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Field Trip Podcast
31 minutes | Jan 12, 2022
Analytics in Collective Bargaining
School district negotiations with teachers unions can be challenging. School business officials not only have multiple stakeholders to work with and keep informed — including the school board, administration and staff, and the surrounding community — they are also tasked keeping the district solvent in the long term. Without a solid picture of the districts’ financial status both now and projected into the future, it’s hard to know how dollars should be allocated in union negotiations. In this conversation with Kim Knight, Executive Director of Business Services at Dieringer School District in Lake Tapps, Washington details the role that analytics play in providing that financial picture, and how she and her team prepare to come to the collective bargaining table. She describes: The questions they ask and the data they look at to answer them How they prepare and present data to teachers unions, the school board, and the community, to tell the story of where the district’s finances are today, and where they expect them to be in the future How clear, solid data and analytics helps to build trust between parties during collective bargaining How the use of analytics ultimately helps their business office decide how to put funds to the best use to serve students
21 minutes | Nov 17, 2021
No Substitute for Customer Service (2021)
Note: This episode was originally released in 2018, but with districts around the country facing a worsening substitute shortage in 2021, the story remains relevant today. When a teacher is out, a substitute to take over for the day isn’t a given. Many districts have a difficult time keeping a pool of substitutes that’s adequate to cover all vacancies. Today, we speak with Spring Grove Area School District about how they tackled this problem. With a focus on customer service, here’s how they built a reputation among substitutes for being a great place to work. Barbara Valencia works in HR support at Spring Grove — but earlier in her career, she was a substitute classroom aid. And she saw how tough it is to walk into an unfamiliar building and stand in front of an unfamiliar class, every single day. Barbara spoke to us about: Why the job of substitute teaching can be so difficult The steps Spring Grove has taken to entice substitutes to seek out positions in the district What any school district can do to make substitute teaching more attractive The impact this work has on fill rates, morale and the quality of students’ education Field Trip is a podcast from Frontline Education.
26 minutes | Nov 3, 2021
How to Use Analytics in Schools
Schools are swimming in data — but there’s a difference between having data and using it to make better decisions. Since early 2020, most people have seen more charts and graphs than perhaps ever before, but using analytics in schools correctly is a developed skill. How do you take all those numbers in a spreadsheet and turn them into something useful for driving decision-making? How can schools avoid being data-rich but information-poor? Dr. Adam Cibulka has spent 15 years in public education, and today works to help school districts get more out of their data with Forecast5 Analytics, now part of Frontline Education. He discusses: What analytics bring to the table How school and district leaders can use analytics to inform decisions How the right tools can help – or hinder – districts in making the most of analytics The steps leaders need to take to effectively use (and not just have) data Common questions districts seek to answer with data The biggest barriers schools face in trying to get the most out of their data Related Resources: [Blog] Using Analytics to Support Students in the Middle of a Pandemic [Blog] 5 Principles for Decision-making Using K-12 Talent Data
37 minutes | Sep 1, 2021
Making School Happen
While most people might picture buses, crowded hallways, and teachers working in bustling classrooms, the behind-the-scenes work is just as vital. All the work that goes into making school happen: recruiting and hiring teachers, custodians, coaches, bus drivers, food service employees, nurses, and everyone else who makes it possible to open school each day. Onboarding those employees, and providing ongoing professional learning opportunities. Ensuring substitutes are in classrooms. Making sure supplies are ordered. Running payroll. Scheduling bus routes. Part of operating an organization as complex as a school district is ensuring that the right information gets to the right people, so they can work efficiently and make the best decisions. That requires technology, getting departments to work together, and quite often, managing change. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Russell Miller, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources for Andover Public Schools in Kansas, about his district’s efforts to implement new processes and software systems to be more effective and work across departments more easily. We cover: The biggest blockers to efficiency and effectiveness in school administration How they brought their software systems together to move away from paper and make information more readily accessible How systems thinking helps his team hire and onboard more effectively How to get buy-in from other stakeholders to make a change What’s needed to effectively implement a new software system The impact all of this has on serving students and staff Related Resources: Change Management in K-12: What You Need to Know Change Management in K-12: Six Change Management Models
39 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
Evaluating Teachers Virtually
