Friday, December 15, 2017

Getting caught

Are your students sneaky?  Are they trying to be sneaky?  Are you tired of them trying not to get caught?  Do you get frustrated when Little Glenn constantly watches you just to make sure you are not watching him?  You might catch him fairly often, which is frustrating, but imagine how you would react if you caught him every time.

Driving to work this morning, I noticed that pretty much every driver tries not to get caught doing something or another that causes an extra glance in the rearview mirror looking out for law enforcement.  Almost everyone drives too fast (or ridiculously too slow,) or gets through the traffic light a split second late, or changes lanes without signaling, or glances at a cell phone while driving, or a multitude of other things that warrant a quick look around for a cop.

 Adults try not to get caught.  The rules of the road are occasionally inconvenient to your personal desires to get where you are going.  So you break the rules and try not to get caught.  When we do get caught, the experience leaves the driver feeling bad or lucky.  You got caught and you got a ticket or you got away with a warning.  Bad or lucky.

I love hearing excuses from my friends after traffic citations and just how heartless the officer's attitude was.  I also love hearing how kind the cop was if you just got a warning.

Kids try not to get caught. The rules of the classroom are occasionally inconvenient to their personal desires to act like a kid.  So they break the rules and try not to get caught.  When you do catch a kid bending the rules, what kind of cop are you?  Does the kid feel bad? Or... does the kid feel lucky to have you as a teacher?

*Ultimate respect for all law enforcement!  Just talking about the feelings and reactions of the rule breaker, not the actions of the officer doing his/her job!*

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I don't know...

"Why were you out of your seat?"

"I don't know."

"Why were you talking?"

"I don't know."

"Why were you running down the hall?"

"I don't know."

Kids say this quite often when they are questioned about misbehavior.  Some teachers believe that, "I don't know." is an unacceptable answer.  A kid makes a poor choice and the teacher wants to know why.  Asking a child to explain their rationale is not a bad thing.  Expecting a reasonable answer can be a bad thing.

If a kid runs the last 50 feet to your classroom door and you ask, "Why were you running?"  Don't expect a reasonable answer.  The kid knows there is no reasonable answer.  They probably weren't running due to a real fear and pretty much any other answer will be unacceptable to you.  Kids know this!

A lot of kids would love to say, "Did you see me cut in and out of all those kids like I was in the NFL!!!"  They don't give you this answer because they know better.  A lot of kids just like to run but telling you that would not go so well for them.  Running is fun for some kids, but it is a bad answer for most teachers.

When kids respond with, "I don't know," they either really don't know or they really don't want to tell you because they know you won't like the answer.

Embrace and accept the I don't know, then explain your rationale for better behavior briefly and kindly.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Free time

My son sent me a message during school yesterday via Snapchat.  It was a video of students playing cards, talking, and napping.  The teacher said it was a free period because it was the last class before the Thanksgiving holiday break.  Today, he sent me another message.  He begged me to let him leave school because his teacher for his third class of the day told them they had nothing to do.  This morning, the teacher for his fourth (and last) class of the day told him they would have free time.

For the last half of the school day, my son walked into classes with nothing to do.  He begged to leave.  I told him to stay.  As an educator, that is the right thing to say.  Maybe because the benefits of good attendance have been driven into my brain over the last 30 years!

What are the benefits of spending three hours doing nothing?  There are no benefits.  Are there negatives?  Certainly.  This kid already complains of boredom at school.  Now I am telling him he must sit through three hours of free time because attendance matters???  He isn't buying it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Healthy competition

There are plenty of arguments for and against competition in the classroom.  I certainly have some strong opinions about the appropriate usage of competition in elementary schools.  Before kids compete in schools, a good environment for healthy sportsmanship is paramount.

Watch your students at recess, if a kid scores a goal, makes a touchdown, or hits a jump shot, does he throw his hands in the air and puff up his chest, trying to emulate a pro athlete?  Or... does he run over to his teammates for a quick high-five to celebrate?

To make competition healthy in school, we must create an environment that celebrates winners and losers in a supportive manner.  Will the winner smile proudly and give everyone a humble thumbs up?  Will everyone else be happy for their friend who won?  Is the classroom a place where learning is the important thing and the contest simply makes it a bit more fun?

