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I recently committed to writing a post for my friend @ajjuliani on the topic of Intellectual Curiosity. In doing so, I reflected on my own school experience as both an educator and as a student and the role intellectual curiosity plays in the overall learning experience of the struggling student.Over the last twenty years, I have spent a great deal of time working with students who many educators would define as “reluctant learners.”  Others may categorize these same students as apathetic due to their absence of interest or concern about school.  And sadly, some would say that they were incapable of doing work at what we would define as grade level work.  Regardless of how we choose to define our kids, it

I recall reading a post by Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) last summer about how he had been concerned about his school's overall performance on their AP exams. What I admired most was how he and his staff were troubled by their results and instead of blaming the students for their poor performance, they took action.As we know, most high schools across the country work with the College Board to offer some sort of advanced placement opportunities for their students.  I am not proposing that AP is the end all and be all, but there is no denying that over the last 15 years, AP has secured prominence as a gold standard for measuring academic excellence (rigor) as well as a way

It has been two weeks since I wrote and posted my first blog – “A Renewed Sense of Purpose.”  Like many other school leaders who have found a connection through social media, specifically twitter, I was inspired and then encouraged by members of my PLN who had created their own blogs as a way to share their work with other educators.  This included my associate principal Matt Degner (@mwdegner), my former colleague and current principal Jason Markey (@jmarkeyAP), and two exceptionally talented gentleman George Couros (@gcouros) and Patrick Larkin (@patrickmlarkin).  All of these men were gracious enough to share their time, ideas, and expertise in order to help me expand my work and provide an avenue for sharing and for

Last week I read Bill Burkhead’s (@NormandinBill) blog on building trust and making a difference. As I read his posting I reflected back on a number of interactions I had with students over the years.  Like Bill, I too prided myself on being able to connect with the most challenging and troubled students.  Much had to do with the fact that I myself did not have a positive school experience.  Because of my own experiences, I believe it gave me a better perspective of what our struggling learners face on a daily basis and gave me some insight on how to influence their behavior in a positive way.One of the most successful strategies that I have used over the years

I still remember the first home visit I ever made to a student’s home. I was a teacher in the Milwaukee Public School system. It was not my idea, but rather a request made to me by my assistant principal at the time, Larry Leonard, who asked that I join him on a home visit. A few days prior I had expressed my displeasure with Mr. Leonard on his handling of a discipline matter with a young boy named Michael who had swore at me in front of the entire class. I had heard from several teachers that Michael was not “going to make it,” long before this incident in my classroom ever took place. Besides, Michael was a difficult

I recently shared the following thoughts in my weekly Monday Memo to staff:The topic of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, continue to be topics of discussion throughout the educational arena.  As many of you know, I felt a obliged to try and expand my professional learning network last year to help me develop as an educator and as a leader in order to help support you and our students in the learning process.  One way I did this was by connecting to Twitter. In doing so, I felt like I was able to have access to a plethora of resources and other educators eager to learn and share like myself.  As I reflect on my journey three things