TEACH Students HOW to Learn 

This has been sent to me by a dear colleague, Marie Sobers. Marie is the George Mason University Supervisor, Division of Special Education and Disability Research. Marie raises an interesting point. We do not know how students learn to learn.

Each year we enter classrooms armed with curriculum, pacing guides and other tools that are designed to drive instruction.  These tools are designed to assure that students learn what is deemed important in each content area.  To greatly increase the likelihood that students meet these goals and be better equipped to face learning needs in their future, we must teach them HOW to learn.  If we take the time to teach students HOW to approach learning by purposefully teaching the thinking and action processes necessary to fully achieve both the letter and spirit of the goals, the WHAT of the learning will quickly follow.  Arguably, the HOW is more important than the WHAT.  Once students learn HOW to learn, they will be able to transfer those skills to new learning opportunities that greet them each day.


A Milestone Reached

This website went “live” on December 15,2007 – almost 10 years ago. Today it hit a milestone. As of this morning over 500,000 people had paid a visit. Over 1/2 of them are “unique” – first time visitors.

The list of visitors reads like a list from the United Nations. Visitors have come from the United States and Canada -_expected. But from the developing world as well as the developed world. (The number three nation is Morocco.)  I would estimate that visitors have come about 130 nations.  The #1 topic searched is dropout prevention with #2 being alternative education.

This is really your website. Your comments and suggestions have driven the direction and topics.  Please continue to offer suggestions, comments (both positive as well as negative.)

I thank all of you for your support.

With sincere appreciation,



Teaching Force is Still White and Female

But there are signs that the nation’s teaching force is gradually growing more diverse. The survey used a nationally representative sample of 40,000 teachers. The results were the average teacher is:

  • White
  • Female
  • Age 42
  • Has 14 years experience
  • Makes $55,100 salary
  • And works 53 hours a week

Other results indicate:

  • The teaching force is growing and becoming more female.
  • Hispanic teacher population is growing
  • Charter teachers have less experience than traditional educators.
  • Enrollment in charters has increased more rapidly over the last 10 years.
  • Traditional teachers are more likely to have a master’s degree.
  • Traditional teachers have 14 years experience as opposed to charter teacher’s 10.



President Trump is Proposing a 15% Cut in Career and Technical Funding


Article on Increasing School Attendance Has Just Been Posted

I am honored to be a member of the Akribos Group. They have just posted my article on increasing School Attendance. You can find the article here or by visiting you can see their website and download additional articles from other members of the group.


Increasing School Attendance
By: Franklin Schargel, Akribos Professional Associate

Students who are not in school frequently do not learn. Did you know that missing just two days a month is equal to missing 10 percent of the school year and could lead to a student’s falling behind? In most states, that is defined as a habitual truant. A habitual truant refers to a child of compulsory school age who is absent without a legitimate excuse for five or more consecutive school days, seven or more school days in one month or twelve or more school days in a school year. Not only does this impact on a child, their parents but the school and the school district as well. Schools and their leaders are rated on their performance in part by the number of students who regularly attend. In some states, school funding is based on the number of students who attend regularly.  What can leaders do to encourage students to attend?

Read More



The Number of Children with ADHD

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “approximately 11 percent of children in the United States between the ages of 4 and 17 have received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (ADHD)

While parents must deal with this every day, teachers may have one or more ADHD students in their classes. My heart goes out to both.



Updating the 15 Effective Strategies to Solve Our School Dropout Problem

Dr. Jay Smink, the past executive director of the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University, the staff  at the National Dropout Prevention Center and I have been honored to have been recognized by the US Department of Education and the National Education Goals Panel as developing the ‘most effective strategies to solve our school dropout problem.’

As I explain at my workshops and in my books, the strategies which are data-driven and research-based are effective but their effectiveness is increased by having:

  • Visionary, empowering leadership
  • a school culture which supports student learning and is not toxic to students, parents and staff.
  • a high performing classroom.

At my workshops I explain that I am merely planting seeds that need to be watered and fertilized.

I have presented workshops and keynote addresses at National Conferences, in 14 foreign countries, in 49 states and at numerous school districts. If you wish to contact me call @ 505/480-6611 or at


To the people of Charlottesville Virginia

Those who have disrespected the American flag have never been handed a folded one.

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” Attributed to George Orwell


What happens when we have more people than jobs?