Today, my class played a quick game online.  They worked out a few long division problems on whiteboards, then clicked their answer choice on the computers (Kahoot!)  The goal was to simply practice the skill of division.  The winner was unexpected.  The response from the class was outstanding!  The kids who thought they should have won were genuinely happy for the winner!  There were no sore losers.

And the kid who won!  He smiled and said, "Thank you," to everyone who congratulated him.  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Dirty hands

The current unit for science includes a bunch of stuff about erosion and weathering and dirt.  The textbook talks about red soil in Hawaii and loamy soil and nutrient-rich soil and clay-rich soil.  Since a field trip to Hawaii is out of the question, the pictures and text in the book is somewhat irrelevant.

Instead, we went out side and looked for evidence of weathering and erosion.  We walked the places that water flowed and looked at the different dirt in different areas around campus.  We found places where fine particles of soil collected and we found areas with no fine soil, only rocks.  We noticed the direction the water erosion took place on the grounds of our school and checked out areas for deposition.  They felt the moisture-rich soil and shared the different soils in their hands.

And while all of this was happening, we used the appropriate vocabulary.  We noticed and wondered.  We found relevance in the ground beneath our feet.  We created connections between our world and the foreign language in that textbook.  After a great science walk, the kids mostly owned the vocabulary.  More importantly, they didn't memorize it.  They experienced it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Time for lesson planning

I think I knew this, but I didn't really get it.  Now... I get it.

As a principal, I would try my best to model and provide excellent PD.  In order to move our entire campus forward, I would labor and toil over PD design in order to make a big impact for all.  I would try to make it engaging for all by differentiating for differing levels of mastery.  My materials would be prepared ahead of time and I would have my questions ready to ask.  Musical interludes were common and there would always be plenty of movement and sharing.  I would be sure to highlight specific strategies and take-aways that could be used immediately in classrooms.  I also had two dynamic luxuries.  I did most of this planning with brilliant collaboration from my AP and my instructional coach.  Most importantly, I had tons of time to design and prep the PD.  It was not uncommon to spend three or four hours designing each hour of PD.  I believe my efforts to design and provide high-quality learning experiences for teachers were the most important hours of my time.

As a teacher, I try my best to provide excellent learning for my students.  In order to move my class forward, I invest brain-power and sweat to ensure that each student benefits from the learning activities.  I consider differentiation as much as possible and I hope to have material and questions prepped and ready for the day prior to the learning experience.  I have the luxury of planning time with a smart and complementary team of teachers.  I wish we could meet every day, but it isn't feasible...yet.  Without them, I wouldn't be able to leave campus before dark!  I believe every teacher's hardest work and most important work happens during the lesson design process.  With approximately 5.5 hours of classroom learning time each day, I estimate that I have about 15-20 minutes to plan each hour of learning.  This includes 45 minutes of time during my available conference times and 90-120 minutes before or after school each day.  These numbers are probably inflated due to all of the other time requirements that happen during a teacher's planning time.  Ten hour days are the short ones!

PD happens.  Great classroom strategies, models for instruction, and high-yield strategies are taught, practiced, and discussed.  As a principal, I wondered why these strategies didn't show up more ubiquitously in classrooms across campus.  Now... I get it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Silent hallways

Close your eyes and create this picture in your mind:  Single file lines of folks walking through the hallways.  The lines stop at pre-determined locations.  They do not proceed without permission.  The only voices you hear are from those in charge, constantly reminding folks not to talk.  The only words you hear are, "Shhhh!"

"No talking."

"Level Zero volume, please."

"You have lost points."

"Stay on the right side."

"Single file."

"No talking."

Which one do you picture?

The only two places I can think of that require zero talking in the hallways are prisons and some elementary schools.  As I observe attempts for zero talking in schools, successfully getting kids to remain completely silent in hallways seems impossible.  As teachers attempt to make the hallways silent, the only words that are actually heard in the hallways are usually negative.  The only words that are heard are the ones that are spoken to kids who are breaking the rule.  When a kid wants to say something, a choice is made.  Am I gonna break the silence rule or not?  Usually, most kids choose option three.  Try to be sneaky.  Try not to get caught.

