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TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE
JANUARY 2002
Volume 3 Number 1

COVER STORY
Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "All effective schools have a culture and it is the information one gets from a culture that sends a message to the students that they will be productive and successful." This month the Wongs offer more examples of successful school and classroom management...
COLUMNS
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child
ARTICLES
Teaching Is...
Avoiding the 'Stares' When Intellectually Challenging Disadvantaged Students: Partnership Lessons from the HOTS Program
Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard?
A Bakerís Dozen Reasons!
The Effects Of Diet
Bully Advice For Kids
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 2)
Both Sides Now in Gifted Education
What Are We Aiming At--What Do We Really Want To Aim At?
Teaching Graph from the Grassroots
Why Teachers Need Tenure
A Different Perspective to the Holidays
TEACHER INSPIRATION FEATURE
A Lesson Learned
FICTION FEATURE
Follow The Wonder
REGULAR FEATURES
The Lighter Side of Teaching
Handy Teacher Recipes
Classroom Crafts
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Letters to the Editor
Chatboard Poll
FYI
eIditarod 2002
Planetary Society Protests Stop to Near-Earth Object Observations
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
7th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease
Arab American Students in Public Schools
School Bus Subsidies for Field Trip to 2002 Tour De Sol
Gazette Home Delivery:


About Harry and Rosemary Wong...
Harry and Rosemary Wong are teachers. Harry is a native of San Francisco and taught middle school and high school science. Rosemary is a native of New Orleans and taught K-8, including working as the school media coordinator and student activity director.

Harry Wong has been awarded the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award, the Science Teacher Achievement Recognition Award, the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, and the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal. Rosemary was chosen as one of California's first mentor teachers and has been awarded the Silicon Valley Distinguished Woman of the Year Award.

Harry Wong is the most sought after speaker in education today. He has been called "Mr. Practicality" for his common sense, user-friendly, no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level student success.

More than a half-million teachers worldwide have heard his message. Because he is fully booked for two years, he has agreed to and has invited his wife to join him in doing a monthly column for Teachers.Net so that more people can hear their message.

About Their Work... The Wongs have formed their own publishing company, of which Rosemary is the CEO. The Wongs are dedicated to bringing quality and dignity to the materials they produce for teachers and to leaving a legacy in education by making a difference in the lives of teachers and students.

The Wongs have written the best selling self-published book ever in education. Over 1.6 million copies of The First Days of School have been sold. They have also produced the video series The Effective Teacher, which won the Telly Award for being the best educational staff development video of the past twenty years. It also won the 1st place gold award in the International Film and Video Festival. When the book and video series are used together, they form the most effective staff development tool for developing effective teachers. Information about these products and others can be found by visiting the publisher's website at www.effectiveteaching.com or www.harrywong.com.

Questions submitted to Kathleen Carpenter at kathleen@teachers.net, will be considered by the Wongs for responses in future monthly columns in the Teachers.Net Gazette.

Click to visit The Wong's Homepage.

 


Best Sellers

The First Days of School
by Harry & Rosemary Wong

$23.96 from Amazon.com
More information
 
 
The Effective Teacher (Video Set)
Presented by Harry Wong

8 VHS video tapes, binder with Facilitatorís Handbook, book The First Days of School, and storage case, $795.00 from HarryWong.com (volume discounts available)
More information
 

Results : The Key to Continuous School Improvement
by Mike Schmoker

$20.95 from Amazon.com
More information
 
 

Improving Schools from Within : Teachers, Parents, and Principals Can Make the Difference
by Roland Sawyer Barth

$13.30 from Amazon.com
More information
 
 

Effective Teaching
by Harry and Rosemary Wong
A Most Effective School
Imagine being part of a faculty where every teacher has succeeded in the classroom for the past six years. The only reason for leaving this school is either spousal relocation or to further your educational growth.

A school such as this does exist. It is not in Never Never Land! It is Goldfarb Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, the attrition rate is zero! Zip! If a teacher has left it is not because they did not or could not succeed in the classroom.

