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Creating a School Culture of Success.  What does a school culture of success look like? How is it defined?  How do we measure it?  What role do tests play and can we have a culture of success with mandated standards and an externally driven curriculum?  Can the conditions for student success exist absent a highly regulated school environment?   These questions, as well as so many others, are being debated throughout society with the goal of creating a successful teaching and learning environment for all students. Government at all levels with the support and involvement of educational institutions and foundations are developing various policies to close the achievement gap in our schools and reduce student dropouts.  While most of these efforts are based on good intentions, they tend to be grounded in deficits.  In other words, the thinking is that we can create success from fixing what’s broken.  

The IFT disagrees. It doesn’t make much sense to create a school culture of success from a climate of disappointment and intractable problems. The IFT believes school change should focus on what’s working; the great teaching taking place in our classrooms. Further, if we want to know why children are successful, talk to successful students and their parents.  The IFT believes that the best strategy for school improvement is to investigate what’s working, not what’s broken. By focusing on what works in our schools and encouraging teacher independence and increasing capacity, we are more likely to have success.

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Anthony Cody is a powerful advocate for classroom teachers, public education, and most all students.  Committed to authentic school improvement, Cody believes teachers must drive the school change process.  He is a prolific writer, often asked to speak on school improvement and change.  Anthony played an important role helping the IFT develop its teacher think tank program and provided valuable insight on how web-based discussions and blogging can increase the voice of teachers in the public sphere.  Continue Reading

Be it ever so humble...there’s no place like home. This essential bit of wisdom is even more pertinent if the home is a place where a dedicated local teacher visits with a student’s family members to discuss their hopes and dreams for his/her future.  This is the essence of the the nonprofit Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project which trains kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers to make home visits, working in teams of two. The goal of the program is to build trust and open lines of school-community communication. Continue reading.

For the Merced High School Community practicing what works makes a lot more sense that focusing on what’s broken.  Merced High School students, teachers, administrators, and parents are making major strides in improving student attendance and reducing dropouts.   Using the Positive Deviance Approach, the entire Merced School Community is working together to find out not why students dropout out but why students stay in school. Continue reading.

Who says our students are not excited, engaged, motivated, and excited about the learning process. Click here to view learning in action.  Elementary students use innovative classroom blogging program in the San Diego area to learn about writing, technology, graphic design, market awareness, search engine optimization, statistics, and internet publishing. See how blogging turns students into writers, musicians, scientists, and artists.

 


 

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