The concern about student learning loss is real. Reduced classroom time, learning over Zoom, technology challenges, difficult home situations, mental health concerns, and heightened inequities have all contributed in one way or another to a difficult academic year. But of all the factors that affect student performance, one stands above the rest: teachers. Yet throughout the pandemic, supporting teachers’ growth took on a new wrinkle: how do you observe, evaluate, and provide feedback to teachers who are either teaching from home, or who are teaching students who are at home? In today’s podcast, Dr. James Stronge, Heritage Professor at the College of William & Mary School of Education and president and CEO of Stronge & Associates Educational Consulting, considers: The pandemic’s impact on teachers and the administrators who support them The skills needed for effective virtual teaching Principles for schools as they conduct teacher evaluations in a virtual environment How to shape evaluations to support growth and genuinely impact student learning For further reading: Dr. Stronge referenced several research studies in this podcast, which can be found here: Fitzpatrick, B. R., Berends, M., Ferrare, J. J., & Waddington, R. J. (2020). Virtual Illusion: Comparing Student Achievement and Teacher and Classroom Characteristics in Online and Brick-and-Mortar Charter Schools (Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 161-175). Educational Researcher. doi:10.3102/0013189X20909814 Barbour, Michael. (2019). The Landscape of K-12 Online Learning: Examining What Is Known. Hattie, J. (2017, November). 250+ Influences on Student Achievement. Retrieved from https://visible-learning.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/VLPLUS-252-Influences-Hattie-ranking-DEC-2017.pdf
42 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
School Workforce Diversity
It’s no secret that when students have teachers of the same race or ethnicity, they tend to do better academically. Yet people of color make up a relatively small percentage of the teaching workforce. Today we’re joined by Dr. Searetha Smith-Collins, a career educator and former superintendent and chief academic officer, to talk about workforce diversity in education: why it matters, and steps schools can take to overcome roadblocks to inclusive hiring practices. Related Resources: 4 Real-Life Stories About Equity in Education Podcast: 5 Generations at Work. Today’s workforce consists of up to FIVE generations of people. Here’s how they’re different, how they complement each other, and how leadership can maximize each one’s strengths in schools. Podcast: Not Your Father's Labor Market. Teachers entering the workforce today are different from those who entered the profession a few decades ago. What does that mean for school districts? Podcast: Grow Your Own Teachers. When leaders at this school district wanted a teacher workforce that reflected the diversity of its student body, the answer was right in front of them. The Line: Resources on Equity in Education
36 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
Caring for Students’ Mental Health During Virtual Learning
After nearly a year of remote learning, hand washing, and six-feet-apart staying, who’s doing not doing okay? The answer is… quite a few of us, kids and adults alike. This week, Dr. Rosanne Capanna-Hodge, a psychologist and author of The Teletherapy Toolkit: Therapist Handbook for Treating Children and Teens, explores the long-term impact the pandemic has on students, teachers, and school staff: Signs to look out for in kids who may be struggling with anxiety – and how to monitor mental health when students aren’t in the building Practices schools can incorporate to care for mental health in the classroom How schools can support staff who are struggling during the pandemic as well More Mental Health Resources Blog: How DC Public Schools Use Student Data to Support Mental Health Podcast: Are Schools Prepared for the Mental Health Crisis? Interview: What Should Schools Do Right Now to Care for Students’ Mental Health Needs?
18 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Kids With Speech and Language Service Needs
Leanne Sherred is co-founder of Expressable, a company that provides online speech language therapy services. In this conversation, Leanne shares what she observes and insights about: Why services for kids with speech and communication challenges are so crucial The added struggles kids face during remote learning What schools should keep in mind as they provide remote service delivery How schools can work with parents and families of students receiving teletherapy to better set them up for success Mental health challenges relating to communication and language issues Want more? You got it. Here are some more related resources: Remote Special Education & Related Services Tools. A school’s ability to provide special education and related services remotely is critical during COVID-19. Here are tools to help. Working with Parents in Special Education. Working in special education can be very rewarding, but also challenging. One of the many reasons it can be challenging is working with parents. 5 Strategies to Improve the IEP Process with Parent Participation. While there are no guarantees that parents and schools will agree on decisions, the positive impact of parental involvement is well-documented. And so are the challenges! Here are five strategies to increase parental participation in the IEP process and make life easier for all involved.
28 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
Equity for English Learners
School closures have been tough for everyone. Administrators, district leadership, teachers, and families raced to adapt to new teaching and learning conditions. Students faced an entirely unfamiliar school experience. Already-existing inequities grew starker, and English Learners faced extra hurdles as teachers and families often struggled to communicate. In this podcast, Dr. Jessica Hazzard, an EL specialist at Cape Henlopen School District in Delaware, shares how her district tackled these issues and developed strategies they can continue to use, whether they’re remote, in person, or somewhere in between. The connection between teacher collaboration and equity How the district carves out time for teacher collaboration during a stressful and busy time How reading specialists, grade level teachers, EL teachers use Remote Planning Workshops to collaboratively create lesson plans More Content You’ll Like: Podcast: 3 Benefits of Restorative Dialogue for English Learners 4 Ways to Support Staff Working with English Language Learners
44 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
Are Schools Prepared for the Mental Health Crisis?
