Ready to Grow?

Teachers Change the World

Posted by Scott Barron on Sep 2, 2015 10:01:14 AM

Arnold Anderson has a reputation--he's actually notorious. He's a math teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in New Brunswick, NJ, who was tardy over 110 times in the last two school years. As reported in the Courier News ("Teacher keeps $90K job after being late 111 times"), due to his 14 years of experience and the local public school compensation schedule, Mr. Anderson is very well paid at over $90,000 in salary and benefits.

Read More

Topics: School Culture, Teacher Quality, Current Events, Faculty

Is Tactical Defense Training Relevant for School Leaders

Posted by Scott Barron on Apr 23, 2015 9:50:07 AM

This week we shared information about a new one day Tactical Defense Training class for school leaders available through The Draco Group. Through hands-on preparation by some of the best experts in the world, education administrators can be prepared for some of the worst-case-scenarios that we all hope won't happen, but are part of our responsibility in providing for the safety and security of students, teachers, staff, and parents.

Read More

Topics: Administration, Current Events

The Consultative Business Officer is a Learner

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 4, 2015 9:55:03 AM

The Consultative Business Officer knows how to Tune In to the "channel" of his/her internal clients to optimize the performance of each. By reading and learning common language, current events, risks and opportunities, and trends and results, the CBO is prepared to build relationships and create solutions that truly further the mission.

Read More

Topics: Webinar, Current Events

Should Academic Performance Enhancing Drugs Be Widely Available?

Posted by Scott Barron on Jan 5, 2015 9:47:37 AM

Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman, Haloti Ngata, returned Sunday from his four game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's ban on performance-enhancing substances. His drug of choice: Adderall. This amphetamine is banned by every major sports organization because it provides many competitive benefits to athletes. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz received a 25-game suspension for using Adderall last season, and NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger was also punished for such use.

What's so attractive about these drugs that are typically used to treat ADD/ADHD? They are believed to increase alertness, focus, and attention. Reaction time may be decreased, particularly when tired, and some find that it increases mental performance.

Athletic vs Academic Advantage

Multiple studies have shown students can achieve improved memory and focus when taking drugs such as modafinil, Ritalin, or Adderall, with manageable negative side effects. Even though these medications are supposed to be only available through a doctor's prescription, willing suppliers can be easily found online. According to Kieron Monks in the article, "Are 'smart pills' the best way to stay sharp?" these drugs "are more effective than caffeine, and represent progress based on improved understanding of biology and brain function."

So it's no surprise that such medications have become extremely popular throughout high school and college campuses. Regardless of school policies, a growing percentage of students are regularly using them to prep for exams to gain from these same benefits. While they may temporarily increase the ability to focus, and reduce the need for sleep, there is questionable proof they increase grades or performance.

What we do know is that such stimulants increase blood pressure and heart rate. At high doses and with repeated use, greater risks of stroke, feelings of hostility, and anti-social behaviors emerge. The often induced lack of sleep and poor nutrition also contribute to major health issues. Around exam season, emergency room visits spike for students who have misused some combination of such drugs and other stimulates.

The challenge for school administrators, of course, is should academic performance enhancing drugs be widely available?

Serious concerns regarding the short- and long-term effects remain, but establishing policies is difficult because students already use "supped up" energy drinks and similar over-the-counter supplements to stay more alert. For years some have argued that access to so-called "smart drugs" for exams should be viewed as a valuable benefit and available to all students.

What is your school's policy regarding the use of such performance enhancers? Based on what principles will you make these decisions? What would have to be true in order for your school to legalize them?

Read More

Topics: Administration, Current Events

Banned From Graduation

Posted by Scott Barron on Jul 3, 2014 9:43:16 AM

The graduation ban is one of the tools used by schools to enforce disciplinary action or academic quality. Whether to use this method of discipline is often a very difficult decision for school administrators because of the extreme emotions involved and the life-long impact. Why are some students banned from graduation?

Read More

Topics: Administration, Legal, Current Events, School Law

inBloom's Collapse Illustrates Complexity of School Innovations

Posted by Scott Barron on Jun 9, 2014 7:21:53 AM

Selling products and services to schools can be very difficult. In a few weeks I will attend the ISTE Conference in Atlanta, where I will spend most of the time talking with select companies who will be promoting their wares in the Expo Hall to the thousands of educators in attendance. I plan to collect survey information from these for-profit and non-profit companies to see what we can learn from their experiences in working with schools.

Read More

Topics: Administration, Current Events

Is Spanking in Schools a Viable Discipline Option?

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 4, 2014 2:13:34 PM

Spanking is legal for school leaders in Kansas, and in most other states. Is spanking in schools a viable discipline option today?

A Kansas state representative wants to give this discipline option more impact (Spanking Bill in Kansas Sparks Controversy). A bill has been introduced that would give school leaders greater authority to spank, "by allowing teachers and caregivers to spank children up to 10 times, possibly causing redness and bruising."

Read More

Topics: Administration, Current Events

School Innovation: 3 Lessons from New Microsoft CEO's First Day on the Job

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 4, 2014 1:58:17 PM

"Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation."

- Satya Nadella, New CEO of Microsoft

In his first day as the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella provided 3 valuable lessons regarding leadership. His two predecessors were founder and billionaire Bill Gates followed by billionaire Steve Ballmer (the 30th employee of the company), so he obviously has some big shoes to fill. His start was a bit rocky, but we're pulling for him to learn quickly and achieve great success.

Read More

Topics: School Design, School Culture, School Growth, Current Events, Leadership, Faculty

How Much Do You Care? More Than Zuckerberg?

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 4, 2014 1:48:54 PM

In response to a question about what he thinks has contributed most to Facebook's success, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg said, "When I look back over the last 10 years, one of the questions that I ask myself is, why were we the ones to help do this? And I think a lot of what it comes down to is, we just cared more." (Today Show)

Read More

Topics: Administration, School Design, School Culture, Current Events, Faculty

What M. Night Shyamalan Taught Me About Schools

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 4, 2014 1:28:57 PM


Read More

Topics: School Design, Current Events

Subscribe to Weekly Email Updates

Recent Posts