Excellent Teaching is the Blueprint for Excellent Leading

By Dennis Muizers

How do we learn to be excellent leaders? After 30 years in education, I often wish I could go back with the knowledge and experience I have now. I was a high school principal at age 28 and a PK-12 curriculum director at 32 looking for leadership inspiration. One of the first mistakes I made was incorrectly assuming that teaching and leading were two very different capacities. Thankfully, the reality for educational leaders who want to grow is that excellent leadership examples are happening in classrooms around you every day. It is only with a growth mindset and the willingness to reflect that you can take these examples and apply them to become an effective leader in your school or district.

Let’s take a closer look at the attributes of excellent teaching that can and should be your blueprint for excellent leadership, as well as the reflection questions that will help you hone these attributes.

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Implementing Large-Scale Instructional Programs: A Q&A with Educational Leaders

Funding and implementing large-scale instructional programs presents both significant challenges and unique opportunities for educational leaders in any district. They must navigate diverse student needs, funding constraints, and the ever-changing dynamics of teaching and learning. To shed light on these complexities, we recently hosted a roundtable discussion with two distinguished superintendents, Krystal Lomanto of San Benito County, California, and Michael P. West of Colusa County, California. Moderated by Dr. Gregory Spencer, VP of Bilingual Literacy and Equity Impact at Footsteps2Brilliance, and Dennis Muizers, VP of Literacy and Leadership at Footsteps2Brilliance, this Q & A captures valuable insights on addressing literacy needs, engaging communities, and more. Their experiences and wisdom provide valuable lessons for administrators striving to make a meaningful impact in their districts.

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Beat the Summer Slide: 7 Essential Tips for Keeping Students Sharp

Beat the Summer Slide: Tips for Student Engagement

Each summer, students risk falling into the “summer slide.” The summer slide is a phenomenon where students can lose up to three months of academic progress during the summer months, setting them back and making reentry into the next school year more difficult. Now that summer is upon us, here are seven proactive strategies that educators can recommend to parents and caregivers to ensure students return to school ready to continue their learning journey without missing a beat. With these essential tips for student engagement, you can help your students beat the dreaded summer slide.

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Who Cares?: A Personal Journey Overcoming Illiteracy

By Dr. Gregory A. Spencer, Vice President – Footsteps2Brilliance

Struggling with Illiteracy

Stupid, fool, ignorant, dumb. These were a few of the insults I received in school after moving from Gulfport, Mississippi to Oakland, California. I was illiterate; I couldn’t read, write, or function in the classroom setting. I found myself struggling in a world that didn’t welcome those who couldn’t produce, comprehend, or embrace English.

As an angry black boy that experienced a segregated elementary school in Mississippi, I had preconceived notions as to what learning was or should be. What I didn’t know until many years later is that I was, in essence, a second language learner due to illiteracy. I felt like an outcast, a foreigner in my own land. As a child, I stayed in the shadows so that I wouldn’t be laughed at or teased.

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The Reading Recipe for Success: Plan, Do, Check, Act

By Eugene Narciso, COO Footsteps2Brilliance

Meet Beatriz, a multilingual student in San Mateo-Foster City School District (SMFCSD). She and her family immigrated to California from Brazil in February 2023. She enjoys science and loves to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider with her mom.  Beatriz started school with limited English language skills.  Within only 30 days, she was functioning successfully in her English-only classroom. How?

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Gamify It! Five Essential Principles for Boosting Student Motivation

Games, especially video games, captivate kids like few other things can. But what if the motivation, engagement, and pure enjoyment games provide could be harnessed for learning? That’s the power of gamification – integrating game elements into education to turbocharge students’ drive to learn. In the face of a growing tide of student work refusal, curriculum experts tout five key principles you’ll need to use gamification effectively in the classroom.

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Preventing Failure Before It Begins: The Power of Pre-Teaching in Elementary Education

by Ilene Rosenthal, CEO Footsteps2Brilliance

Children do not all start school with the same language and literacy skills. According to the Children’s Reading Foundation, 2 out of every 10 children enter kindergarten with skills two to three years lower than their grade level, and another two start school with a one-year disadvantage. When we expect students to absorb new information without a solid foundation, we set them up for failure and the need for reteaching. This vicious cycle of playing catch-up disproportionately affects historically underserved students. Elementary education determines whether students move through their educational journey with enthusiasm or reluctance. To prevent failure before it begins, pre-teaching emerges not just as an alternative teaching method, but as a beacon of transformative change.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf

This week, you and your children will read The Boy Who Cried Wolf and make a comic strip. Comic strip writing will help you learn about dialogue and conversations that characters have with each other.

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El niño y el lobo

Esta semana, tú y tus hijos leerán El niño y el lobo y crearán un tira cómica. Escribiendo la tira cómica ayudará a aprender sobre el diálogo y las conversaciones que mantienen los personajes entre sí.

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