Sure, teachers will give compliments to a quiet class, but they do not actually seem to elicit any student pride.  They are fairly hollow compliments that are far outweighed by the constant "reminders" to be silent.  Six comments to students that are not quiet will be heard much more clearly than, "Thank you to the front of the line for not talking at all."  Usually, when a teacher thanks the front of the line, they really want the back of the line to hear it, hoping it will remind them to hush!

Instead, what if we taught our students to use an appropriate hallway volume?  What if we taught them to keep conversations to a minimum in the hallways?  What if we taught them how to save lengthy conversations for a better time?  Would this type of environment require any more redirection towards students who break the hallway volume rule?

It is funny that when kids try to sneak in little conversations, they typically use a volume that teachers would find quite acceptable.  If we can see that most of our kids are capable of it, why don't we create systems that foster the skill?

Would more kids break the rules if we allowed quiet conversations?  I don't think so.  The same kids who act impulsively, regardless of the rules, will struggle.  I think that the average child will break the rules much less often because this system is not so black and white.  Option three, whispering, is actually the preferred option.  I am certain that teachers would minimize the number of redirection comments that currently occur entirely too often.

It also seems to be true that teachers vary widely on what silence means in the hallways.  Some teachers are absolute sticklers for it, while others are much more lax.  The sticklers shake their heads at the lax ones.  Funny though, that some teachers who don't like the rule still enforce it with fidelity because they are rule followers.

If your school requires silence in the hallways, count the number of times you hear an adult remind students to be silent in the hallways.  It is overwhelming.  Count the number of sneaky conversations that students hold without causing disruption or noise.

Does a demand for silence teach kids what we want them to learn about being a little human being in this world?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


I finally figured out why I am stuck.  Every day, I get stuck.  I am really struggling to get past the most simple parts of lesson planning for my class, designing engaging, high-quality learning activities for each content area. 
Every day, I am opening my units of study and trying to decipher the actual pieces that need need to be taught and organize them into learning opportunities for students in a cohesive, linear manner.  I work to make these lessons fit into little bundles that fit into the master schedule.  I have about two hours for language arts, 90 minutes for math, 45 minutes for science, and 45 minutes for social studies.  These units of study are between 20 and 30 pages each and they are broken down into several, well-thought out sections designed to help me make sense of curricular expectations.

Some may say that the purpose of these units of study is to simplify what teachers need to do.  I contend that one purpose of well-designed units of study is to slow teachers down so that PLC-style conversations happen.  This may be the opposite of simplification, but it is an invaluable collaborative process in the long run.

As a principal, I tried to slow teams down in order to focus conversations on DuFour's PLC questions.  That focus always started with question #1:  What do we need our students to learn?  And #2: How will we know if they have learned it?  The goal was to slow the conversation down and deeply discuss what each learning objective really meant, then design an assessment that checked their mastery at the agreed upon level of rigor.  Backwards design!

As a teacher, I already see the value of these conversations.  After last week's collaborative planning meeting with my team, I am most confident with the learning standards we deeply discussed for language arts.  Consequently, my plans for language arts most confidently align with the unit of study.  I am least confident with my plans for the other subjects.

It is still clear to me that it is impossible to review every standard in every content area every week.  And I still need lesson plans.  And I am starting from scratch.

The last two weeks have gotten better and better.  My instructional coach rightly urged me to trust several of the planning pieces that were put in place by previous 4th grade teams.  This certainly made life easier.  I am getting unstuck.  My daily plans are getting done and the purpose for each learning activity is getting more clear.  I continue to insist that my students think, talk, and write throughout the day.  Busy work does not happen too often at all.

Getting unstuck will be a year-long process.  Getting better at the nuts and bolts of planning will take awhile.  Right now, I am still set on designing learning activities that are high quality.  I keep asking myself, "Can this be done in 50 hours a week or less?"  Then I laugh and laugh and laugh.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lesson planning

Where do they come from?  Thin air?  Stolen from others?  My brain?  ...or... Definitely not my brain!

Some teachers spend a lot of time looking for great ideas.  They scour the internet.  They might wear out Pinterest or spend a fortune on Teachers Pay Teachers.  The tough thing about a Google search is the sheer number of choices you will see.  If you ask Google, "How can my students publish online," you'll see 89 million results.  The top four results are Top Ten Lists for publishing, or tools for publishing, or sites to visit for publishing.  Too many choices.  If only there were an expert on campus to tell me the best way for students to publish their work using a tool that is easy to use.

