Monthly Archives: May 2012

Classroom Closers?

After spending yesterday afternoon watching my beloved Boston Red Sox blow another game in the ninth inning, I was reminded of a simple fact: some losses are more emotionally significant than others.

As my disappointment threatened to disrupt the rest of my Memorial Day – we were so close! – I realized there’s a good argument to be made that the one statistic in the data-obsessed world of professional baseball most likely to at least partially reflect the collective confidence of a team is the one the Sox’s shaky new closer, Alfredo Aceves, failed to earn for his team yesterday: the save.

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Categories: Assessment, Learning, Teacher Quality

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Bill Gates — Close, But Not Quite, on Teacher Evaluations

There’s an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times in which Joe Nocera discusses the Gates Foundation’s ambitious new efforts to crack the code of teacher assessment and evaluation, a valid goal is ever there was one. Piloting a new system in four districts — and providing local leaders with tens of millions of dollars to implement it — the Gates team seems to have recognized the limited value of test scores; in these communities, they comprise only a small part of a teacher’s evaluation scorecard.

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Categories: Assessment, Learning, Teacher Quality

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Living the DaVita Way

On a chartered bus in Nashville, surrounded by colorfully-clad nurses and office administrators, I knew I was in for a different sort of experience when the woman next to me found out I was a newbie, leaned closer and assured me: “Everyone remembers their first.”

It’s not what you think.

In fact, it was the annual conference for the 41,000 employees of DaVita, a Fortune 500 company that specializes in renal care – and, as it turns out, in creating a transformational organizational culture.

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Categories: Democracy, Learning, Organizational Change

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Kid Whisperers

In theory, Buck is a documentary about horses, and a cinematic profile of the laconic cowboy who has learned to speak their silent animal language.

In fact, Buck is a film about the invisible line that connects being to being, and the ways that line can serve as either a tether or a bridge.

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Categories: Learning, Parenting, Voice

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Stories of Transformation: Blue (School) Skies Ahead

It was fifteen years ago, but I still remember the first time I saw Blue Man Group. Watching those bald blue aliens discover how to eat a Twinkie, or investigate the queasy vibrations of a giant Jello cake, or climb the walls of the theater to learn more about the people who were sitting there – well, anyone who’s seen the show knows there’s nothing quite like it.

Since that time, Blue Man Group has become an international phenomenon, and an unlikely aesthetic portal through which to vicariously experience the wonders of inquiry, discovery and mischief. And now, those same core ingredients are at the heart of a remarkable new school in New York City – a school I got to visit and see through the eyes of two of its founders, “Blue Man” Matt Goldman and his wife, Renee Rolleri.

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Categories: Assessment, Learning, Organizational Change, Starting a School

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