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Staffing & Training

District Takes Steps to Improve Staff Wellness
While programs to improve student wellness have been in schools for years, some districts now are focusing on staff health as well. Teachers in Batesville, Indiana, have participated in fitness competitions and this year some are training for a mini-marathon.

Students Describe Qualities of Great Teachers
Viewing students as consumers -- and consumers with strong ideas about how their instructors should treat them as learners and individuals -- can help good teachers become great teachers in the eyes of the people who matter most, according to a new book.

Differentiated Instruction, Flexibility Make Multi-Age Classes Work
Multi-grade classes sound like a lot of work for teachers. But by regularly assessing students, differentiating instruction, and using flexible groupings, the experience can be revitalizing for a teacher. Included: Tips for planning lessons in multi-grade classes.

Staff Book Clubs Enhance Professional Development
When funding became available for staff book clubs, educators in Hamilton County, Tennessee, jumped at the chance to read professional literature. Teachers continue to read and discuss books about instructional and professional development strategies.

Campfire Gatherings Fire-Up Discussions
Camping enthusiast and principal Scott Myers initiated a series of campfire chats with students to free up some planning time for teachers and give students a chance to talk with him in an informal setting. Included: Activities that spur discussion with kids.

Steps for Making Good Schools Great
Good schools can be great schools if staff focus on best practices, common elements for instruction, and strategies to help all students learn, says Dr. Tim R. Westerberg, author of Becoming a Great High School: 6 Strategies and 1 Attitude That Make a Difference.

Learning Communities Share Resources, Strategies
For too long, teacher-to-teacher communication meant exchanging weekend plans in the faculty room. In professional learning community schools, teachers develop interim assessments, common goals, and share best practices.

Teachers Observing Teachers Sparks Discussions, New Ideas
Looking for a way to encourage more collaboration and reflection among his staff, principal Terry Bradley worked with university professors to implement peer walk-throughs. The observations and discussions have changed the way teachers teach.

Keeping Teachers in the Family
To reduce the number of teachers lost to other schools or professions, administrators at two schools initiated programs to acclimate teachers new to the profession and the school to help them feel part of the family. Included: Tips for helping new teachers feel at home.

Pete Hall: Less Is More
Weve got district initiatives, government regulations, grant stipulations, contracted obligations, state mandates Heck, our plates are full! Lets remove some of the clutter from our plates by removing some of the clutter from our teachers plates.

Every School Has One: Principals Share Tips for Working With Negative People
Most schools have a staff member or two who stand out for their negative attitudes. Allowed to fester, that attitude could infect others and eventually an entire school community. Included: Principal Files team members share how they handle negativity.

Teachers Lead Improvement at State Street School
Teachers at one Rhode Island elementary school are spearheading school-wide improvement, and the results have been positive. Principal Victor Ventura guides the improvements, but the teachers energy and commitment are making it happen.

Male Teachers Show That Real Men Read
A library media specialist thought posters showing real men reading and men talking about the benefits of reading could be just the thing to encourage more boys to pick up books. The Real Men Read program is so successful that it has spread to other schools.

Districts Offer Incentives to Curb Teacher Absences
Several recent studies showing the negative impact of teacher absences on student achievement, plus rising substitute costs, have prompted some districts to offer teachers incentives to reduce the number of days they take off.

SAMs Free Principals from
Administrative Tasks

Many principals have the training and desire to work on curriculum and instructional strategies, but are buried under administrative tasks. School Administration Managers (SAMs) free principals to meet with students and teachers to improve instruction and learning.

Your Schools Main Office: Setting a Tone for the Entire School
Is your schools main office set up to be a truly welcoming place? Is its layout conducive to conducting business? Are there tools in your office that you couldnt live without? Our Principal Files team answers those questions and offers tips for improving the office environment.

Recognizing the Stars on Your Staff
Chances are the stars on your staff dont expect or require recognition, but you want to recognize and support them in any way you can. So just how do you reward their above-and-beyond efforts? Members of our Principal Files team share what they do.

Use Personality Types to Structure
Staff Development

Can you recognize the Bricks, the Rebels, or Knowledge Royals in your school? Chances are you have some of those personality types on your faculty. Any or all of them can sabotage staff development efforts. But only if you give them the chance.

Organizing Staff Meetings Even You Want to Attend
Do you run your staff meetings like press briefings -- that is, read the news and run? More principals should use faculty meetings as opportunities for problem-solving and professional development, according to the authors of Energizing Staff Meetings.

