always be handy when you need it.




Send messages from virtually ANYWHERE via satellite
Send short emails, text messages, update Twitter & Facebook
On device SOS button for standalone emergency operation
Altitude: -328 ft to 21,325 ft
IPX7 Waterproof: Up to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes



What's on your wish list? Share your list too.

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2012 Blue Ribbon Schools: Great Schools Don't Happen by Chance


“Great schools don’t happen by chance. Great schools happen by design,” Secretary Arne Duncan said earlier today as he recognized the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools from the campus of Arlington Traditional Elementary School in Arlington, Va. Arlington Traditional is one of 269 schools selected this year—out of the more than 100,000 schools in the U.S.—to receive this accolade from the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary Duncan was joined at the announcement by U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy.
Secretary Duncan visits students
Secretary Duncan stayed after the announcement visit classrooms and talk with students. Official Department of Education photo by Paul Wood.
“The National Blue Ribbon Schools are the best of what our country has to offer,” Secretary Duncan told the assembled students, parents, teachers, and dignitaries. “They are models for schools across the country.”
Arlington Traditional Principal Holly Hawthorne noted that the school’s focus on academics, behavior, and character is the foundation of its success. “Behavior and dress standards help create a safe and inviting learning environment, and strong partnerships with families and the community foster each child’s whole development,” Hawthorne said. ”Our students leave Arlington Traditional School as lifelong learners and future caring and contributing citizens.”
The 269 schools recognized this year represent 40 states, the District of Colombia and the Department of Defense Education Activity. National Blue Ribbon Schools are the “best in their class,” public and private elementary and secondary schools that produce outstanding results for all students. While all National Blue Ribbon schools have one thing in common–high or improving academic achievement –each great school has an inspiring story to tell about excellence in teaching and learning.

Bloggers out there- What is your inspiring story to tell about excellence in teaching and learning?  I would love to hear your comments.


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If You Had $2000 to Spend on Technology, What Would You Buy?

Hypothetical Question:

If you were a principal or school administrator and your superintendent gave you $2000 dollars to spend on technology, what would you buy from Amazon?


Head over to Amazon Electronics and shop around and see what you would buy.  What works for you or what do you have on your wish list?  



Share your link with me so everyone can see exactly what you recommend.  I'm looking forward to seeing your ideas.  


I love technology so I hope you can find me some good items on Amazon.


Happy Shopping and Thanks for Your Help!

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Data in Schools: Part 1

We are only three weeks into school and we have used several pieces of data.  Data is extremely important for classroom instruction and overall success of the student.  This is Part 1 of how we begin each year and what data we use.  As the year continues I will continue blogging until you get each piece of Data in Schools.

1.  Student's Cumulative Records- Each teacher has a week to review the records of each of their new students.  Teachers are looking for past performance through report cards, state assessment results, court documents and overall educational history of the student.  I recommend this be a common practice in your school.  Valuable information can be gained from simply opening the student's permanent records.

2.  Screening- Each year we begin with a formal beginning of the year reading diagnostic test.  This test includes a check in phonemic awareness skills, comprehension and fluency.  Students performing below the beginning of the year goal are placed in intervention classes.  Our reading intervention classes are taught by a certified teacher.  Students attend 5 days a week for 30 minutes each day.  Every two weeks students are monitored by a progress monitoring tool to see if skills are being mastered.  Only after 14 weeks of intervention can a student exited from intervention services.

3.  Data Folders-  My favorite!  Data folders are folders that hold all the student's progress monitoring, benchmarks and state score reports.  Data folders are used throughout the year in Data Meetings.  Students are monitored and instruction is tailored to meet their needs.  This folder follows the students each year and the teachers absolutely love them as much as I do.  The teachers can easily see the student process from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  


Data Meeting

Data Folder

Data Meeting



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6 Principles for Making Student Success the Only Option

Why I believe this is a must have book:
Failure is Not an Option is my number one pick for school leaders and administrators.  It is not just about the principal caring.  It is about everyone caring.  Schools and teachers take a stand to support each other.  It teaches you how to create structure to support this philosophy.  

