The Cardona Administration Begins with a Misstep

The Biden administration just announced that states would need to administer the Federally mandated 3–8 assessments. In the previous year, states were given wide latitude to not administer the tests due to issues related to the pandemic.

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In what came as a bit of a surprise to many educators who had been very supportive of a new Biden Education Department, it was announced that the need to understand the effects of the pandemic on student learning outweighed any needs against administering the tests — “It is urgent to understand the impact of COVID-19…


One of the key elements to making improvements in school effectiveness and student learning is knowing when we have succeeded. This seems obvious and simple, but it is a commonly skipped step.

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When we have gone into schools to help with improvement plans, we typically begin with an audit of activities and interventions that are already in place. For each one, we ask what the intended purpose of the program is, and how it is known if it is being successful. …


We all know that meetings can be deadly, and with so many people working virtually, they can be even more so. Meetings can be an efficient way for a leader to communicate, but meetings should never take the place of a carefully crafted memo or other communication tool. To ensure that you are never the guilty party in the “death by meeting” saga, follow these simple rules.

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First, assess whether you really need to have a meeting, or if the task at hand can be accomplished in another way. If you are communicating information to a group of people, you…


We’ve all heard the old aphorism “practice makes perfect” while we were younger. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true, but it is a much tighter sound bite than “practice makes habits.”

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Rehearsal is an important part of habit formation, especially when looking to adopt a new skill that you expect to put into use under stress. High performing emergency response teams put in countless hours of rehearsal and practice so that when an emergency strikes, they can respond without the paralysis that can accompany sensory overload.

High stress situations can make it much more difficult for you to respond to…


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What is collective teacher efficacy and why is it important? Collective teacher efficacy is when teachers have a shared belief that their collective actions will have a positive effect on student achievement. This is especially important for improving student outcomes.

It’s hard to believe that there are teachers who do not have a positive self efficacy and yet, this happens often with little recourse. In addition, this can translate into teachers feeling as though they don’t have a collective teacher efficacy, which can inhibit a school from moving forward and improving student achievement.

School leaders are vital to this. They…


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There’s not enough time in the day! There’s so much on our plates how could we ever take on more! Plan? Who has time to plan? These are often said in organizations; however, how much time is spent fixing, reorganizing, editing, changing, and yes, even having initiatives fail all because the time wasn’t spent on the plan. Spending time on the planning phase is probably one of the most important steps an organization can do when making change or implementing a new process, procedure or initiative. And it is by far, the most cost effective.

In high stakes situations people…


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Virtual teaching is not easy. Can teachers really provide high quality learning experiences for students or are we fooling ourselves into thinking that we can design lessons where students are cognitively engaged and learning? As teachers, we know it’s all in the design, whether we’re in person or virtual. Teachers have been instructional designers forever and that’s true even in the virtual classroom. So, can an instructional strategy, like Jigsaw, be used in the virtual classrooms? Of course it can.

Sometimes teachers in the virtual classrooms think that synchronous teaching means that they must be teaching and talking for an…


It’s important to think about what we control and what we don’t. As we go through life, we often worry about what could, would, or should happen and when we are faced with difficult decisions, hardships, or struggles we may engage in wishing that these things never happened. It’s natural to spend time in self-pity or wishful thinking; however, one might argue that it would be more productive to embrace everything that happens and work through the struggles, disappointments, and hardships in the same way we would good fortune and positive events.

The world is unpredictable. Who would have thought…


What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Teaching Diverse Learners”? Chances are what you have in mind is not quite the same thing your colleague has in mind. As educators work harder to be inclusive and responsive to diverse learners, it is important that we recognize what we do and do not know about the issue. Oftentimes, when we talk about inclusivity and diverse learners, we are describing the notion of special education and students with learning disabilities. More recently, the importance of being culturally responsive has been brought to the fore and more teachers are attending…


Everyone knows that setting goals is an important part of making progress. Being clear about your organizational or personal goals is a critical step in moving forward. However, too many of us get frustrated after a period of time when our progress seems stalled, despite our best efforts. Why? How could this be?

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Those moments of stalled progress are great moments to stop and check on your alignment. Alignment refers to the road map you created for yourself when you set your goal and the map you are actually following. A food diary is a great example of an alignment…

16th Street Consulting

ceo@16thstreetconsulting.com is dedicated to improving organizational effectiveness through equity, focusing on education, health care, and government.

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