Author Archives: Tsivya Fox

What Makes a GREAT Principal?

What Makes a Great School Principal?
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Depositphotos 37444255 original 300x199 What Makes a GREAT Principal?

We might not be clear about what makes a great principal but we sure know when we don’t have one! Whether you are a principal, teacher or part of the school staff, here are some key points everyone wants to have in their principal.

A people person - A good principal takes the time to get to know all the staff under his care. Support staff, such as maintenance crew and cafeteria personnel, are as important as the teachers. Know that a successful school is made up of a lot of people all doing their job to the best of their capacity. A good principal shows appreciation for everyone who keeps things running smoothly. When the principal respects them, they respect the principal-a crucial aspect of a successful school. 

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Should There Be Upheaval Over the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic?

Saying The Pledge Of Allegiance in Schools

Depositphotos 7651210 xs 300x200 Should There Be Upheaval Over the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic?Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York made headlines recently for their celebration of National Foreign Language week. Inaugurated in 1957 by the Alpha Mu Gammar Honor Society to help make students aware of how vital foreign language study is, schools are free to choose various activities which expose students to foreign languages.

Though Spanish and French are usually the main languages explored, Italian and German are sometimes included as well. However, as the U. S. melting pot expands its horizons, exposure to more languages seems appropriate.

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Does ADHD Exist?

Does ADHD Exist?

Depositphotos 23269746 s 300x300 Does ADHD Exist?Anyone who has been around children (and even some adults) and certainly those of us who have been in a classroom, have experienced someone diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, in the US today, 1 in 10 male children are being medicated for the disorder and one in eight children in school are now said to suffer from some sort of mental disorder! The New York Times recently reported that from 2008 to 2012 the number of adults taking medications for ADHD increased by 53% and that among young American adults, it nearly doubled.

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Bringing the Bible Back to Public School-Part 3

Two Young Men Sitting On Public School Steps Discussing The Bible

Depositphotos 31717905 s 300x199 Bringing the Bible Back to Public School Part 3In our first blog about Bibles in public schools, we discussed the history of the concept of “separation of church and state” and the extreme differences in understanding where this idea comes from and how schools follow this edict. In our second blog on the subject, we asked: Can the Bible as literature be taught without affecting religious sensibilities? Can one truly present the Bible without imparting some of our own beliefs into the process?


Now, we will explore how those who want the Bible in our public schools feel this issue should be handled.

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Bringing the Bible Back in Public School-Part 2

Bible Back In Public Schools?

Depositphotos 11637662 s 199x300 Bringing the Bible Back in Public School Part 2Last week, we discussed the history of the concept of “separation of church and state”. We noted extremely different degrees of religious tolerance in school systems. Some public schools consider the Bible as contraband while others are actually distributing them on school grounds.


Similar to last week’s story about the Bartow County, Georgia school district being sued for allowing Bibles to be distributed in their schools, Orange County, Florida is now up against a similar fight.

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Bringing the Bible Back in Public Schools-Part I

Bible in Public Schools

Depositphotos 11476444 s 200x300 Bringing the Bible Back in Public Schools Part IThe average citizen, school superintendant or teacher knows that in the United States of America there is something referred to as the “separation of church and state”. Where did this come from? What does it mean? And, how is it affecting us today?


The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Rotting to the Core – Common Core Standards

Where are Common Core Standards Taking Education?


Depositphotos 61521475 s 300x300 Rotting to the Core   Common Core StandardsIn June 2014, I wrote Let’s Improve Reading…Again which touched upon the topic of the Common Core standards not achieving its goals of improving the math and reading scores of our students. Since that time, many parents have decided that home-schooling is a better choice than submitting their children to the Common Core standards.


Parents are stating many reasons for opting out of public school for their children. Some believe that the Common Core is pushing a left –wing political agenda since it is a Washington backed curriculum. Others feel that parental input has been denied in favor of the goals set by the creators of the Common Core. Additionally, it has become clear to many that the quality and content of the Common Core standards are aimed at theoretically preparing students for the workforce instead of giving them a well-rounded, superior education.