They love when a new teacher joins the team and brings in fresh ideas.  They love getting their hands on a new resource that offers ideas that are arranged in an organized manner.  Moreso, teachers love finding a resource that actually seems to help teach the concept that needs to be learned.

Now that I am once again a new teacher, I see a major dilemma.  I am stuck between two competing needs.  I need to provide learning opportunities that engage students and help them master the learning objective.  I also need lesson plans for each subject, every day, that cover the units of study.  These two things are both important.  They are also much more difficult that I imagined.

For every unit of study, there is absolutely not enough time to deconstruct every learning objective in order to define what the student really needs to know, determine how students will show mastery, and plan for differentiation for struggling students and advanced students.  As a principal, I would constantly say that we couldn't do it all in one meeting, but over the course of several meetings, months, and even years, we would get better and better.  As a teacher, I want to do it right, right now, and there isn't time.

So instead, I must find things to fill my lesson plans on a daily basis.  I recently spoke with a former co-worker from another place who now also happens to work in my new district.  She is also having a few struggles with the new-ness, but she offered me some wisdom that I needed to hear.  She set a goal to teach two strong lessons in each content area each week.  Brilliant!  Rather than lament the impossibility of making every single lesson a masterpiece, I need to give myself some grace and shoot for two!

As a principal, I underestimated the amount of time necessary for quality collaborative planning.  If you want a true PLC culture, make sure teams have time to address the first two questions adequately.  Before the first day of school, give teams time to get their first units planned out solidly.  Otherwise, the year begins in survival mode.

Friday, September 15, 2017

How many standards?

Last week, I was asked to complete a survey administered by the Texas Education Agency.  They were seeking feedback for the upcoming review of the social studies standards from Kindergarten through high school.  Approximately every 10 years, the state organizes a review of these standards (the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS) in order to ensure they are meeting the up-to-date needs of today's students.

The process includes educators from across the state.  Many of them are at the top of their game and consistently provide a stellar education to their students.  Other educators on the panel are chosen by a member of the State Board of Education or other highly influential educators.  Sometimes these participants are qualified.  Sometimes they are not.  Sadly, sometimes these influential folks simply choose their friends who have no business representing quality education.

The organization of the process is quite methodical.  Step by step, each committee reviews their particular course.  They review the relevancy and rigor of each standard. They edit, revise, add, rewrite, and delete standards based on their knowledge of the coursework and feedback from others.  The process is so scripted that after several days of editing, revising, adding, rewriting, and deleting, most things do not change.  Most of the time, it is simply an updated table of contents and reworded standards.

A few years ago, the state tackled the math standards and there was quite an uproar from many different factions.  Teachers were split, with some loving the changes and others calling it "New Math 2.0."  Several groups of stakeholders ridiculed the new standards for the lack of basics.  Others ridiculed the emphasis on creative problem solving.  Many talked about the pushed down expectations.  That means previously taught 3rd grade standards were now expected in 2nd grade.  In the end, the standards are not that different and they are not better.

The same thing can be said for pretty much every other content area.  They get edited, revised, added to, rewritten, and occasionally standards were removed.  But they were essentially the same.  Every ten years, and they are not really better.  The proponents of this process would disagree.  The folks that worked on the committees would disagree.  While there may be some minimal improvements made every ten years, the standards are essentially unchanged.

Talk to any teacher, and they will almost unanimously agree on one thing.  The problem with the standards is that there are entirely too many of them.  Way too many.  Exhaustively too many.  We are in our 20th year of the TEKS and Texas Educators have still not mastered how to do it all.  Twenty years later and teams of educators are still trying to find ways to simplify them.  Districts choose power standards.  Curriculum resource companies sell  materials that "cover" it all.  Data tells us which standards we are good at and which ones need improvement.  After twenty years, we should have figured out how to make all those standards come alive in our classrooms.  We haven't.  Yes, there are a few teachers out there who have pretty much got it nailed!  Most do not.

Twenty years of trying to find a scope and sequence that will cover it all.  Twenty years of collaborative team planning meetings to plan for "getting it all in" and we still struggle.  Twenty years of technological help to fill gaps in learning from previous grade levels.  Twenty years is long enough to try to make it work.