Developing, Retaining Strong Teachers in the Schools That Need Them Most
Too often, beginning teachers in urban schools or teachers new to an urban setting become frustrated when their students dont respond to them. Its not that they are bad teachers -- they just need to learn how to reach out more to students and their parents.

Interviewing for the Principalship: Tips from Principals
Interviewing can be a grueling process. But aspiring principals can relieve the pain by heeding this advice from our Principal Files team. Included: Practice interview questions, sound advice, plus a few surprises that might be encountered along the way.

Getting the Most Out of School Counselors
While elementary-school guidance counselors still are not the norm, those that are assigned to schools can provide valuable support to students, teachers, parents, and principals. The key is to let them do their jobs.

In-School Daycare Benefits
Faculty, Community

One of the biggest headaches for working parents -- particularly mothers -- is reliable childcare. A district that opened an on-site daycare center for employees and the community finds it gives administrators an edge in recruiting and retaining faculty.

Pete Hall: Confronting Concerns With Teacher Performance
The time is now to confront the malpractice being committed by teachers who dont pull their weight. If there are children in that teachers classroom, we have an obligation to provide the best possible learning environment and to insist upon excellence from that teacher.

More Schools Turn to Extended Days
Hours of test preparation, especially in underperforming schools, has left little time for electives or even some of the un-tested basic subjects. Adding time to the school year and day has helped some schools improve their scores and flesh out their curriculums.

Teacher Selection Counts: Six Steps to Hiring
As principals, we feel an enormous amount of pressure to staff our buildings with strong, effective, intelligent people. If youve ever had to fill a teaching vacancy, you know how hard that is: Hard as a coffin nail. Included: Tips for getting the right people on the bus.

Teachers Take Lead in Instructional Talk Throughs
To meet teachers professional development needs, one districts administrators developed Instructional Talk Throughs. Teams of teachers observe colleagues and offer written and verbal feedback. Included: An outline of the Instructional Talk Through

Principals on the Move: Tips for Making a Smooth Move
If you have just been assigned to a new school for next school year, or if youre taking your first job as a principal, members of our Principals Files offer practical advice. Included: Tips from principals who have experienced a move or two or more.

Pete Hall: Turning Teacher Evaluations on Their Ears The scheduling, the classroom observations, the reports, the checklists Teacher evaluation time is an exhausting time. Just ask our ulcers. But when you keep SITTM in mind, and pair it with frequent classroom walk-throughs, students end up the big winners.

Military Veterans Proudly Serving Again, in the Classroom
Former servicemen and women bring to the classroom unique management skills, flexibility in dealing with others, and the ability to respond to nearly any situation. Included: Three troops-turned-teachers talk about the rewards, difficulties of their new.

Showing Appreciation on Secretaries Day
Administrative Professionals Week (formerly called National Secretaries Week) is celebrated each April. What are you doing to recognize the folks in the front office who keep things on an even keel in your school? Here are some practical ideas

Administrators Praise Three-Minute Walk-Throughs
Since one North Carolina school district started using three-minute walk-throughs, principals have become more involved with curriculum, provided support for educators, and learned from students. Included: How a three-minute walk-through program works.

Mentoring New Administrators to Success
Too often new administrators are dropped into their offices with a list of expectations and little support -- not even a bottle of aspirin. But the Savannah-Chatham County (Georgia) mentoring program is designed to nurture and mold quality educators into quality administrators.

Pete Hall: T2 -- Togetherness and Teamwork
There is a Kilimanjaro-sized mountain of research supporting the importance of teamwork in our schools. Quotes such as "many hands make light work" and "two heads are better than one" could not be more apropos than they are in today's schoolhouses.

Group Brings Waves of Humor to Professional Development
The group Wavelength proves that professional development can be fun and full of substance. Using skits, music, and improvisation, the troupe zeros in on hot education topics. Included: Descriptions of Wavelength presentations.

It's Time to Reinvent the Principalship
The idea of a single principal who can do everything is not working. Here are eight recommendations for reinventing the principalship to help reduce stress on current administrators and entice new candidates to the profession.

Counseling: A School Improvement Tool
The role of counselors in schools is expanding from just attending to individual students to leading discussions and activities for groups of students that can help improve school performance and behavior.

Pete Hall: Get Out of That Chair!
Principal Pete Hall says walk-throughs are the most powerful thing he does. They provide him with a clear picture of the state of learning in his school and many peripheral benefits too. Walk-throughs, Hall says, should be a priority in every principal's day.

Support Personnel Are P.R. People Too
Secretaries, custodians, cafeteria workers, crossing guards, and bus drivers are key personnel in creating a school's reputation. Education World columnist George Pawlas shares tips for capitalizing on the P.R. potential of your schools support personnel.

