The School Administrator

Nov 09 Cover

November 2009 Number 10, Vol. 66Reimagining KindergartenPersonal development vs. formal instruction in the early years


  • Reimagining Kindergarten


    From her position with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, the author wants schools to restore a developmental approach for their youngest learners, resisting demands to turn playtime into structured formal instruction. She asks: “Has kindergarten lost its identity … ?”

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  • A Village Route to Early Childhood Education


    The Davenport, Iowa, district has partnered with its community to improve kindergarten readiness. The district created the Children’s Village model, providing preschool classes taught by certified early childhood instructors. The district serves children from six weeks to five years of age in all-day, year-round programming.

    Similar Reading: How several small districts formed a consortium

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  • Reframing the First Day of School


    A truly seamless free and appropriate education for all children should begin on the maternity ward, says this researcher on early childhood education. Only through redefining our educational boundaries can we expect to close the learning gap.

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  • A Miracle in the Mountains


    How did one of Appalachia’s poorest schools, with a student body that once qualified for 100 percent coverage of free and reduced school meals, become one of its most successful? A foundation head tells the tale.

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  • The Making of a Weak Teacher


    Consider this preposterous notion: School leaders do everything in their power to craft a work environment so unsupportive to turn effective teachers into struggling, frustrated employees. The authors see it happening in schools.

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    Keeping Cool as the Temperature Rises by Jay P. Goldman

    Lillian Lowery’s capacity for empowering others and remaining cool in heated moments serves her well now as Delaware’s state secretary of education.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    Dare You Ask Your Board for Management Advice? by DON McADAMS

    The last thing superintendents want is board members recommending management decisions or second-guessing decisions already made. Yet there are appropriate times when superintendents ought to consider limited and carefully managed requests for advice from board members.

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    Guest Columns

    A Personal Touch for Staying Connected by DAVID P. SKLARZ

    A superintendent gives his undivided attention to his school district’s teachers — in their own classrooms. He’s become a known quantity in his schools.

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    The Artful Leader: Reflections on Creativity and Innovation by ZACH KELEHEAR

    Instead of hiring superintendents to manage the business and operations, now more than ever we need to carve out space for creative, aesthetic leadership, a style that uses sensory experience to inform decision making in Thomas Friedman’s “flat world.”

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    Fishing Blindly for Quality Teaching by STEPHEN FINK

    The author’s periodic experiment that leads administrators on a virtual classroom walkthrough to rate the teaching on display never ends in agreement. That says a lot about the state of evaluating classroom instruction.

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    Run to Daylight by PATRICK W. MARTIN

    Inspired by the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, this superintendent relates the importance of seizing the moment to capitalize on colleagues who are fired-up about a new notion.

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    Punchback: Answering Critics

    Charter Schools: Racing to the Top … or to Nowhere? by WILLIAM J. MATHIS

    Grant criteria from the federal government call for states to remove caps on charter schools, yet the preponderance of evidence does not show charters work well as a reform strategy.

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    Do’s and Don’ts in Harsh Budget Seasons by PAUL C. GAGLIARDUCCI

    Economic realities may control your destiny at budget-building time, though following some simple guidelines used by this superintendent can lessen the stressful moments.

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    President's Corner

    Putting Yourself on Pause by MARK T. BIELANG

    Allow yourself time to find a place free from distraction and reflect on the many things for which you can be thankful, counsels AASA’s president.

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    Executive Perspective

    Aligning Behind the Total Child by DANIEL A. DOMENECH

    AASA’s position paper, “Educating the Total Child,” has a direct connection to the messages of Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point, and Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Both will be keynote presenters at AASA’s national conference in February.

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    The latest round of professional moves in school system leadership circles, while the Sidelight features a superintendent whose weekend passion involves the pursuit of wild turkeys.

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