How did a tough, "D" school in Brooklyn that was about to be closed down become an "A" school in less than 3 years? How did a large school district in the Midwest use data to drive effective school improvement that led 15 of their 88 schools to make AYP for the first time? How are entire nations like Finland ensuring smooth leadership transition and capacity to sustain student success?
Five years, 200,000 readers, and one national award after Failure Is Not an Option® was first published, Alan M. Blankstein has documented how educators have closed gaps, turned schools around, and sustained overall success. With contributions from Pedro A. Noguera, Andy Hargreaves, and Dean Fink, this book outlines the who, what, and how of becoming a high-performing school and learning community, shows how to avoid ten common routes to failure, provides double the resources, includes many new case stories and examples, and offers new emphasis on:
  • Diversity
  • Assessment for learning
  • Intervention and support for students at risk
  • Schooling as a community endeavor involving families
The second edition of Failure Is Not an Option® tells more than the story—it gives all the specifics, the tools, the insights, and the processes that others have used to ensure that success is the ONLY option!

The conditions for building a culture in your school where failure is NOT an option are:
1. Teachers purse a clear, shared purpose for all student learning
2. Teachers engage in collaborative activity to achieve that purpose; and
3. Teachers take collective responsibility for all student learning.


 

To purchase or read more about Failure is NOT an Option Click on the book or here.


Six principles that guide student achievement in high-performing schools:


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Top 5 Educational Leader Blog Picks by Principal Principles

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word blog is a website that contains personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks by the writer.  I define blog as truly magnificent.  I have just discovered the great world of blogging and website making and I'm addicted to it.  


I have complied a list of my top 5 educational leader blog sites.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


1.  The Innovative EducatorLisa Nielsen, an educational administrator from New York City, has been blogging for several years, and uses her blog to “share ideas about educating innovatively.” When it comes to giving advice to administrators who are new to blogging, she recommends that they “embrace the tools and spaces students love, to empower them to become independent, 21st century learners.”


2.  Dangerously Irrelevant“Dangerously Irrelevant focuses on the leadership side of K-12 technology, an aspect that’s absolutely critical but usually neglected,” explains Dr. Scott McLeod, an associate professor of educational administration at Iowa State University. (He also works as the director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, commonly referred to as CASTLE). His advice for administrators who are new to social media is to “dive in with both feet” and to ask everyone you know for advice and tips: “Remember that the education blogosphere / Twittersphere is a pretty welcoming place,” he writes. “Start as a learner/listener, and then gradually (but quickly) move into connecting and sharing.”

3.  Principal Principles- Stephanie McConnell, educational administrator in East Texas.  Yes, I'm not going to recommend everyone's site without recommending my own.  My educational leadership website is located at http://www.principalprinciples.com.  My blog is used to educate, influence, and inform leaders.  It is more than just a blog.

4.  Connected Principals-This highly recommended site is a “must-read” for any principal who is interested in the future of education. All of the posts are written by numerous administrators, most of whom are included on this list.

5.  Edudemic- Edudemic's mission is to make people smart.  Edudemic gives everyone access to the leading edge of thinking in the most accessible, consumable and compelling way possible.


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About Half of Texas Schools Fail Federal Standards- AYP