Teachers Have It Easy--NOT
Too many people still regard teaching as an easy part-time job at full-time pay. In Teachers Have It Easy, the authors attack those perceptions, by citing the long hours, sacrifices, and low salaries imposed on many teachers.

BRAVO Principals Care About People
How do caring principals show teachers and students that they care? Sandra Harris shares ten traits of caring principals that she has observed -- ten ways in which principals make teachers and students feel important, respected, recognized, heard, and included.

Setting New "Sub" Standards
The demands of the school day are altering the role of substitute teachers as placeholders or baby sitters. More districts are training their subs in classroom management and instructional skills so a teacher's absence does not mean a lost day of learning.

Preparing the Next Generation of Urban School Leaders
In an effort to deepen the pool of qualified urban principal candidates, the Institute for the Mentorship of Urban School Leaders at Lehigh University was established to give proven school leaders the training and support needed to be effective administrators.

Dressing (Teachers) for Success
"Dressing appropriately" used to be a phrase with universal meaning. But in an age where flip flops appear in White House photos, some school districts want to make it clear how they expect all staff members -- including teachers -- to dress.

Bring "Order" to the Cafeteria
Is your school's cafeteria a place where you love to spend time, or is it a nightmare come to life? How can you make the lunchroom a more "orderly" place? Administrators share their best tips for improving atmosphere, behavior, and manners in the lunchroom.

Mastering the New Three R's
Most educators find themselves constantly feeling that they have too much to do and too little time. John Blaydes offers advice for mastering the three R's of resiliency, renewal, and reflection to keep you healthy and more productive.

Schools Bring Professional Development In-House
More districts are getting away from generic professional development -- the "spray and pray" approach -- in favor of their own professional development programs targeted to their needs and presented by their staff.

Coaching Teachers to Success
Staff development teachers in the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools are coaches, mentors, and on-site resources for classroom teachers. Many bring years of teaching experience and a desire to help their peers do the job.  

State Your Mission: Creating Mission Statements that Work
What is your school's mission statement? If it doesn't exist or you can't recall it, it's time to take another look. A mission statement can be a focal point for learning. It can guide all school activities, and even assist you in choosing the right people to join your staff.

Principals Hold Key to Teacher Retention
Recruiting and hiring teachers for schools is hard enough -- so its frustrating if teachers leave after a year or two. A Houston, Texas, principal talks about the important role a principal plays in retaining teachers.

What Makes Effective Teaching Teams Tick?
Many of the most successful schools teem with the spirit of team teaching. Educators agree that teaming has huge benefits for students' academic and social growth, but what makes the most effective teams tick? Included: "Ten Commandments" for team teaching.

Improving School Culture
What kind of culture pervades your school? Do staff members feel like a family? Or is it like a factory or a Little Shop of Horrors? One way to assess school culture, and then strive to improve it, is through the Center for Improving School Culture's triage survey.

Walk-Throughs Are On the Move!
Principals use walk-through observations to engage teachers in conversations about student learning. Included: Principals share the benefits of walk-throughs; how to initiate walk-throughs with teachers who might fear frequent classroom visits by principals.

Excellent Evaluations: Practical Tips for Improving Principals' Observation, Teacher Evaluation Skills
Evaluating teachers is a principal's most important responsibility. Education World's "Principal Files" team offers their advice for doing this process better. Included: What to look for, evaluation form options, walk-through tips and forms, tips for teachers, more.

50 Great Questions for Teacher Interviews
The questions you ask during interviews are key to drawing out the personalities of applicants and selecting the right people to join your staff. Find your next new hire with these questions that will help you learn about their knowledge, experience, and more!

Lesson Study: Practical Professional Development
For teachers who have wished for hands-on professional development, lesson study is it. Teachers gather to research, create, try, and evaluate lesson plans to determine if they are helping students learn. Included: A description of lesson study practices.

Has the Threat of Lawsuits Changed Our Schools?
A recent survey revealed that most school principals have been threatened with lawsuits. That ever-present threat of legal action -- by disgruntled parents or teachers -- can affect the way principals work and schools run. Included: Tips for handling the threat.

The ABC List: A Public Relations Tool That's as Simple as A-B-C
Have you been looking for a quick and easy way to promote your school's finest qualities and its best ways for the community to get involved? South Carolina principal Ann Mohr has a great idea for you, and it all begins with the alphabet!

Lean Regime: A District Cuts Almost Half Its Administrators
With a ballooning deficit and shrinking resources, Mundelein High School District 120's superintendent decided in 2003 to pare down its administrators' ranks by almost half. While there have been challenges, staff members are making the new system work.