The real answer is simple.  Get rid of the majority of the standards.  There are too many.  Way too many.  Cut them by 60-75%.  Allow teachers to focus deeply on the important standards that give students the opportunity to think, argue, create, solve, communicate, and analyze.  I attended two of the TEKS revision parties and several of the committees talked about this exact idea.  Then when it was time to cut, every standard was vital to one committee member or another.  Everyone had a reason not to make the cuts.  The work is tough and cannot be done well in one week.

I do not volunteer to be in charge of the rewrite.  Hire Mike Schmoker for that task.  His book, Focus, was the impetus for this blog entry.  For starters though, how about following one of Seth Godin's ideas.  Don't ask kids to memorize anything they can ask Siri.  Siri knows all the facts but she doesn't do any higher level thinking.  Sorry, Siri.  Next, get rid of anything that stinks of worksheets.  Sure, paper is a necessary part of education.  Lots of paper!  Stick to standards that make kids think, talk, argue, write, and wonder!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Back in class

I am excited to say that I am back in class.  Perhaps not in the way that you think.  I am not going back to school for a degree.  I am not simply talking about the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.  I am talking about my very own 2017-2018 school year.

After 15 years as a campus administrator, I am heading back into the classroom!

I am extremely pumped about teaching 4th grade this year.  After much thought and discussion over the last year, this is definitely the right move for me at the right time!

During my interview, one question almost threw me for a loop!  "Where do you see yourself in five years?"  I love this question!  I think it is important for educators to consider it frequently, along with a consideration for two years and ten years.  Five years ago, I would not have guessed that this would be my path.  The last three years have been quite a ride and the path I am currently treading is as bright as ever!

Of all the things I am currently thinking about, I wonder the most about the perspective shift that will happen.  What will I see differently as a teacher than I did as a campus principal?  Most principals I know were good teachers and most say that they have not forgotten what it is like to be in the classroom as a teacher.    I believe most of them.  I am a good teacher in many ways, but I have a TON to learn!

But teaching is different now.  It is not the same craft as it was 15 years ago.  Heading back into the classroom is not the same.  I already know that I will be forgetting to prepare for oodles of important classroom procedures, activities, expectations, and more.  For example, I have seen hundreds of good teachers handle their Friday folder with great success.  I haven't thought about how to set one up until today.  Because they go home in two days!  I guess I need a system!

Stay tuned.  This is gonna be fun!

Monday, April 3, 2017

I'm sorry for the sit and get...

If you find yourself saying this to your audience of learners, immediately following the lecture, reflect upon your lesson design.  Ask a few participants to tell you a more collaborative way to get the same results.

If you are doing most of the talking, rest assured that the audience ends up doing very little listening.  Your students are not a TED Talk audience.  You may be a great story teller, but even TED Talks are limited to 18 minutes!  In an elementary classroom, limit yourself to three minutes before your kids get a chance to talk.

Challenge yourself!  Choose a lesson, and design it with the following question guiding the way:  What is the least amount of words I can say in this lesson?

This doesn't mean to shorten a lecture.  It is more than that.  Get away from lecture altogether.  Design a different type of learning activity.  It means to challenge yourself to talk a lot less and get the kids talking a lot more.

I have seen a 4th grade classroom with deep engagement for over an hour to start the day before the teacher ever addressed the whole group.  Her systems were solid, her students owned the class, and she created and designed lessons that were self-directed and engaging.  Imagine a classroom that could run itself!  She deeply wanted her classroom to be a place where her students constantly challenged themselves to learn.  She designed learning activities that were relevant and required much thought and much communication.

Talk less.  Make your kids talk more.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

No Hurry

I have really started to pay attention to student/teacher interactions.  I have been looking for a natural flow and rhythm to learning activities, especially when the teacher is involved.

When I first began teaching, I had a realization that I was trying to move my students along at my speed, not theirs.  This was especially evident during small group instruction.  I might read a passage with some students and engage in dialogue about the piece.  I would ask questions and guide the discussion to focus on main idea, inferences, and author's purpose, along with many other learning targets.

All too often, I noticed the kids couldn't keep up with me!  I didn't understand why because I thought that since we were working through the reading and dialogue together, we would all be able to participate in the conversation at the same speed.  My brain found the information so their brain should do it at the same time.