About half of all campuses statewide failed to meet federal standards based on the No Child Left Behind Act, and more area schools than ever also missed the mark because of tougher passing standards, according to state data released Wednesday.
Forty-eight percent of schools in Texas were classified as failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards, which can bring down sanctions on schools if they are repeatedly not met.
Federal and state officials saw the poor results coming.
Last summer, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the increasingly higher bar required by the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act — passing standards for reading increased this year from 80 to 87 percent, math standards from 75 to 83 percent, and all students must be proficient in both by 2014 — could mean that 82 percent of all schools nationwide could be classified as failing this year.
Duncan gave states the option to seek a waiver to be exempt from the federal requirements, saying states needed relief because the reauthorization of the act was "moving too slowly in Congress."
Thirty-three waivers have been granted, but Texas was among a handful of states that did not apply, balking at federal requirements.
To receive the waiver, a state must have established postsecondary readiness standards, which Texas has. But state officials said the process for showing that those standards qualify was too onerous. And the state education commissioner, Robert Scott, who has since resigned, said he was reluctant to in effect "turn over the education system of Texas to the federal government."
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman said the Texas Education Agency is evaluating whether filing for a waiver would be in the best interest of the state, the school districts and Texas students.
"We can't agree with things that we don't have the authority to change," Suzanne Marchman said. "State law puts public education into the hands of the State Board of Education. Some feel that some of the requirements by applying for the waiver for the long run would be more difficult for some school districts."
Critics of No Child Left Behind, including Gov. Rick Perry, think Texas schools are doing far better than the federal standards would imply.
"This is a perfect example of why the federal government shouldn't be trying to dictate a one-size-fits-all education system," said Josh Havens, deputy press secretary for Perry. "These scores don't accurately reflect what our students are accomplishing in Texas."
Others blame the state.
"The real problem is that Gov. Perry has, himself, not been making ‘adequate yearly progress' for our Texas schools," said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. "He should have listened to our local educators and long ago have made an appropriate request for federal action on this." Doggett added that plans to change No Child Left Behind have been stymied by House Republicans.
The Texas Association of Business, which closely monitors state education issues, noted that 2012 was the first time more Texas public school students failed the standards than passed them. President Bill Hammond said the results indicate that Texas schools "aren't meeting the demand of preparing graduates for college or careers."
The federal progress standards are based on student participation and performance on state-mandated tests and on graduation and attendance rates. In previous years, that state test was the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, but this spring, most students took a new, more rigorous state test, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
The state had to translate students' performance on the new test to a score on the old TAKS for the federal government, even though passing standards still have not been set for elementary and middle school students on that test, and the state has not issued its own accountability ratings for schools or districts.
Districts or schools that get specific federal funds for low-income students and that miss the standards for two or more years are subject to state sanctions and a school improvement program. Schools that don't get that federal funding for low-income students and miss the standards must revise existing campus improvement plans to address why they missed the standards.
In Central Texas, more local districts have failed to meet the federal standards.
This is the fourth consecutive year the Austin school district failed to meet the federal standards. Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville, Hays and Georgetown also were among local districts that failed. Even the Dripping Springs school district, which was one of the few area districts that passed last year, failed to meet the standards.
The Lake Travis school district, which also passed last year, had its high school campus fail to meet standards, though the district as a whole passed. Last year, only a handful of area districts met federal standards overall and at every campus.
This year, Eanes and Liberty Hill were among the only districts to achieve both.
"We are obviously disappointed that not all of our campuses met federal standards, but I am proud of the majority of our students who continued to perform well," Round Rock Superintendent Jesús Chávez said. "As is evidenced by the number of campuses and districts which are not meeting federal standards, I believe it is time that the No Child Left Behind Act be re-evaluated."
Forty-eight of 118 schools in the Austin district failed to meet standards.
Because Austin did not meet federal math and reading standards again, the district will now have to put a percentage of its funding for low-income students toward professional development in those subjects, district officials said.


Question:  What steps can Texas schools take to help meet AYP requirements?  Are the standards unreachable and not realistic?  Tell me what you think.


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My Top Web Hosting Site 1&1


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With more than 5,000 employees, 1&1 develops high-quality products for beginners and professionals and operate 5 of our own high-performance data centres in Europe, the USA and Asia.
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More than 10 million customer contracts and countless awards affirm our excellent performance as one of the biggest e-business and web hosting providers. Why not join 1&1 and see for yourself!

I recently recreated my own website http://www.principalprinciples.com.  I have no experience at creating websites or blogs before six weeks ago.  1&1 is very user friendly and the customer support is great.  I received a call only 2 weeks after signing up.  I was expecting a call to offer me more service at a cost.  However, I wasn't expecting a programmer to call me and ask if he could tweak my website.  It was all free.  He tweaked it and it looks fabulous.  
I have the ability to send newsletters, emails, add contacts, sell products, advertise and so much more.  If I can do it, so can you.  
Pricing:
I compared prices with several web hosting companies.  This was the best price.  I am a shopper and know a good deal when I see one.  I didn't want to spend money investing in something that I didn't even know if I could even operate.  