Scavenger Hunts Fun Way to Introduce Staff
Staff scavenger hunts are a fun way to kick off the year and help new and returning faculty members get better acquainted. Armed with a list of descriptions, staff members "hunt" for a person who matches each item on the list.

Teacher Training: Time to Review, Renew, Redo
The last few weeks of school present the perfect opportunity for staff developers to step back, look at what they've done, and plan what they're going to do. This is the time, says Lorrie Jackson, for teacher trainers to review, renew, and redo.

Web Resources for K-12 Staff Developers
The next time you need resources for staff development, try surfing the Web instead of rooting through mountains of paper documents. Web based resources save time, are current and relevant, and save you the trouble of reinventing the wheel.

The Interview: Principals Share 30 Favorite Questions for Future Teachers
It's springtime, which means it's also the beginning of job-interview season in schools. Since principals are starting to interview candidates for open teaching positions, we asked our "Principal Files" principals to share their favorite questions to ask applicants.

Eight Pillars Of Successful Technology Implementation
Integrated education works best when it is well planned, well integrated, closely monitored for effectiveness, and given a fair chance. "A fair chance" only can be guaranteed, however, if computer-based teaching and learning is constructed on eight pillars of success.

Would You Switch Schools for More Money?
Staff turnover and inexperienced teachers increasingly are seen as hindrances to improvement in poor, low-achieving schools. Some see extra money as the best way to attract and keep good teachers in these schools.

Hosting Professional Development Sessions at Your Own School
Have you ever considered hosting your own professional development sessions? Holding your own "conference" saves money, allows you to gear sessions to the needs of your staff, and exposes them to fresh viewpoints, experiences, and networking opportunities.

Planning for a Substitute Was Never This Easy
Unhappy with inconsistent results and lousy reports from substitutes, educator Bob Brems came up with a new strategy for his planned days off. He turns over the teaching reins to one of his students. Included: Tips for planning for student-as-teacher days.

Staff Development Through Peer Mentoring
K-12 teachers can be a challenging group to train. Although deeply committed to their students, they often feel overwhelmed by the demands on their time. Establishing peer mentor relationships can encourage reluctant teachers to implement change in their classrooms.

Is Your Staff Development Program Working?
We train -- and we hope that our training makes a difference. But how do we really know? Gauging the success of a professional development program requires self-assessment, objective assessment, critical friends, and observation.

In the Loop: Teachers and Students Sticking Together for a Second Year, or More!
Seeking to make more of an impact on students, some educators are choosing to remain with their classes a second year -- or longer. Is looping right for your school? your teachers? Included: Tips from teachers who have the scoop on the loop!

Delivering Relevant Staff Development
Teacher training expert Lorrie Jackson explains how K-12 staff developers and administrators can overcome the barriers of fatigue, boredom, frustration, and distrust, and make staff development relevant and effective for their teachers.

Principals Collaborate, Bring About School Change
After years of working in isolation, a group of Milwaukee principals decided to collaborate rather than compete. Principals create yearlong themes, share problems and strategies, and advocate for all students. Included: Descriptions of the group's programs.

Your Professional Development: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking!
Many teachers, taking ownership of their own professional development, have found innovative and cost-efficient ways to improve classroom practices. Educator Brenda Dyck uncovers a number of exciting online resources to assist and support teachers.

Teacher Training: Navigating the Information Highway
Successful professional development depends on the acquisition of information. But with so much information available, how do educators choose what to use? Teacher trainer Lorrie Jackson offers advice on selecting the best resources for you and your staff.

Is the Time Right for "Elemiddles"?
Some communities have found that middle schools full of hormone-drenched adolescents are neither tranquil nor productive. So they have reverted to the old "grammar" school structure of grades K to 8 in one school -- and they are pleased with the results.

Capitalizing on Conferences
How can you be sure the conferences and conventions your staff attends make the best use of the limited time and money available? Tips on selecting, preparing for, and getting the most from conferences and conventions.

Teacher Training: A Matter of Timing
Before school or after school? During release-time or as paid extra time? During faculty meetings or at special in-services? Principals must answer those questions and others as they plan teacher training. Included: Tips to help teachers benefit from training.

Alleviating Appraisal Anxiety -- Lessons Learned from 29 Years of Evaluations
Max Fischer has taught for 29 years, but he still gets a little nervous each time he is observed! Over the years, however, Fischer has learned a lot about reducing anxiety during observation and appraisal time.

Retreat, Review, Recharge!
Retreats can be the perfect way to re-energize faculty, flesh out new programs, and help people get to know one another better. While getting away is a treat, some creative activities also can make an in-house retreat productive and fun.