Over the past 10 years, anxiety disorders among adolescents has risen 17%. Serious depression has gone up 80%. Suicide attempts are startlingly common. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is an increasing awareness of the need for student mental health care, a greater focus on the whole child. Schools are taking more steps to provide this kind of care — and more and more, they’re becoming the primary providers of care for those students. But that’s a herculean task, and it raises the question: are schools ready? In this episode of Field Trip, ten experts in roles ranging from school counselors to superintendents share how they see it: Are schools prepared to be the primary providers of student mental health care? What are schools doing well in this area? Where is there room to grow? What do schools need to be better prepared? What will the mental health care landscape look like in 5 or 10 years? And more…  Are Districts the Nation's Adolescent Mental Health Care Providers? (Rep.). (2020). Retrieved https://eab.com/research/district-leadership/whitepaper/are-districts-the-nations-adolescent-mental-health-care-providers/ More About Mental Health in Schools: 3-Step System to Identify Social, Emotional & Behavioral Issues Sooner. This 3-step approach (with examples) can help your school build a system that empowers educators, counselors, and other specialists to collect and interpret behavioral data to find students who most need intervention. 10 Best Practices for Improving and Expanding Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Supports. Ten key, interconnected best practices to help you and your team effectively and comprehensively create a system to meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. 5 Strategies to Build Your and Students’ Resilience. How can those on the front lines of education help students, families, and each other navigate this uncertain time? Student Mental Health in Crisis: Are Schools Ready? Go beyond the podcast and see this interview in written and video form. Mental & Behavioral Health Management: Identify patterns, determine trends, simplify documentation and collaborate with staff and parents about mental health issues in schools.
37 minutes | Jun 5, 2020
While schools are wrestling with how to re-open in the fall, Robin Cogan says there’s one perspective that is especially critical to consider: that of the school nurse. Robin is a school nurse in Camden, NJ and the author of the blog The Relentless School Nurse. She joined us to talk about: Questions schools need to answer as they consider reopening Why school nurses are a vital part of any school’s community All of the things school nurses do that most people never see Plus, how administrators can tap into the expertise their nurses bring You may also like: White Paper: “Mitigating COVID-19 Risk: How Schools Can Help Reopen the Economy Safely” On-Demand Webinar: Top 5 Legal Strategies to Manage Student Mental Health During COVID-19 3 Ways Districts Can Better Handle Student Health Records
44 minutes | May 8, 2020
When Stephen was in school, his hand was always raised. A mind brimming with ideas, a packed schedule because he wanted to be involved in everything, an appetite for challenge. Today, Stephen is in college, pursuing a career in aerospace engineering — and we’re speaking with him and the teacher of his elementary gifted program, about what such programs can offer students. Why such programs are so helpful for gifted students Where things get tough for gifted students — and where such programs fit in as schools work to serve students of all academic abilities A look at one district’s gifted program and the difference it continues to make in Stephen’s life, years after graduation
19 minutes | Mar 27, 2020
School... at Home
Right now, schools are closed across the country, as we all try to stay safe and healthy. But we all know that for educators and for parents, this doesn’t mean more downtime on the couch. You’re still hard at work, because learning goes on, at home and online. This shift has been a huge effort for schools, administrators, teachers, and staff. So today, something a little different. Normally, we bring you stories from schools around the country. Today we’re doing the same thing — sort of. Join us as we check in with the schooling that’s taking place in the living rooms and home offices of some of us at Frontline, and offer heartfelt appreciation for the work that educators are doing during this time.
