The School Administrator

Jan 2010 Cover

January 2010 Number 1, Vol. 67Generations at SchoolBringing cohesion among Millennials, Gen X, Boomers


  • Generations at School: Building an Age-Friendly Workplace


    If professional learning communities are the engine of quality work, school leaders face a daunting task: How do you bring about cohesion among groups of staff members who don’t see eye to eye owing to their generational differences? The author, a central-office administrator in California, shows us how this plays out in everyday school situations.

    Similar Reading: Ray McNulty on generation gaps in technology and Lynne Lancaster on 24/7 connection needs of Millenials

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  • Meet Mr. and Mrs. Gen X: A New Parent Generation

    by NEIL HOWE

    Generation Xers have been taking over the parent ranks in K-12 education from Baby Boomers, and they are bringing with them a high level of customer-service expectations, strong self-interest and a willingness to apply stealth-fighter tactics. The author, an authority on generational differences, shares his strategies for how schools can adjust to this broad shift in generational attitudes and priorities.

    Similar Reading: The lineup of generations

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  • Autonomy for School Leaders


    So how much autonomy should superintendents give principals, and how much is too much? The authors report on some relevant findings in research by McREL, a federal research lab, that may answer this question.

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  • A Superintendent’s Manifesto: School Wellness and Personal Health


    While recognizing her own unhealthy eating habits, the author thought to herself, “How could we harangue children about the dangers of sodas … when as adults we modeled the exact opposite?” The superintendent then became a role model for promoting wellness in her 2,000-student school system in West Virginia.

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  • A Minimalist Approach to Reform


    A smart, sane and strategic route focuses principals and teachers on fewer high priorities. But the central office needs to let site leaders know which things are OK to let go.

    Similar Reading: Pareto principle in education

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    An Enormous Leap From the Reservation by PAUL RIEDE

    Antoinette Cavanaugh grew up in a broken home on an Indian reservation in the same sprawling Nevada school district that she now leads as superintendent.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    Lessons From History About Reality by NICK CARUSO

    When the author trains school board members, he starts with a three-question quiz to show how we often allow myths to guide us in our decision making about effective practices and progressive policies. It’s a trap that can be avoided.

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    Guest Columns

    Defining the Word ‘Sacrifice’ by GARY A. BURTON

    The word is common to many conversations these days. The author, a veteran superintendent, proposes the notion of “shared sacrifices” as a defining moment for school leaders to clearly explain what they are willing to give up, even as they ask local residents to continue their support.

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    Practicing 21st-Century Skills Back in the ’80s by NANCY WINGENBACH

    The promotion of 21st-century learning skills — creativity, innovation, collaboration — isn’t anything new to this author, who has found them all applied among students for years in an extracurricular program known as Destination ImagiNation. Now a superintendent, she’s been an active player since serving as a volunteer for the competition more than 25 years ago.

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    The English Problem in the Digital Age by MARK BAUERLEIN

    As hand-held devices “have descended like an avalanche into young people’s lives,” the author of The Dumbest Generation urges educators to resist calls to further digitalize reading and writing in K-12 education. The troubling impact on his college-level English classes has been pronounced.

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    Punchback: Answering Critics

    Combating the Rumor Mill Through a Grapevine by L. OLIVER ROBINSON

    To address wild claims and half-truths about the schools, a suburban district near Albany, N.Y., launched a public blog of its own with regular input from the superintendent to provide factual answers. The ultimate feature — anonymity — allows individuals to feel comfortable directly addressing the establishment.

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    President's Corner

    Is It Time To Pick Up the Pace? by MARK T. BIELANG

    Just as long-distance runners need to know when to slow it down or kick it up a notch, so too must public school leaders know how to adjust the pace toward reaching a destination successfully.

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    Executive Perspective

    Informed by Sicilian and Maltese Educators by DANIEL A. DOMENECH

    In pursuit of solutions, AASA’s executive director joined other U.S. educators overseas as part of the latest International Invitational Seminar on Schooling. He shares a few thoughts about things he witnessed that could have application in the United States.

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    A rundown of superintendent appointments, retirements and deaths in recent months.

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