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The Call on Cell Phone Policies in Schools – Part 2

Students Text Messaging in School - Cell Phone Policies in Schools
Last week’s blog discussed the facts that 1. Mobile devices seem to be here to stay. 2. They are addictive for young and old alike. 3. They cause serious distraction and social interaction challenges. 4. They increase bullying. Before diving into the various cell phone policies in schools which schools can take towards mobile devices, I’d like to further discuss the addiction factor. A 2011 study found that removing a Smartphone from a high-user for 24 hours resulted in both physical and mental withdrawal symptoms such as fidgeting, feelings of isolation and anxiety.

The Call on Cell Phone Policies in Schools – Part I

Cell Phones in

Depositphotos 48453755 s 300x199 The Call on Cell Phone Policies in Schools    Part IWe’ve all done it or experienced it. You are sharing something deeply personal with a friend when their phone rings. “Oh, sorry. I’ll just be a minute.” they say, leaving you wondering just how deep this relationship really is. A couple is out for a romantic dinner ‘together’ and…both are on their cell phones. You’re at a funeral when…RING/BUZZ/DING goes off and, even worse, the person answers their phone and starts a conversation! And, let us not forget that driving has now become like an obstacle course with trying to avoid swerving cars as they text and drive or with pedestrians who never look up from their phones. The examples are endless.

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Teaching Current Events in a Turbulent World

Globe with newspapers for teaching current events

Depositphotos 12381638 s 300x300 Teaching Current Events in a Turbulent WorldWhen I was a student, current events was a standard part of the yearly curriculum. Though I remember few creative uses for the day’s newspaper cutouts, it did force us to be somewhat more knowledgeable of local and world events.


Then, in the mid-1990’s, the President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal became front page news. Day after day, more and more explicit and sensational details emerged about what went on between them. Newspapers went from being a must in every household to a serious decency problem for people who had children in their homes. I know many people who felt that they could no longer have newspapers laying around for fear that their children would learn all too quickly the details of adulthood.

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Create A Successful Learning Space!

Infographic - Using Classroom Space
Researchers have recently offered helpful insights on maximizing success in learning by creating an appropriate learning space. It’s not all about the teaching. There is plenty to be said about the best usage of classroom space.

Breaking Down School Budgets

Making a School Budget

Depositphotos 8318209 s 300x199 Breaking Down School BudgetsMany administrators find the creation and maintaining of school budgets a great challenge. Similar to household finances, one must not only honestly evaluate needs but also have a clear idea of where money is being spent and how to cut back or even increase expenditures where necessary.


Although budget requirements vary from district to district and even state to state, there are some broad categories which should be taken into account when creating  school budgets.


Here are some of the main areas to consider:

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The School Budget Challenge

School Budget Challenges

Depositphotos 31362337 s 288x300 The School Budget ChallengeMost of us have experienced the cutting of school funds along with the demand for greater student success. How can we best meet these challenges? Firstly, it is crucial to know how much money is actually being spent. For the purposes of this blog, we will focus just on the classroom.


Do you know how much that AP math course costs? What about music lessons or remedial English? Must some classes remain small while others can be increased in size? How can one evaluate the value of their school dollars?

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Drama Free Standardized Testing

Student taking a standardized test

Depositphotos 8851059 s 233x300 Drama Free Standardized TestingWith the drop in academic achievements and the increase in standardized testing, students sliding through their education hopefully have become a thing of the past. Part of the teacher’s (as well as parents) job is now to prepare their children not only in subject matter but also to emotionally withstand the pressures that can come with mandatory state testing.


There have recently been some interesting findings regarding test taking. The journal Science just published a study showing that tests are not just for assessment but also actually help people learn and retain information. In fact, 50% more information was recalled a week after a test was given on a read passage than with students who engaged in “concept mapping”(arranging information in a diagram).

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Holiday Celebrations in Schools

Celebrating Holidays in School

Depositphotos 14914479 s 300x225 Holiday Celebrations in SchoolsWhen I went to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukah and Valentine’s Day were the predominant school holidays. Most teachers had their standard box-of-goodies to celebrate each of these special calendar days. Not much thought was put into “inclusion”, “diversity” or “offending someone”. Today, we need to be more conscience of how we approach holidays. Our student population, varying cultures, and sensitivities have changed dramatically. One size no longer fits all.

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