Managing Difficult People: Turning "Negatives" Into "Positives"
You find them at staff meetings, in the classroom, and even at social occasions. They are the always-negative people whose outlook drains everyone's energy. How do you counteract their negativity so you can maintain an upbeat workplace? Tips included.

Principals Caught Up in FISH! Philosophy
Long popular in the business world, the FISH! philosophy developed by ChartHouse Learning is rapidly fans in education circles as well. Employing FISH!'s four guidelines in their schools has brought spark back to working and learning, principals said.

Sixty-Five Ways to Recognize Teachers During Teacher Appreciation Week -- and All Year Long
Have you special plans for Teacher Appreciation Week? Are you searching for new ways to show your teachers how much you appreciate their efforts? Education World's "Principal Files" principals share 65 ways to show your appreciation!

Effective Strategies for Staff Development: A Wire Side Chat With Angela Peery
In-service teacher training is a popular approach, but it might not always be the most effective way to nurture professional growth. Angela B. Peery shares thoughts about video, journals, study groups, and other effective professional development strategies.

Principals Share Lessons Learned: Staffing Decisions, Bringing About School Change
Members of Education World's "Principal Files" team have turned mistakes they've made into valuable lessons they are willing to share with you. Included: Lessons learned about staffing, bringing about change, and the importance of listening.

Preparing For The Worst: Why Schools Need Terrorism Plans
With terrorism advisories and talk of war commonplace, school principals need to create and test terrorism preparedness plans of their own, according to some school security consultants. Included: Recommendations for developing and implementing a plan.

Classroom Management: Principals Help Teachers Develop Essential Skills
Almost everybody agrees that strong classroom management skills are essential to successful teaching. So what is a principal to do with a teacher who has great potential but needs help with classroom management? Our Principal Files team has a plan!

Learning and Living the First Amendment
Does your schools involvement with the First Amendment consist of one or two civics lessons a year? Find out how you can use your school as a mini democracy lab, applying the First Amendments five freedoms to school governance and everyday issues.

Teachers Observing Teachers: A Professional Development Tool for Every School
More and more schools are discovering the professional development and student performance benefits that occur when teachers observe their peers. Included: The benefits of teacher-to-teacher observations -- for the entire school.

Motivating Teachers: A Wire Side Chat with Todd Whitaker
"Outstanding principals know that if they have great teachers, they have a great school," Todd Whitaker, author of Motivating and Inspiring Teachers, told Education World. In this Wire Side Chat, Whitaker shares his tips for motivating teachers.

Pay for Performance: What Are the Issues?
Merit pay, performance pay, knowledge-and-skill-based pay -- are making news as alternatives or supplements to the traditional teacher step system. But what do they mean for teachers?

Pay for Performance: What Went Wrong in Cincinnati?
Years of planning, discussions, and negotiations yielded a new, complex teacher evaluation/compensation system in Cincinnati. Education World examines Cincinnatis proposed alternative teacher pay plan and the reasons behind its rejection by the union.

Pay for Performance: It Can Work -- Heres How
While performance pay philosophies and plans abound, working systems are harder to find. Education World examines systems in two Colorado districts: Denver and Douglas County.

Pay for Performance: More States Brave Teacher-Pay Debate
Now that some U.S. states and school districts have stepped away from the 80-plus-year-old teacher compensation system, others are devising plans of their own.

Interactive Programs Enhance Teacher Learning
Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) can watch a video of a teacher presenting a mathematics lesson, analyze it with other teachers, and then try it out, through a program of the LAUSD/UCLA Collaborative Institute.

Team Teaching: Teaming Teachers Offer Tips
Education World explores two essential questions -- What constitutes an excellent teaching team? and How can teachers strengthen their teams? Included: Practical tips to share with teaming teachers!

New Leaders Trains New Principals
Hoping to change urban education one school at a time, Jonathan Schnur and some colleagues founded New Leaders for New Schools, a training program for principals. By meshing coursework, on-the-job training, and mentoring from administrators and executives, New Leaders hopes to produce principals who can turn schools around.

Badge, Please? Schools Turn to IDs to Enhance Security
While many school districts have policies requiring visitors to sign in and wear a badge while in a school, some schools are choosing to issue photo identification badges to all staff as well. Administrators say badges allow them to know at a glance who is who, and adds an extra feeling of security to buildings. Included: A description of several schools identification badge procedures.

