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Inspiration

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Jackie James Creedon shares a map of future soil testing sites in western New York State. Jackie James Creedon is the founder of Citizens Science Community Resources, an organization that is committed to promoting science-based activism and empowering grass-roots environmental justice and health campaigns. In 2014, Jackie received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for her courageous efforts to lead an investigation in our community that took down Tonawanda Coke, a local factory…

More and more often, I’m invited to work not only with school districts, but with other organizations that are interested in telling their stories. Stories matter. They center us. They propel us forward. They change the trajectories of our work and our lives and the lives of the people we serve. They’re bigger than branding, and they’re far more than marketing tools. That’s why it’s important to value the story writing process as much as…

Recently, several colleagues asked me to begin a professional writing support group. If you are eager to begin blogging, publishing articles, or drafting a manuscript, you are welcome to join us. If you have any of these things in the works and are in need of good company, you are welcome to join us. And if you can’t attend face to face but would still like to be a part of things, you may still plan to join…

Nearly ten years into my career as an independent education consultant, I can say with confidence that a large portion of my time has been devoted to supporting teachers with assessment design. If you’ve walked a similar path, then you know how hard and humbling this work is. Perhaps, like me, you stand on the shoulders of assessment giants like Douglas Reeves, Rick Stiggins, Dylan Wiliam, Susan Brookhart, or James Popham. Perhaps you still define yourself as…

This week, I had the good fortune to meet with a small group of teachers, administrators, curriculum directors, and professional learning facilitators at Erie 2 BOCES. We spent the day discussing grounded theory, how to make learning visible, and how to use the evidence captured from documentation to formulate hunches and theories that serve learners well. This is exciting work that enriches my own practice substantially, and I appreciated meeting others who were interested in…

Last week, Judge Penny Wolfgang invited me in to her studio at Entercom Communications to chat about the WNY Young Writer’s Studio, the Common Core Learning Standards, and the influence of both of those things on kids who love (and hate) to write. I truly enjoyed my visit, and I’m grateful to her for shining a bit of light on the great things that are happening at Studio. The interview was broadcast on Kiss 98.5,…

By now, quite a few of you who keep up with me here know that in January, Mark Barnes named me Senior Writer at his popular education site, Brilliant or Insane. I’ve enjoyed writing there several times each week, and I’ve been learning a ton about the technical and business side of blogging. Very grateful to Mark for that opportunity. If you enjoy the topics I write about in this space and have an interest…

I don’t trust nice people in general, but if you’re truly kind, there’s a very good chance that we’ll become fast friends. Because here’s what I know: congeniality is the enemy of kindness. You might be pleasant to the point of charismatic, but the perkier you get, the more distrustful I become. Your validation of who I am only matters if you’ve been brave enough to disagree with me once in a while. If you…

Over the last several years, I’ve spent a good deal of time facilitating performance based assessment design with quite a few teachers in quite a few different places. This is challenging but very rewarding work, particularly when we’re able to replace tests with assessments that inspire kids to do things that matter for audiences that value their efforts and the products that emerge from them. I typically begin these sessions by asking teachers to reflect…

I’ve been working with the English Department at Starpoint Middle School for ten years, and those who know me well appreciate the high regard that I maintain for this particular group of teachers (and their colleagues at the K-5 level). Very few educators have the opportunity, talent, or tenacity to accomplish what this department has over the last decade, slowly and with very careful intention. I’ve watched them design (and redesign and map) their own curricula, sharpen their…