Project Based Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching

(Also published on www.gettingsmart.com)

PBL is starting to catch on across the country and it’s important that we understand why it works. As we look for answers to close the opportunity gap, for our historically oppressed groups in society, it’s useful to see the connections between PBL and culturally responsive teaching. Both CRT and PBL push us to teach deeply, be relevant, and develop skills. They also redefine the student:teacher relationship and change the learning process.

See why it works!

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School Reform won’t happen without Equity! – Response to New York Times Magazine

It sounds so easy yet it’s so hard. School Turnaround. Reform. Program Improvement. Lots of experts outside of education have all the answers. Instructional leadership, coaching teachers and getting into classrooms. Simple enough. Then why hasn’t it been done before, especially in the hardest areas? Because to engineer for equity, leaders need the proper building blocks:

  1. Mindset
  2. Time set
  3. Alignment
  4. Refinement

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A Principal’s reflection on NTAC 2018

I just returned from my first New Tech Annual Conference, (one of my featured 7 summer conferences). It was 5 days of deeper learning about deeper learning, and I’m exploding with excitement to start the new year. This years theme was “The Power of Us” and I got to bond with my staff, learn new ways to approach developing teams and build some quality projects. Here are some of my reflections and thoughts about leading PBL in schools.

See what I learned!

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12 things principals can do to empower immigrant youth

You see what’s going on in the media, at our “border.” You know it’s wrong and of course you care, but maybe you aren’t sure where to start or what to do about it. You can/should donate money, march, call senators. But what could/should be happening at your school? What’s your role in sparking action?

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Breathe life back into your staff meetings

skeleton meetings

If we are ever to bridge the opportunity gap and eradicate educational disproportionality, we need to make big changes. Readers workshops, project-based learning, and technology integration. Culturally responsive teaching, social-emotional learning, and restorative justice. Those are big ole changes!

These shifts require us to build capacity through some form professional development. No one wants another meeting, but we need to learn to work smarter, not harder. Especially if we want different outcomes.

Our meeting spaces need to be high powered, collaborative, and flexible. But you only have so many minutes in the contractual workday.

So what do you do?

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5 interview questions to find equity warriors

It’s hiring season in schools and getting the right people on the bus is a leader’s most important task.

All aboard.

But first, you have to ask the right questions.

Nowadays, with lower salaries, a lack of national respect for education, and the increasing difficulty of the job, it is HARD to find good folks. Therefore, we have to make the best decision. And, the fate of humanityrests on you being able to find the best people.

So, how in the name of Paulo Freire, do you find them?

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Questions that keep me up at night

Great leaders are constantly reflecting on their practice and assessing progress towards social justice. We place so much pressure on ourselves to reach outcomes, to fight injustice, and to challenge the status quo. This is the work of a critical pedagogue. We want to make sure that we are not another cog in the wheel of social reproduction.

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