Sub-Searching Made Easier
Hours of pre-dawn phone calls in search of substitute teachers to fill a schools daily vacancies soon may be a thing of the past. Some districts are turning to automated systems that use the phone, the Internet, or both to allow teachers to register absences and substitutes to review and sign up for jobs. While the systems do have some shortfalls, they have won over the districts that use them, and numerous substitutes as well. Included: Descriptions of how automated substitute systems work.

Theres No Sub for a Good Sub Plan!
Is there a substitute shortage or not? Do substitutes require special training? How do teachers arrange for sub coverage? What if a teacher doesnt leave behind plans? Are substitute teachers evaluated? Education Worlds Principal Files principals offer a picture of how school districts manage finding, training, and retaining substitute teachers. Included: Elements of a truly helpful "sub folder."

The Wild World of Teacher Recruiting
Some districts and states with teacher shortages of their own are watching teachers leave for jobs in wealthier states or towns. Higher salaries, bonuses, better working conditions, and special programs that help develop career educators lure teachers to new jobs. But while some districts can afford to aggressively recruit teachers, others are struggling with budget reductions.

The Teacher Shortage: Solutions That Work
Low pay, large classes, lack of respect for the profession: Those are probably the most common in a long list of reasons cited for the nation's teacher shortage, which most experts predict will worsen over the next decade. What can school administrators do to combat the dearth of teachers?

Two-Way Mirrors Reflect New Teaching Model
Imagine other educators' observing you through two-way mirrors and listening to everything you say to your students. Lisa Ahlstrom and Maria Nichols teach in the San Diego (California) Unified School District. They recently spoke with Education World about "starring" in their own daily "shows"; their classrooms have two-way mirrors, video cameras, and microphones. Their students benefit while the two help other educators in their professional development.

Project Promise Delivers
In 14 years, the alternative certification program at Colorado State University, Project Promise, has produced 150 teachers; about 80 percent of them have remained in education. The ten-month intensive program includes student teaching stints in urban and rural schools and lots of group discussion.

Guidance from the Get-Go: Mentoring New Teachers
Large numbers of beginning teachers never make it to their second year in the classroom, but a solid mentoring program -- a well-planned and well-supported program staffed by quality mentors -- can help stem the tide of teacher attrition. Mentoring can benefit student achievement too!

Pathways Program Helps Combat Teacher Shortage
Education World recently spoke with Dr. Beatriz "Toni" Clewell about Pathways to Teaching Careers, a program that has transformed non-certified teachers, experienced paraprofessionals, and former Peace Corps volunteers into fully qualified teachers working in urban schools. Discover what puts this model for teacher training ahead of the class!

Character(istics) Count! -- What Principals Look for When Hiring New Teachers
A recent article on Teaching for Excellence discusses what school principals look for in the new teachers they hire. Which of 15 "can-do" characteristics is most important? Education World asks the Principal Files principals.

Laughing Matters Teaches Serious Lessons
Teachers and administrators get to try out roles and strategies through workshops offered by Laughing Matters, an Atlanta (Georgia) improvisation troupe. Nancy L. Meyer, a former teacher, who handles education outreach for Laughing Matters, tells Education World she tailors presentations to the needs of the staff.

Making Teacher Evaluations Work
Evaluating teachers is one of the most difficult jobs in any school district. The Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools handle teacher evaluation by incorporating it into an in-depth, wide-ranging approach to teacher learning called the Professional Growth System. Education World takes a close look at the system's practical elements and how it works.

From the Principal Files: Principals Offer Advice to Job Seekers
Have a plan, a portfolio, and a good attitude! That's just some of the advice Education World's Principal Files principals have for soon-to-be college grads looking for their first teaching positions. Any educator who is involved in a job search will benefit from this advice from the people who are doing the hiring!

Curriculum, Caring, and Crack Vials: A City Principal's Perspective
During their visit to Crossroads School, Education World editors Diane Weaver Dunne and Ellen R. Delisio sit down for a chat with principal Ann Weiner. She offers her views about how structure, staff, and knowledge about every child can help disadvantaged students overcome challenges.

Hawaii Strike Deadline Nears
About 13,000 teachers and 3,000 university faculty in Hawaii are prepared to strike today if teachers organizations and the state do not reach a contract agreement. Low pay and the high cost of living in the islands have forced the dispute, according to union officials.

Recruiting and Retaining Minority Teachers: Programs That Work!
According to the National Education Association, the decline in African American and Hispanic students majoring in education is steeper than the overall decline in education majors. And minority teachers leave teaching at higher rates than white teachers do. Why do so few people of color choose teaching careers? Why do so few stay? Today, Education World writer Glori Chaika explores the issues behind recruiting and retaining minority teachers.

