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.
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How an Instructional Coach Uses a Quiver of Strategies for a Bull’s Eye Approach

beth ashley

Polly Rowell works as an instructional coach at Meadow Lakes Elementary School in the Matsu Borough School District in Alaska. Most of her 27 years of teaching have been in a first grade classroom, but after having earned her doctorate in reading research, it was time to take on a new challenge as literacy coach.

As a literacy coach in a new school, Polly turned to the Internet to find additional training ideas to demonstrate engaging lessons, develop excellent teaching strategies, and apply formative assessments. Through her search, she found Success at the Core. She noticed that although the videos …

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When Data Become “Good Data”


It’s fall, again. A time for new beginnings, and a chance to make changes and do things differently to better improve student learning. But with these changes come questions: How will I know when I am making a difference?  What can I look ‘at’ or ‘for’ that will help me decide if my new approach is working?  What data can I collect as evidence for my teacher evaluation?

Here are three steps that I’ve found helpful in answering these data analysis questions.

When I coach teachers, I emphasize that multiple perspectives on what is happening in the classroom is paramount. It’s like …

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Friday Forum: Any tips on how to become a ‘connected educator?’


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: I’m feeling kind of old these days, and technology in general is more challenging for me than it is for my younger colleagues. When it comes to being a “connected educator,” even knowing where to start is a challenge.  Can you suggest a first step I should take in becoming part of the online social learning community?  And, if I manage that first step, where should I head next?  Thanks so much.

- Marilyn

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Implementing a New Data Tracking System

We’ve all reviewed, sorted, and taken action steps related to data. However, as an Instructional Facilitator, I have found that each year, teachers tend to start this data analysis all over again with each student. What did we do for this student? While they have access to data from previous years, most teachers don’t have a history of specific interventions from years past. That’s why I set out to start a student intervention tracking system that would follow a student from kindergarten through fifth grade, and possibly even through middle school.











The purpose of this new system is three-fold:

  1. To …

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