When new teachers come to teach at Goldfarb, a culture of success already exists and the new teachers receive an induction program that helps them to get up to speed as fast as possible. The teachers help each other and that's why the teachers make Goldfarb Elementary a most effective school.

The Culture of Goldfarb Is Success

Last month we featured the classroom management style of the art teacher at Goldfarb Elementary School, Jeanne Bayless http://teachers.net/gazette/DEC01/wong.html. She says, "There is a consistent, school wide procedure for walking through the halls and the students, themselves, teach this procedure to the new teachers and the substitutes."

Yes, that's correct. The students teach the procedures to the new teachers and substitutes!

Students like being in a consistent environment where everyone knows what to do and where they can get on with learning. All effective schools have a culture and it is the information one gets from a culture that sends a message to the students that they will be productive and successful.
This message appeared when school began at Goldfarb this past September. The students were greeted with a 17 x 22-inch color poster in each classroom. The poster listed the school-wide procedures that had been agreed on by all the staff members and had been practiced by many of the returning students. The poster is called the

Goldfarb Success Trail

Daniel Goldfarb Elementary School
A Community of Learners Growing Together

MORNING PROCEDURES

FREEZE BELL: Freeze or walk to the blue line when appropriate.
.
SECOND BELL: Walk to line up dot quietly.
Enter building quietly.

HALL PROCEDURES

  • Walk in single file.
  • Walk on the right side.
  • Walk quietly.
  • Walk with hands at side.
  • Use hall pass when not with an adult.

LUNCH ROOM PROCEDURES

  • Walk in quietly.
  • Have lunch card ready.
  • Talk in quiet voices.
  • Raise hand to be helped.
  • Respond to paycheck/high five.
  • Stay seated until excused.
  • Clean up your area.
  • Walk carefully to the playground.

FIELD TRIP PROCEDURES

  • Be prepared and on time.
  • Enter/exit bus in single file and in orderly fashion.
  • Remain seated.
  • Use quiet voices.

DISMISSAL PROCEDURES

  • Walk on campus at all times.
  • Walkers exit at the gate by the bike rack.
  • Cross street and parking lot at designated areas only.
  • Wait for rides at the gate by the 60s Greatroom.
  • After 3:30 pm, come to the office to wait or call home.

BATHROOM PROCEDURES

  • Use the restroom quickly and quietly.
  • Remember to flush.
  • Use towels and soap sparingly.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Use hall pass when not with an adult.

How This Culture Was Developed

The principal of the school is Bridget Phillips and when the National Elementary Schools Principal Association published its latest book, Leading Learning Communities: Standards for What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do, they must have been thinking of Bridget Phillips. The book says that, first and foremost, a principal is to be an instructional leader, which means having the competency to build a family or culture that is a learning community. Bridget Phillips acknowledges that her staff is an A+ staff. Effective schools are a learning community, a place where teachers and administrators study, work, and learn together with the mission of improving student achievement.

Effective schools are distinguishable from ineffective ones by the frequency and extent to which teachers learn together, plan together, test ideas together, discuss practices together, reflect together, grapple together -- with the fundamental vision and focus of developing students to their fullest capacity.

Thus, the function of a principal is not to count how many buses are needed, who has lunch duty in the cafeteria, and when an assembly is to be held. These must be done, but the principal is to rise above managerial duties and become an instructional leader.

"Too often, administrative education programs prepare managers, not the educational leaders schools so badly need today." Arthur Levine, President,
Teachers College, Columbia University.
Ineffective principals hire teachers because they have a slot to fill. Then the teacher is given an assignment and told to go and teach, or in the case of many new teachers to go and survive. The message is figure it out yourself, do it yourself, and keep it to yourself.

Not at Goldfarb. Building on the two-year induction program of the Clark County School District, Bridget Phillips takes all of her first year teachers through an in-house induction, training program for one semester. A cadre of administrators and teachers teaches the induction program. The purpose of this training is two-fold:

  1. to train, support, and retain effective teachers and
  2. to acculturate the new teachers to how things are done at Goldfarb and continue to ensure a vision of student achievement.

