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.

Five Ways to Make a Million Dollars


Okay, this blog isn’t really about making a million dollars.  Ten years of teaching tells me, though, that if you read this entire blog and try one of these strategies, at least one of them will feel like a million dollars at the end of your next lesson.

A couple of years ago, while working through Success at the Core’s Leadership Teams and Quality Instruction module, it became clear that to improve my instruction, I needed to give students useful, timely feedback.

Here are five quick ways to see what students are learning and help them know how they’re doing.

1.    Establish …

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Success Beyond the Core


For the past six years, I had the honor and pleasure of serving as principal at Ferrucci Junior High in Puyallup, Washington.  As principal, I was proud of how our entire school community promoted and supported our visual and performing arts programs.  And daily, I was reminded of the leadership and collaborative spirit demonstrated by the teachers in our Fine and Performing Arts Department.  Their enthusiasm, hard work, and continuous communication and collaboration inspired excellence in each of the students they served, their colleagues across our school, and in the community at-large.  This was no small accomplishment, given that nearly …

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Building Teacher Capacity – Thoughts From A New Generation of Coaches

teachers working together

When I became an instructional coach 10 years ago, my district’s coaches were veteran teachers with 25 years of experience.  We had been selected from a pool of skilled, older teachers, with years of experience and a desire to share before we retired. When asked, “What excites you about this opportunity?” I clearly remember my response: “Working with the teachers.  I will probably retire soon, and I would like to give back to my profession.”

Times have changed.  The new generation of coaches in my district is younger. These coaches are still highly skilled, but they are not at the end …

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Friday Forum: Any tips on how to engage with parents and community members?


Friday Forum is a bi-weekly advice column for educators seeking guidance on educations issues. Please join the discussion – we want to hear your stories and suggestions, too!  

Q. Any tips on how to engage with parents and community members (via e-mail, Moodle/online course site, social media, etc.)? – Heather (teacher)

A.  This is a question that I often wrestle with as I look for ways to connect with the families that we serve.  The continued evolution of social media coupled with the ever increasing capabilities of tablets, smart phones, glasses, watches, etc. leads me to believe that there must be …

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