New Jersey Teacher Has Not Missed Class in 29 Years
New Jersey language teacher Alphonse Dattolo has a Cal Ripken-esque streak going -- he has not missed a day of class in more than 5,100 days! Dattolo told Education World assistant news editor Ellen Dilisio that good health and a love of teaching make his perfect attendance possible.

Portfolios Help Teachers Reflect on What Makes Good Teaching
Connecticut's demanding two-year support and assessment program for new teachers, Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST), is gaining national attention. The program includes mentoring, seminars, a personal portfolio, and an analysis of the teacher's performance. Included: Education World talks with two beginning teachers who completed the portfolio process and two veteran teachers who score new teachers' portfolios. All share why they like the program.

Solving the Substitute Shortage, Part 2: Exploring Other Options
Many school districts, coping with a serious shortage of substitute teachers, can no longer rely on the subs who simply show up and sign up. So schools have explored other options! Included: Information about a new substitute agency, a new substitute union, and a "sub camp" that bridges the gap for new subs.

Solving the Substitute Shortage, Part 1:
Four Rules to Keep Your Best Subs Coming Back

Between kindergarten and high school graduation, the average student will spend 187 days -- more than one full school year -- with substitute teachers. Learn what schools can do to guarantee the highest quality education possible in the absence of the permanent classroom teacher. Included: Four rules to help keep your best subs coming back and tips for recognizing the contributions of your school's substitutes!

Ed Schools: Are Tomorrow's Teachers Making the Grade? (Part of the Education World Principal Files Series)
How are our teacher education institutions doing? How might they improve on what they're doing? As the school year begins, Education World Principal Files principals reflect on new teachers they have hired in recent years. As well prepared as many of those teachers might be, principals say, colleges could do an even better job of training new teachers for the reality of the classroom. Included: Principals reflect on the need for new teachers to have more hands-on experiences, better classroom management skills, a keener awareness of the interpersonal skills needed to thrive in the school culture, and more!

Strong Libraries Improve Student Achievement
Last month, site-based management teams at 11 elementary schools in Kalamazoo, Michigan, chose to cut their budgets for the 2000-2001 school year by eliminating the position of school librarian. Did they make the right decision? A new study indicates that what they made was a big mistake! Included: Results of a recent study show that students at schools with strong media centers scored significantly higher on standardized tests than students at schools with less-well-equipped and staffed libraries.

NEA Offers Tips to Recruit Minority Teachers
The NEA recently released an updated publication to help school districts attract more minority teachers. Their report spells out some of the problems schools face and offers some suggestions to overcome those obstacles.

The Right of America's Children: An Online Conference from the NEA
If you care about education, this is the conference for you! Grab your mouse -- not your suitcase -- and head for The Right of America's Children: Recruiting and Retaining Quality Public School Teachers, an NEA hosted conference, taking place online from May 22 through June 2.

National Board Certification: Is It for You?
Education World explores the reality behind the rhetoric as we ask educators around the nation to describe their experiences with the national board certification process.

An e-Interview with Betty Castor, President of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
How are states and school systems supporting teachers who seek certification? How long does certification last and how will teachers be re-certified once their initial certification expires? Are many teachers "promoted "out of the classroom once they become certified? Those are some of the questions Education World asked. Some of the answers may surprise you!

The Teacher Shortage: Apply, Please!
In some areas, competition over certified teachers has become so fierce that districts are promising signing bonuses, paid health insurance, subsidized housing, and more. Just what does it take to woo ---or lose--- a teacher? This week, Education World explores what some school districts are doing to attract and retain teachers.

Liberal Arts Grads and Career Changers Finding More Paths Into Public School Teaching
According to the National Center for Education Information (NCEI), interest in alternative certification programs is escalating, as more career changers and people with noneducation degrees seek entry into public school teaching. This week, Education World shares examples of such programs and provides an overview of the debate over alternative certification.

Out-of-Field Teaching: How Qualified Is Your Child's Teacher?
Teacher shortages, primarily in the areas of special education, math, and science, vary by region and by school district, but critical shortages do exist throughout the country. If your child's teacher has inadequate preparation in the subject she or he teaches, is that the equivalent of educational fraud?

Scrambling for Staff: The Teacher Shortage in Rural Schools
At a time when school districts nationwide are experiencing teacher shortages, districts that historically have difficulty attracting and retaining quality teachers are really scrambling for staff. This week Education World explores the effects of the teacher shortage on remote and rural schools. Included: What are schools doing to solve the shortage?

