Great Teacher E-Cards

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve found some great e-cards that will hopefully bring a smile to those who just returned or are returning to work in the upcoming weeks.  Those in the education field need to laugh, and laugh often.  I hope this will contribute!

Grounding Helicopter Parents

Below is an opinion piece written by Barry Glasner and Morton Schapiro, two college presidents. The piece rotates around the term “helicopter parents”, a term many in the education field use to describe those parents who are communicating with the school daily (some even hourly) about a myriad of issues.  Most of the issues pertain to their children; some are to gossip; others just to vent.  While there is certainly a fine line between effective & proactive parenting and being a nuisance, the piece points out quite a bit.  While this piece rotates around freshmen entering college, those in the education field will be able to identify many similarities whether they work in a high school, middle school, or elementary school. I enjoyed the piece, and hopefully you will too.

When the presidents of colleges and universities talk privately at this time of year, a popular topic is how to handle “helicopter parents.” We muse over what to say during new-student orientation sessions to dissuade parents from hovering over their children for the next four years — interfering with the maturation their children need, while driving us a bit crazy in the process.

The usual plan of attack is to lecture parents on the importance of letting go. “Help your children unpack,” parents are told. “Kiss them goodbye, and ask them to text you a couple of times per week.”

Having found that approach both unrealistic and ineffective, the two of us have come to take quite a different tack. We encourage the parents of freshmen to stay closely connected with their children. We know that some parents make inappropriate demands on professors, student-services staff and college officials while failing to disconnect from their children sufficiently to allow them to grow up. But we also understand that total disengagement is not the solution. Our students would not be the inquisitive, disciplined and community-minded people they are without a history of parental involvement. So what sense does it make for parents to suspend those connections for four years once move-in day is over?

The antidote to excessive parental involvement is constructive engagement — a way for parents to stay meaningfully involved with their children during this new phase in their growth. We speak plainly about the areas where many parents today have a difficult time shifting gears. We counsel that most of the interventions they made on their children’s behalf when they were younger should now be responsibilities of the child. And we make known that, when parents call us and say their son or daughter would kill them if he or she knew they were calling the president, our first thought is that the child may have a good point.

We remind parents that this generation was raised differently than ours. Remember pick-up games? Kids would get together and play baseball, basketball and soccer without parents or coaches screaming “encouragement” from the sidelines. Isn’t it amazing how we survived our childhoods without orange slices provided by our parents?

College is a time when parents can grant their children the precious opportunity to take responsibility as they develop into independent young men and women, fully prepared to be productive and engaged citizens. To the parents of children who don’t like their roommates, teachers, academic advisers or grades, we urge empathy and calm. The social and survival skills young people develop in these situations will serve them well later in life. And we are proud to note the tremendous effort we put into enrolling a student body that reflects almost every difference you can imagine — income, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, and spiritual and political beliefs. If a child lives in a cocoon of familiarity, that effort is wasted, and there is little chance that he or she will be prepared for the world after graduation.

So parents can help by gently pushing their children to embrace complexity and diversity and to stretch the limits of their comfort zones. Some of the most important learning we provide is uncomfortable learning — where students take classes in subjects they find intimidating, and live, study and play with classmates from backgrounds very different from their own.

Young people need advice and encouragement to take advantage of the remarkable learning and social opportunities available in college. Parents are often best at providing that support. So we ask parents to urge their children to avail themselves of all that the campus offers — lectures by visiting faculty, dignitaries and celebrities; performances and exhibitions by classmates with extraordinary musical, artistic and theatrical talents; athletic events where students can wear the school colors and scream their heads off. When their children tell them about fascinating courses, or entire programs or majors that can expand their horizons but that they are reluctant to try, parents should offer counsel and support. And please, we implore our parents, remind your children that, in an environment of almost total freedom, it will now be up to them to make responsible decisions about alcohol and sex.

Having raised smart and accomplished kids, most parents are able, with a little guidance, to recognize the difference between being a constructive partner in their child’s educational journey and being a counterproductive, infantilizing, control freak.

As for those who choose to ignore that advice, we have a simple message: Should you decide to park your helicopter in the middle of the freshman quad, you will be ticketed and towed.

You can read the full piece and partake in national commentary here:


Common Core Standards 101 / These Times are a-Changing!

Greetings!  While school in Georgia and many other states have started, many schools in the northeast will begin in a few weeks.  Like many students, I also start having those restless nights waiting to get started… those in education are fortunate enough because we have a beginning, a middle, and an end in our job cycle each year.  It’s always exciting when a new beginning starts.

The state of Georgia has recently implemented the Common Core Standards.  The Common Core Standards have been adopted by 45 states and three American territories (  What’s the big deal about Common Core?  It’s the first time where EVERYBODY is truly working together to share ideas and thoughts.  Everybody would include teacher unions, administrator associations, and their respective departments of education.  This all may sound silly, but this really is unprecedented, especially in states like New Jersey and Georgia where defiance and agreeing to disagree has been the cornerstone of some people’s existence.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort  provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce. The first draft was sent to schools, colleges, educational professionals, and everybody else you can think in the world of education, most importantly students. Following their feedback, the draft standards were opened for public comment, receiving nearly 10,000 responses.

The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live. These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.

These standards:

  • Are aligned with college and work expectations;
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent;
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
  • Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
  • Are evidence-based.

You can read more about the Common Core Standards by visiting:

I am excited for this change not only for the consistency that is going to arise, but because there will also be a consistent way to navigate the new standards in place.  The map:


(c) FEA / NJPSA – P. Wright

Now, let’s be real for a second.  This will not happen overnight, nor should it.  This will take some time to “unpack” them, allowing educators and administrators to really understand what one should be teaching and learning.

It’s going to be  great year.  Finally, the bell of consistency has rang!!!

10 myths about entering Middle School

As NJ schools begin to start a new year, many 6th graders (and parents of 6th graders) are starting to get the sweats and are losing sleep. Really, it’s not that bad. Take a glance at this PowerPoint — lots of simple, practical info on it.

Timely Tips for Students

Timely Tips for Students

I can’t believe it’s August already!  While we continue to savor the sunny fun days of summer, parents can also begin to slowly build their children back up to organized routine and begin implementing some time management at home.  The link above from Scholastic is a great article with some simple tips to help middle school students (and their parents) to help get started.  It’s worth a glance…or read 😉