Peer Mentoring to Build A Culture of Caring

As school leaders, we often ask ourselves: How can I be sure that I am meeting the needs of every one of my students? How can I ensure no one is forgotten? The kids who are naturally part of a group such as band, sports teams, Student Government Association, or clubs generally have found their […]

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Building a Restorative Justice Program

There are many types of restorative justice programs in schools, meaning that one size doesn’t fit all. Our motto here at Payson High School is “One Team, Making Today Count.” As a part of “Making Today County,” we encourage our students and staff to take advantage of all positive opportunities, no matter how small or […]

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Quarantine Routines: An Educator’s Guide to Surviving a Quarantine

You will have to quarantine. For many educators, these are the words we have lost sleep over, worried about hearing, and struggled to plan for when it does happen. While we are preparing lessons for our students who are at home learning and supporting our colleagues’ classes while they are at home, we are hoping […]

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Building Relationships With Candidates and Elected Officials

In Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, President Abraham Lincoln is described as being the master of setting aside political and personal differences and including opposing voices in his cabinet. In an era of political chaos, that model of leadership is lacking in many arenas of policymaking and discourse, and as public school leaders, we […]

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Moving the Needle: Strategies to Increase Academic Achievement in Rural Schools

Six years ago, our middle level/high school in rural Idaho was facing the same problems as many rural schools throughout the United States. Shifts in the local economy and an increase in the number of transient students attending schools in neighboring districts had dropped our high school enrollment to below 50 students, raising concerns about […]

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Leveling Up: Ways to Increase Remote Student Engagement

Shifting back to (or continuing in) distance learning during the 2020–21 school year provided opportunities to continue to look at how we can build relationships with students, even with only seeing them on a computer screen. Instead of focusing on what students are not doing, taking time to dig deeper and ask others what is working […]

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Letter to a Discouraged Student

You’re discouraged. I know you are. Your heart sank when you saw the grades. But those letter grades don’t define you. Last spring didn’t go like it was supposed to go. You missed out on activities. You missed seeing your friends at school every day. And this year isn’t normal either. It’s uncomfortable to wear a mask at […]

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Personalized Learning in a Comprehensive High School

What does it mean to personalize instruction for all students? Personalization seems like a daunting task, and some educators may say that it is impossible. But let’s face it—personalization is everywhere. Netflix allows each member to view movies and shows with an algorithm that adapts to their interests, doctors can now make virtual visits 24 hours a day, […]

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Sharing Your Highlight Reel: Ways to Share Your School’s Story—and Your Own

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Twitter and getting the feeling that you aren’t doing enough? Do you ask yourself how others find time to do what they do? Having an online professional learning network (PLN) is extremely important and beneficial; however, if I am being honest, I have found myself comparing where I […]

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From Staff to Team: 5 Practices That Encourage Collaboration to Improve Student Performance

It’s a fact—secondary teachers are by nature more individualistic than lower-grade teachers. In most schools, they are singleton teachers who are specialists in their content area. Although this specificity is critical at the secondary level, it can often prevent collaboration and collegiality from becoming part of your school culture. The question for secondary school leaders […]

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