On-Line Mentoring: Teachers Buddy-Up to Learn!
Nothing is more powerful than when teachers get together to further their own professional interests. From planning units and sharing content area materials to learning technology and sharing collaborative projects, mentoring on-line is becoming commonplace. On-line, teachers are meeting, collaborating, brainstorming, problem solving, taking classes, and receiving degrees! Included: an array of opportunities for teacher networking and mentoring -- and guidelines for getting involved!

Critical Friends Groups: Catalysts for School Change
"Finding the time to cultivate new ways of examining student work and relating to colleagues is difficult but well worth the effort," said teacher Deborah Bambino of her involvement in a Critical Friends Group, or CFG. Perhaps you've heard the buzz about CFGs! This week, Education World takes a close-up look at CFGs --- what they are and what they hope to accomplish. Included: Comments from teachers who have found CFGs to be an invaluable professional development tool.

Creating a Successful Staff Development Program
What are the keys to a successful staff development program? This brief look at two award-winning programs ---at Hungerford School in Staten Island, New York, and at Montview Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado--- might provide some insight. Included: Information about the National Awards Program for Model Professional Development.

Teachers Tackle Testing: The Scoop on Teacher Assessment
A Harvard graduate, a Boston University graduate, and an MIT Ph.D. failed the Massachusetts new-teacher assessment test. How do you think you would do on it?

An Ed World E-Interview: Teacher of the Year Philip Bigler
The 1998 Teacher of the Year, Philip Bigler, began considering a teaching career while in college. But he had been profoundly influenced by one of his earlier teachers, whom he celebrates in Education World's Q&A session with him.

From The Principal FilesFrom the Principal Files: Teachers Who Make Principals Say WOW!
Whenever he's feeling a bit overwhelmed or stressed, or whenever he needs a reminder of why he's doing what he's doing, principal Ernest Elliott visits the classrooms in his school. The great things that his teachers are doing help to put his problems in perspective. Great teachers -- teachers who make principals stand up and say "Wow!" -- serve as daily reminders of why principals do what they do. This week, Education World's "Principal Files" principals take time out to say "Wow!" Included: The teachers who've created Canada's first "MicroSociety" school, two teachers who organized an "Andy Warhol Art Exhibit" at an elementary school, and the explosive energy of a teacher of Mandarin Chinese!

The Focus on Teacher Standards: Helping Teachers Achieve
This is the second story in a series examining the national effort to raise teacher standards. Included are reports on a special mentoring program for first- and second-year teachers in Connecticut; Virginia's technology standards for educators; the NBPTS national teacher certification program; and Linda Darling-Hammond's "twelve-part plan for powerful teaching."

The Focus on Teacher Standards: States Raise the Bar on Teacher Standards
In state after state, education officials and state legislators are making moves to ensure that every teacher hired meets high quality standards.

Creating a Successful Staff Development Program
What are the keys to a successful staff development program? This brief look at two award-winning programs ---at Hungerford School in Staten Island, New York, and at Montview Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado--- might provide some insight. Included: Information about the National Awards Program for Model Professional Development.

1998 -- Is This the Year of the Teacher Shortage?
It's a different world out there when some teacher candidates are offered hiring bonuses, relocation cost reimbursements, loan forgiveness or reduction! Or when one state is raiding teachers from another state! Others wonder, Does the United States really have a teacher shortage?

From The Principal FilesWhat Qualities Do Principals Look for in a New Teacher?Best of 1998 Graphic
What will school principals be looking for in the new teachers they hire in the weeks ahead? That's what Education World asked a group of school principals. The principals' responses might help others -- principals and candidates for teaching jobs -- as they focus their thoughts on the interviews ahead.

Schools Respond to Substitute ShortageBest of 1998 Graphic
From better pay for substitutes to special training programs, schools are paying more attention -- and respect! -- to the substitute teachers they recruit.

Pushing for Peer-Review
The NEA and AFT both advocate peer-review and peer-assistance programs for teachers.

What's Going On in Teacher Education?Best of 1997 Icon
Teacher training institutions across the U.S. are working to improve the quality of America's teachers. Here we highlight a handful of programs that are taking steps -- big and small -- to change the way teachers are trained.

Trading Places: Hiring Teachers Based on Race
In Georgia, opinions are split about a case in which black teachers were transferred so white teachers could be hired to teach in a predominantly black school.

The State of Teacher Preparation: 1997
This article, the first in a two-part series, focuses on the problems and the challenges of teacher preparation.

Professional Development Schools: Are They Working For Everyone?
The idea of offering continuing professional development to teachers through networks with local college departments of education was not always widely accepted.

High Quality Professional Development
Finding and Implementing the Right Resources