It seems like a no-brainer to know that some students may work slower.  However, I was so intensely involved in the learning conversation that I tried to keep it flowing smoothly...according to my own timeline.

Now, I will wait.  I will wait for a long time.  Perhaps too long.  If a kid seems to be done with his thinking and writing, I may give him a side question to extend his thinking.  I wait until it seems clear that everyone in the group is truly ready for the discussion.  I watch them intensely with the hope that the activity flows for them and not me.  Then we dig deeply into the passage.  We do it together.  No hurry!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Your score is ready!

Now that the calendar has turned, it is time to give you your final scores for 2016.  Here they are:

Domain #1  -  67
Domain #2  -  44
Domain #3  -  12

Now that you know your scores, I'd like you to take a few minutes to reflect upon them.  How did you do?  What are your strengths?  How will you make improvements?

Holy smokes!  I forget to tell you what the scores are measuring!  The first number is your rating as a blog reader.  It is based on your regular blog reading tendencies run through a complicated formula that measures you on a scale of other demographically similar blog readers.

The second number is your score of the comments you leave on blogs.  It is somewhat based on the value-added nature of your comments.  It also takes into consideration blogs that you read but do not actually leave comments for, knowing that sometimes "no comment" is the best comment.  There is also a component of this score contrived from your probable likelihood of future value-added comments.

The third score is a current and valid score of your anticipated level of improvement in blog readership and commenting.  This number is extrapolated using your current scores and a broad spectrum analysis of other blog readers based on state and national averages, longevity of readership, and blog loyalty.  Happenstance blog readers have been removed from the scores to minimize unnecessary variability.

Now... How did you do?  What are your strengths?  How will you make improvements?

So you still need more information to reflect upon your scores???  What is the scale, you ask???  What if I said the scale for each number was 1-100.  Can you start your reflection?  Well, that would be too easy.  The scale for the first score is 13-100.  The scale for the second score is 32-278.  The scale for the third score is 1-12.

Now you have enough information to reflect on your scores.   How did you do?  What are your strengths?  How will you make improvements?

The general reaction for each score is as follows:

Domain #1:  On a scale between 13 and 100, a 67 was felt to be just OK by most blog readers.  Not good.  Not bad.  Meh...
Domain #2:  On a scale between 32 and 278, a score of 44 was deemed to be pretty low.  Several folks agreed that a 44 might as well be the bottom of the barrel.  Ugggh.  
Domain #3:  On a scale between 1 and 12, getting the highest possible score was a delight to everyone!  Folks like to get the highest possible score!  It was notes that while domains #1 and #2 are not sources of pride, the score for domain #3 feels great because it indicates future success!

Finally, there is enough information to adequately reflect on your performance.  How did you do?  What are your strengths?  How will you make improvements?

Wait just a minute....  Another piece of information is available for your score analysis.  It may also affect your reflection.  

Domain #1 - 67
12 % of blog readers scored 60 or below
88% of blog readers scored 61 or greater

Domain #2 - 44
56% of blog readers scored 40 or below
38% of blog readers scored between 41 and 50
6% of blog readers scored 51 or greater

Domain #3 - 12
91% of blog readers scored a 12
9% of blog readers scored an 11

Now that you have the whole picture, are you ready to reflect again?  How did you do?  What are your strengths?  How will you make improvements?

Funny how the reflection changes with each new piece of information.  The scores did not change.  The context changed each time another piece of information was provided.  Twelve out of a possible twelve points felt great until the data showed that 100% of blog readers received an 11 or a 12.  Then that same 12 wasn't so exciting.  The 44 was well below the ceiling of 278 and felt pretty bad until we saw the company we were in.

The State of Texas is in the process of publishing new scores from a new school accountability rating system for Texas Public schools.  The scoring system will not become official until 2018.  The projected scores (grades) for last year were just released.  The scores are shocking folks across the state.  Some schools that have typically performed at the top of the heap are seeing scores that do not necessarily reflect being at the top.  

The school didn't change.  It was a good school under the old scoring system.  It is still a good school.  The school didn't change overnight.  It was simply measured differently.  The school's data didn't change overnight.  It was simply presented through a different lens.

Every school has strengths and bright spots.  Every school has challenges and improvement plans.  The new scoring system has flaws.  So did the old one.  Flawed as it may be, it simply gives you information to do better.  I like to do better!