37 minutes | Mar 13, 2020
Observations & Conversations
“You could have a great conversation with somebody, you could talk about [teaching practice] and then, all of a sudden: ‘Okay, what was my rating?’ ‘Well, you got a ‘2’ in this area.’ And that would defeat the entire conversation.” - Jason Smith, Principal, Anna Reynolds Elementary School At Newington Public Schools, teacher evaluations look different these days. Rather than a process that focuses primarily on the nuts and bolts of generating a score, the district changed how administrators and teachers approach the observation process. They trained administrators to ask questions that help teachers reflect and be self-directed in their learning. This has made a huge difference in how teachers engage in the evaluation process and hone their practice as a result. For further reading: [INFOGRAPHIC] Key Building Blocks for a Culture of Trust in Teacher Evaluations [WHITE PAPER] Building a Culture of Trust in Teacher Evaluations [WHITE PAPER] Feedback That Matters: Using formative feedback and meaningful conversations to grow teaching practice and foster a collaborative educational environment
36 minutes | Feb 28, 2020
Substitutes In the House
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System used to outsource their substitute teacher program. But in 2014, they decided to bring it back in house — no small thing for an office of just four people, in a district with 36,000 students. But… it’s a success. A savings of over $300,000 in just the first year A higher fill rate (99% the first year!) Over 800 substitutes hired into permanent positions since the program began Reclaimed instructional time A culture that values and recognizes substitutes as an integral part of the team Today, we’re speaking with Melissa Izatt, Director of Educator Quality, about the why and how behind bringing the substitute program back under their own roof. More substitute management resources: [VIDEO] Low substitute fill rates? Your substitutes might not be accepting jobs. A Roadmap to Substitute Engagement The Substitute Teacher Shortage: What’s behind it? What can be done about it? [PODCAST] No Substitute for Customer Service
43 minutes | Feb 14, 2020
Equity, Part 3: Special Education is an Equity Issue
Racial equality is an important factor in ensuring every student has access to the general education curriculum. But equity in special education goes deeper yet. What does equity in special education mean? What does it look like? Today we’re speaking with Dr. Dorothea Gordon, Executive Director of Special Education at Grand Prairie ISD in Texas. Dr. Gordon helps to set a baseline definition for equity in special education, shares some highlights of GPISD’s program that have proven effective, and looks at some of the pressing issues facing educators working in special education in today’s world. Professional learning that special educators need to be effective The challenges that racial minorities – often African American and Hispanic males – face in schools, especially in disciplinary situations The most important factors when considering how to provide equitable access to education for all students
45 minutes | Jan 31, 2020
Equity, Part 2: Fifty Years Later
In Louisiana, 1969: “separate but equal” is a thing of the past – in theory. In practice, schools are largely still divided along racial lines. Eileen Sanchez was a white teacher who taught in the “black school,” at least until the day students and staff were told the school was closing. In her book Freedom Lessons, Eileen details that tumultuous year and what it was like for her, the students and the other teachers. We spoke with Eileen about her experience: What she learned about race and diversity The impact it has had on her career as a teacher and ultimately, as a district administrator Where we are today, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of education in 2020 and beyond How teachers, administrators and department leaders like HR and C&I can work toward equity in their school systems
44 minutes | Jan 17, 2020
Equity, Part 1: One District, Two Communities
Note: This episode is a rebroadcast, and originally aired on July 20, 2018. A few miles east of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights University Heights School District serves primarily white community of Cleveland Heights, as well as the much larger and more diverse city of University Heights. We spoke with Dr. Talisa Dixon, who at that time was the Superintendent, about her years leading the district and working for equity: The unique opportunities and challenges faced when two very different communities share one school district Working with the school board to enact policies that will outlast any one person Why equity matters Creating change through persuasion, not force Field Trip is a podcast from Frontline Education.
39 minutes | Dec 20, 2019
Lawsuits and Allergies and 504 Plans, Oh My!
DISCLAIMER: Frontline Education does not provide legal advice. Please consult your district’s legal counsel before taking action on anything discussed in this podcast. Peanut butter and jelly: a staple for children everywhere, right? Maybe when we were kids… but today, schools increasingly have to reckon with a rising number of students with allergies, many of whom now have 504 Plans that lay out in detail what accommodations must be made. We’re speaking with attorney John B. Comegno II, president and founder of the Comegno Law Group, about: How Section 504 applies to students with allergies Does a medical diagnosis require a 504 Plan? What is – and what may not be – required of schools under Section 504 Why it’s important to be careful with language when agreeing to 504 Plans How schools should work to ensure students with allergies have access to the same opportunities as other students Get More Info: See our in-depth video series with John Comegno: Understanding Section 504
32 minutes | Dec 6, 2019
It’s All About Your People
Indian Hill Exempted Village School District is not large, but it has a great reputation and a culture of achievement. Like any fruitful organization, the central pillar of that success is the people at Indian Hills. Today, Superintendent Kirk Koennecke and Assistant Superintendent Mark Ault discuss how their hiring, onboarding, and ongoing professional development all contribute to teacher quality and student achievement. What the hiring process looks like from a candidate’s perspective – even when that candidate is applying for the position of superintendent How culture plays a vital role from an employee’s earliest days at the district The role of community, students, and parents in creating that culture What individualized professional development looks like
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