If you are seeking to create your own website or blog, 1 & 1 is the best.

Still not sure, Check out these success stories.  

 Success Stories

To purchase or read more about 1&1, click on the picture and banner in the upper right hand corner.   

You will not be disappointed.




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The Best and Worst States to Educate Your Kids

There's good news and bad news about the state of education in America. According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s newly released KIDS COUNT Data Book, we've made progress and have had some setbacks. Academics and health have improved in most states, but our children's economic well-being continues to decline.

To find out how your state is ranked click here.

   Kids Count Data Book

My Home State of Texas

Texas ranks 44th among the states in overall child health and well-being, according to data in 2012 Kids Count Data Book.  The Data Book examines how children are doing in 4 areas:
1.  Economic Well Being
2.  Education
3.  Health
4.  Family and Community

Texas had a child poverty rate above the U.S. rate of 22 percent, with 26 percent or one in four Texas kids living in poverty in 2010.  The data show the number of poor children increased by 4 percent from 2005 to 2010, and the rate of children living in homes where no parent has a full-time job increased by 19 percent.

Texas also ranked 49th in children without health insurance, with an uninsured rate of 14 percent in 2010.  The number of uninsured Texas children decreased by 22% since 2008, mainly because of increased coverage through the public health insurance programs Medicaid and CHIP.  However, Texas has the 2nd highest children's uninsured rate in the country.

Texas has the third highest teen birth rate in the country and saw a 2% increase in the number of babies born at a low birth weight.

My two cents for whatever it maybe worth to you:  This is not what I want for our kids.  We all need to join together and do something to change it.  As a school principal it is our job to grow the next leaders of this country.

Top 5 States 

Bottom 5 States


My question to you:  Do you agree with this research and your state's ranking?  Give me your comments.


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The New iPads

This summer I received a new iPad.  I have found several need gadgets, apps and accessories over the last several months.  One of my favorite things to do is to buy and read books with the iBooks app.  Apple's iBookstore has been a huge hit, with nearly 200 million downloads since it opened in 2010, while Amazon's e-reader gadget, the Kindle, was among the company's best selling products of the 2011 Christmas season.  

To download books from the iBookstore and then read them in the iBooks app you will need:

1.  Your iPad
2.  WiFi Connection
3.  An iTunes account and Apple ID
4.  A credit card

iBooks gives you access to Apple's popular virtual bookshop, iBookstore, which has been more than 700,000,000 titles downloaded so far, many of them FREE!

Once you've downloaded iBooks, open it.  The app will ask if you want to sync bookmarks across multiple devices-useful if you are reading the same book on multiple devices. For example, I could use my iPhone.   Tap on the "Store" in the top left corner to get started.

Use the buttons along the bottom of the screen to browse.  

When you've found the book you'd like to read, you can tap its cover to read a synopsis, see related titles, and read reviews.  Once you have decided to purchase the book, tap the price and then "buy book."  The book will download and your view will flip back to your library.

After downloading, you are ready to open the book and read it.  

If you have a Kindle, there is a Kindle app for iPad and iPhone which allows you to sync your bookmarks between the OS device and the Kindle.  Search the App Store for Kindle to download it for free.


iPad vs. Kindle

Not sure which to purchase?  Click on the pictures and read the reviews on each.   

MY FAVORITE iPAD





The Kindle

For more great ideas, visit my website at http://www.principalprinciples.com.


Got comments?  What great iPad apps do you use?  Please share your ideas with me.



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Top 5 Inspirational Videos

I have used these videos in presentations.  They are my top 5 inspirational videos of all time.  

1.  Team Hoyt- I Can Only Imagine.  Together anything is possible.



2.  Patrick Henry Hughes-Everyone has a gift.  It just needs to be found and unleashed. Don't underestimate your students.


3.  Jason McElwain- Give me a chance.  Attitude is everything.


4.  Steve Jobs- Find what you love, trust your instincts, and follow your heart.



5.  Derek Redmond and Dad- Sometimes in life we face obstacles and I hope that when I can't go on, someone is there to help me finish.  




http://www.principalprinciples.com


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