Step Up For Students: Success Stories
Volume 3 Issue: 10                                                      May 2015

The Office of Student Learning is proud to spotlight St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando for their participation in the Success Partners program and the Educational Advisor Program. Watch this video to learn more about how St. Andrew is engaging their parents: 

Kristin E. Barker for ASCD Express April 2015

My first job was working as a lifeguard and swim instructor at a local pool. Sixteen years old with a whistle and an

attitude, I was ready to take on the world while simultaneously getting a great tan. I didn't know anything about effective communication, but I was well-versed on pool rules. No running. No chewing gum. No chewing gum while running. No diving in the shallow end. No horseplay. No fun. (Not really.) I had been trained to teach swimming, save lives, and watch for danger. As I climbed up into my chair on that first day, I couldn't begin to know how much I would learn about effective communication that would carry me through an entire career.


Read the article and see that these tips work in the classroom as well:

  • Use Your Whistle Sparingly
  • Get In the Water
  • Get Them to Trust You, Then Themselves
  • Set a Target, and Then Surpass It

Click here to read the full article


Seeing that I am the typical male, I finally agreed with my beautiful wife and made an appointment to see a doctor. 

That appointment got me thinking about how leaders of many private schools limp along with common ailments, when a short visit and some simple interventions would have spared some distress, and made a return to health an expedient matter.

 I think that many of our modern day schools have a virus that may be going undetected and that virus may be quietly killing the school. One of the definitions of a virus according to is "a corrupting influence on morals or the intellect." We even know that computer viruses are intent on damaging and shutting down systems or networks, and are often times self-replicating.

So, take a few minutes and look over the following symptoms and the accompanying treatments. See if one of these viruses is going undetected in your school.

Virus Present:    Admission fever

Symptoms:  Low level of student morale, chronic discipline problems, poor attitudes in students, being more concerned with paying the bills than with providing a quality atmosphere for a high level of education

Treatment: Consistently having high standards for all students in the areas of citizenship and behavior - without exception; not being afraid to tell a student and family that they need an education elsewhere

Virus Present:   Verbiage Disorder

Symptoms: Evidenced by parents and staff members not being able to control their speech; gossip, discontentment, lack of proper view of authority; extremely irritated rashes or outbreaks of disgruntlement when thinking they are just "sharing concerns"

Treatment: Verbalize regret for any past action, proper methods for correction, private conversations that stay private, and humble attitudes or respect for one another

 Virus Present: Botulism (bacteria caused by spoiling)

Symptoms: Evidenced by an abundance of conformity to beliefs or practices without a change in the heart; a smirk with a snarky attitude; mumbling under the breath though not willing to be courageous enough to voice opposition in a professional manner

Treatment: A complete re-examination of the school's driving mission-vision-core values-philosophy-goals-standards, and being willing to do hard things and maybe even let students or employees go; Can sometimes be treated with the installment of a transformational leader, even though leaders are human and can make mistakes

 Click here to let me know what you think. Scott Beck 


7 Ways To Help Kids Unplug From Technology

--by Launa Schweizer, syndicated from, Apr 14, 2015


You can do two things at once, but you can't focus effectively on two things at once.  - Gary Keller

Parents and teachers alike worry about the impact that constant multitasking is having on children's developing brains. While kids swim comfortably in the floods of information, the problem, according to neuroscientists, is that multitasking is changing our human brains as we prioritize juggling over digging deeply into thinking, relationships, and planning. { read more }


Be The Change

Play a "uni-tasking" game with a child -- doing one thing at a time very carefully and attentively.

3 Reasons Why Faculty Meetings Are a Waste of Time - Finding Common Ground

                                                            Education Week Blog  

There is never a more important time than now for school leaders to change the structure of their faculty meetings, but unfortunately most won't do it because it's too hard. They expect teachers to take risks but rarely practice what they preach. { read the complete blog}

Be The Change -
  • Offer to help your administrator develop the staff meeting agenda
  • Give your administrator honest (and compassionate) feedback about meeting structures
  • Ask your Success Partners coordinator for engagement strategies

Setting Good Students Up to Succeed


The Posse Foundation helps like-minded college-bound students band together, helping them deal with the transition which results in higher graduation rates.

Why do so many good students from middling high schools flame out in college? A MacArthur Genius Grant winner sees friends as key to the fix.

For promising students from subpar  or middling urban high schools, there are plenty of scholarships, grants and programs to gain access to elite colleges.

But once they've matriculated, there's not always a safety net in place: they might be unprepared for the mountains of work, or overwhelmed by the distance from home, or shocked by the money they see their peers spending (or the amount of alcohol they're drinking). With no familiar faces around, drop-out rates for these students run high.

Read more:

Did You Know?

Approximately half a million U.S. teachers either transfer to a new school or leave the profession each year. That attrition costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually, according to a report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.


Office of Student Learning Contacts  
Jeff, Erica, Meredith, Andrea, Carol, Lauren, Kaethe, Scott