While it’s impossible to to predict what work will look like in the future, we do know that automation is wiping out middle class jobs. According The Week Magazine, (March 17, 2017) “robots are now replacing human workers faster than replacement jobs are being created.”  According to a 2015 Oxford University study, “about 47 percent of today’s jobs are vulnerable to automation. These include many white-collar professions like accounting and legal services.  Automation allows companies to make greater profits more efficiently. But what is the impact on workers?

As educators, what skills do we prepare students for? What jobs are the last to be automated? How do we protect them from the next great wave of automation?

There are some jobs that are less likely to be automated including teaching and senior care.  Schools can also provide retraining for people in current jobs.  



Powerful Tools to Protect Our Children’s Online Safety

The following article was written by Amy Williams who is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. @AmyKWilliams

As educators or parents, we actively seek opportunities to empower our children. We teach them how to tie their shoes, budget money and cross the street correctly. We spend hours teaching a child stranger danger and how to operate a moving vehicle. After all, it is our job to instill these life skills in the younger generations. Unfortunately, many of us might be overlooking one area that poses a very real threat to our children: technology.

Online Dangers Facing Our Children

Far too often, we don’t bat an eyelash before handing our charges digital devices that connect to the Internet or social media. We use it to enhance learning for assignments, make study time engaging, and even to connect with other students across the globe. Unfortunately, hidden among all the innocent swiping are some very serious dangers that can derail any child’s future.

Listed below are four common pitfalls many kids digitally stumble into:

Cyberbullying. This is probably of the most well-known dangers out there. In fact, within the last few years cyberbullying rates have tripled instead of going down. Data has been collected that show 87 percent of our kids have witnessed digital bullying. This percentage is up from 27 percent in 2013!

Phishing or hacking. Phishing often involves tricking users into clicking on viruses or sharing personal information that can lead to identity theft. The problem with these scams is how authentic many of them look. Often, they lure children in with the promise of discounted goods, scholarship applications, free games, or free ringtones which can be hard for kids (and even adults) to resist.

 Sexting. This common online behavior is now seen as a “normal” part of development today; just an upgraded version of “show me yours, I’ll show you mine”. Unfortunately, due to a child’s age, brain development, and outdated child predator laws, sexting can quickly spiral out of control leading to felony charges, extortion, or bullying.

 Online predators. It is estimated that there are about 500,000 predators logged online everyday scouring the Internet for new targets. The problem for our children is that the anonymity of the cyberworld is how predators can assume any persona from behind a keyboard. Often, they create fake profiles that mimic other teens. Then, predators contact kids based solely on their usernames, ages, and interests. Children often fall for these fake profiles and start the grooming process.

Empowering Children: Strategies for Online Protection

The above danger make it essential that we are teaching our children with ways to protect themselves online. The following 10 strategies can help empower our kids so they can safely navigate the Internet and enjoy the world waiting at their fingertips:

Create a technology contract. Technology contracts allow us to clearly outline all expectations and consequences. It helps children know what is exactly expected and how they should behave. It also gives adults a guide to responding to inappropriate conduct or behaviors. When done correctly, this contract can prevent a lot of heartache, arguments, and slammed doors.

Never share passwords. A lot of cyberbullying occurs when ex-friends take over a child’s accounts or steal sensitive photos. Avoid this from happening by guarding passwords.

Always double check the sender’s email address to make sure it matches the content of the email. If you have any questions or something looks out of place, contact that company using a number from your records and ask if they have any details regarding the offer or message.

It’s okay to “say no” to a sext request. If a person really cares about someone, they will respect their decision.

 Never show your face or distinguishing marks in a sext. Let’s face it, kids will push boundaries. Even though authorities can track phone numbers and IP addresses, kids can prevent bullying if there is no way to identify a person in a photo.

 Have them tell a parent or adult immediately if you see anything online that makes them uncomfortable.

 Document any bullying or threatening messages. This is critical, because bullying is defined by repeated behaviors. If help is needed, a child should have evidence it has happened frequently.

 Only “friend” people you know. Avoid friending friends of friends or strangers. Users should stick to the people we interact with on a regular basis.

 Avoid meeting people IRL (in real life). For teens and children, this is crucial. Make it a rule not to share addresses, school schedules, or meetings.

Be careful about oversharing personal information. Teens love selfies, but the backgrounds reveal a lot about their behaviors. Tell them to crop out identifying landmarks or shirts that might give clues to their physical whereabouts or personal lives.

What tips do YOU have for teaching children how to protect themselves online?


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