Welcome to Core Connections, a blog by Success at the Core. You'll find stories of best practices, inspiring experiences, and effective strategies related to leadership development, classroom instruction, and student engagement.

You Have to Want to Change

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” ~ Carl Jung

Change. Change is hard. Change is stressful. Nobody enjoys change.

For people to want to change, they must acknowledge a gap between their present state and a preferred future. It is human nature to resist change – often quite aggressively.

Rather than attempting to force a teacher to change their practice, we must inspire them to do so. This inspiration must be presented compassionately and without judgment. When presenting a colleague with an alternative future state, it is important that they perceive it as a …

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We’re Aiming for the Super Bowl

Tyler Rice

I have been a huge Seattle Seahawks fan for as long as I can remember. For most of my 36 years, this has meant suffering through one disappointing season after another. Often, I felt like the only ‘Hawk fan on Earth!

Now that the Seahawks have become the darlings of the National Football League, fans are coming out of the woodwork! One reason so many fans identify with the Seahawks is clearly their winning record. I think it’s more than that, though. Many people clearly identify with the particular brand of teamwork that the “Boys in Blue” show, especially …

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Self-Coaching to Improve My Practice

Tyler Rice


“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment”

- John Wooden


In Washington state, we’ve implemented a new teacher and principal evaluation system (TPEP, for short). As part of TPEP, teachers self-evaluate, using a rubric that defines quality instruction and then identify goals for the upcoming school year. We are  evaluated based upon how well are we meeting certain criteria, including our goal criteria.

Several evaluation models are being used in the state (including those developed by the University of Washington, Marzano, Danielson) to help define quality instruction so that teachers and principals are speaking the same language.

I have found this evaluation process …

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Developing People Means Helping Them Find Their Voice

Beth Ashley

As this season of The Voice wraps up, with only a handful of contestants left, many of us have selected our top two or three favorites and tune in weekly to see how they perform under mounting pressure. Last spring, as I watched Usher work with Michelle Chamuel, I was struck by his passion and enthusiasm for her success. This season I have observed how the coaches work with their teams, including their song selections, their interactions with each contestant, and their techniques for “breaking it down.”

As a school principal, The Voice has given me insights about how principals work …

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Making Content Relevant: “By Words, the Mind is Winged”

Andrea Brixey
Andrea Brixey

Last spring, I wrote on this blog about making content matter.  There is a funny thing that happens when you write a blog that comes together nicely–a blog that others read, a blog that your boss shares at staff meetings, a blog that your husband brags about at dinner parties. You can think that you’re done.  If you can write about it compellingly, you’ve got it.  Right?

Teaching is never like that.

Last week, on a Monday afternoon, I was looking at a bunch of nice kids doing their best imitation of being interested in the beginning chapters of To Kill a …

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