The other semester, all student teachers from the local university are taken through a very similar training program. Thus, the student teacher gets more than one master teacher. The student teacher gets many master teachers. If a vacancy is expected at the school, Bridget Philips can pluck off one of these teachers for the staff before the teacher applies for a job elsewhere. It's like a coach who can pluck off a first round draft choice before the player is even allowed to enter the draft.

Even more impressive, the student teacher, when he or she begins as a regular teacher, goes through the first-year induction program given to all beginning teachers at Goldfarb. Can you understand now, why, in our April 2001 http://teachers.net/gazette/APR01/wong.html column, we strongly recommended that when you go for a job interview to ask if the district has a new teacher induction program? And if not, to move on to another interview. An induction program is how a district says to you that they care about you and want you to succeed and stay, so they will give you training and support.

Do not be so naÔve as to believe that you can succeed on your own. Find a school district and a school that will support you and help you to realize your full potential in affecting the lives of young people. Then, have a mindset that you want to work together and learn together with the other teachers and administrators at your school. This is the only way to improve student achievement, in a culture of student success.

Mentors are no longer really used at Goldfarb Elementary School in Las Vegas. Instead, student teachers and new teachers are surveyed as to their needs. The list is publicized and "tons" of teachers respond with willingness to answer, help, or present sessions at in-house training sessions. This is a true learning community of educators sharing with and helping fellow educators.

Developing the Goldfarb Success Trail

The Success Trail is a series of school-wide procedures agreed upon by the teachers. To develop and refine these procedures a staff planning committee organized a retreat for one day. The retreat was put on by the staff using funds designated for the retreat from the lounge soda pop machine. It was held on a day in August with the staff agreeing to give up planning to time to attend.

Many of the procedures were already in place as they had been started four years ago when several other schools were doing the same process based on materials from the book, The First Days of School. By the second year, there were two pages of procedures and routines. Each year the staff revisited many of the procedures, tweaking them, until they were now firmly in place.

During the retreat the procedures were placed on several large charts for discussion. The finalized procedures were presented to the staff, including all new teachers, in August for discussion and implementation. These procedures form the basis for the poster, which the district's graphic arts department designed and produced.

Because of the existing induction training many of the new teachers have been trained in what to do and how to teach the school's procedures. It's comforting to have everyone "on the same page." It makes it easier for the veteran teacher to help the new teachers fine-tune their classroom techniques. If necessary, sometimes a sub is hired for a new teacher so that that teacher can shadow a veteran teacher during a day. Watching and being part of a common culture helps to quickly bring everyone up to speed with the rest of the staff.

Working Together As a Family

Mike Schmoker's book, Results: The Key to Continuous School Improvement, says that schools that show positive results in student achievement have a staff that exhibits "meaningful teamwork."

Roland Barth says the same thing in his book, Improving Schools From Within:

The nature of the relationship among the adults at the school has more to do with the school's quality,
its character, and
the achievement of its students
than any other factor.
Mike Schmoker and Roland Barth say what has always been known:
People who work together always achieve greater results
than people who work alone.
Resolutions for 2002

The tragic events of the past year have put the word FAMILY back into our vocabulary and our priorities in life. As a learning community you are a family of educators working to provide your students with the best opportunity to learn as there can possibly be. You want each of your students to grow up learned and successful. And what parent doesn't want this for his or her child?

Resolve in the coming year to work together as a staff to provide a climate where success is the norm for students and teachers. Reach out to colleagues with tips, pats, or just lend an ear. Do the same for your students, too. But most of all realize that you have the capacity to influence the world by what you do and who you are in the classroom. Teachers are the hope for a brighter tomorrow.

We wish you a most Effective and Happy New Year!

 

Past Gazette Articles by Harry & Rosemary Wong:



Harry & Rosemary Wong products: http://harrywong.com/product/
Email Harry Wong: harrywong@teachers.net

 
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