Montesano School District

Excellence in Education

Montesano is a community where people learn,
grow and work together.  With high-quality
instruction, every student, regardless of race, class,
language, or disability, can succeed. 

Differentiating Instruction: It’s Not as Hard as You Think

When some teachers think of differentiation, they imagine having to create a different lesson for every student in the room. In this video, teacher and author Larry Ferlazzo explains that differentiating instruction is really about getting to know your students and making decisions, often in the moment, based on what they need. He offers some low-lift strategies he’s learned over the years for making activities accessible for students with all types of gifts and challenges.

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Successful Givers, Toxic Takers, and the Life We Spend at Work

The organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who many know from his New York Times columns, describes three orientations of which we are all capable: the givers, the takers, and the matchers. These influence whether organizations are joyful or toxic for human beings. 

If you listen to this content, think about what would happen in our school place instead of work place?

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3 Good Educational iPad Apps Are Free Today- Grab Them

3 Good Educational iPad Apps Are Free Today- Grab Them - August 2, 2014 Below are three excellent educational iPad apps that have gone free today and only for a limited period of time. You might be familiar with these apps for I have already included them in several of my previous posts. These apps are free at least in Canada and the United States so I am not sure if they are free in other parts of the world. I say this because in similar posts in the past where I feature such deals, I would always get emails from teachers in Europe telling me that the apps are not free there.

It Takes Expertise to Make Expertise

From “Leading for Instructional Improvement: How Successful Leaders Develop Teaching and Learning Expertise” Chapter 1
What do athletes, actors, musicians, doctors, scientists have in common? 

  • These people all represent professions that have clear and accepted standards for professional practice. There is shared understanding among all in their profession (and often outside their profession as well) about what constitutes quality performance.
  • All of these professionals have improved their given craft with public scrutiny and feedback. Not one of these professionals practices his or her craft in isolation. 
  • All of these professionals have had or continue to have extensive coaching. It is understood and accepted that the most powerful way to improve one’s craft is through coaching by someone with high expertise. 

There are two kinds of expertise involved in the idea that it takes expertise to make expertise.

  1. The first is learning expertise, which  "...involves the degree to which would-be experts continually attempt to refine their skills and attitudes toward learning-skills and attitudes that include practicing, self-monitoring, and finding ways to avoid plateaus and move to the next level"  Bransford and Schwarts (2008)
  2. Bransford and Schwartz call the second kind of expertise teaching expertise.  " involves a variety of forms including but not limited to coaching.  The key argument here is that simply being an expert in something does not guarantee that one is also good at teaching that expertise to others." Fink and Markholt  

Comprehensive teaching frameworks are not just for evaluation.

by Paul Mielke and Tony Frontier

In the classroom, effective teachers use rubrics not just as summative tools to determine students' grades, but also as exemplars that they apply across entire units to guide students' efforts to improve. The language of the rubrics becomes the language of the curriculum.

In the same way, both supervisors and teachers need to use comprehensive teaching frameworks not just for summative teacher evaluation, but rather to guide improvement throughout the school year. Used in this way, these frameworks can create a common language for practice, focusing teachers' collaborative efforts to identify and implement specific research-based instructional strategies and behaviors.

We need to transcend the common practice of making administrators the primary users of comprehensive teaching frameworks. At a minimum, teachers can use comprehensive frameworks to guide their daily practice—for example, to assist in lesson planning, prioritize strategies for whole-group instruction, or select alternative strategies for students who require more challenge or support.

Younger Students More Likely to Get A.D.H.D. Drugs

A new study of elementary and middle school students has found that those who are the youngest in their grades score worse on standardized tests than their older classmates and are more likely to be prescribed stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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eVal Management Tool?

eVAL is a web-based tool designed to manage the evaluation process. Supported by a Gates Foundation grant and developed in partnership with the Washington Education Association, Educational Service District 113, and OSPI, eVAL is:

  • A free resource for all Washington school districts
  • Includes each district’s chosen instructional and leadership framework, resources, and documents
  • Voluntary for all districts
  • Secure with limited access (physically and virtually) to its servers

F.A.Q.s - Question: Will counselors, psychologists, occupational and physical therapists be using the new evaluation system?


Counselors, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, occupational and physical therapists and other “non-classroom” staff will continue to use their current evaluation process and standards for now. SB 6696 did not include new provisions for evaluations of these staff categories. We will work with representatives from these groups to develop their evaluation system in the future. Other districts have done this, and we can build on their experience.


The Teacher/Principal Evaluation Pilot (TPEP) is a component of Senate Bills 6696 and 5895, broad education reform bills passed by the Washington State Legislature during the 2010 to 2012 sessions. The bills call for significant changes in principal and teacher evaluation systems, including the introduction of a four-level evaluation ranking (most school districts have two levels: satisfactory and unsatisfactory), and the use of an instructional/leadership framework.  

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