Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2014


It seems all of us probably have realized that real work, learning, and/or achievement are probably never completely be measured by a grade or a score. Although we know scores and grades have a place, how does one truly transcend them?


     Let’s take the life of a student, regardless or age or level, and analyze the system of grades and scores vs. what we all know really matters. Once again, think of your own experience as a student. Was your work, learning or achievement really accurately measured by grades or even scores?

     Don't’ get me wrong. I am not advocating that we don’t give grades or pay attention at all to scores on tests. I think we all know that inherently there is probably a better system, but, for one reason or another, we’ll have to live with our current system of grades (A, B, C, D or F), or even percentages or #’s on any standardized test.

     Also, please don’t think that I would ever advocate for something that is not competitive or tha…

23 Years of Breaking the Rules - And It Works

As someone who has been an educator now for over 23 years, I find myself often trying to pinpoint the key to success. And it seems clearer than ever – break the rules.

     That’s right. Break the rules. I don’t mean break laws, policies and procedures – but rather traditions and standard expectations.

     When I began as a journalism teacher in 1990, I was told by several colleagues to “just play it safe.” The inference was don’t rock the boat and don’t push the envelope. I understood them to mean don’t have students pursue stories that were too serious or too controversial. Well, I ignored them. What happened? There were new and unprecedented levels of success. Our publications won awards, our students won awards, readership increased and many students went on to media-related careers enjoying tremendous success today.

     When I became a Student Activities Director, again I heard the same warnings. Don’t let students be on the microphone, don’t let them have too mu…


There is no doubt in my mind (and most of the world as well) that education, especially at the secondary level needs to continue to evolve.Whether it’s based on technology, careers, or any other criteria, we know inherently that we need to engage students a high level and address the changing world around them as they learn.

However, what I often see missing is the foundation that drives everything.Career changes are important and educators need to address this with all students.But students are not always motivated by careers and certainly not by the changes.Skills are important, but students are not motivated by addressing the skills that they need.Standards, even the new improved Common Core, will not motivate students.The list of things that will not motivate students is long – course requirements, A-G, accreditation, pedagogy and more.

What does motivate all of us?Well, it is what we’re passionate about. And that’s where we should begin and return continually to motivate students.W…