Jan Iwase

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Effective School Leaders

This is a critical time to be a school leader. So much has changed in our world in the last few months, and leaders have had to adapt. These are perhaps the most challenging time for our nation’s educators;  Covid-19 has disrupted our school systems for six months and counting. Therefore, an effective school leader…

Standardized Testing during a Pandemic?

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced that schools would be not be granted waivers from annual high-stakes testing although states and school districts rail against that decision. DeVos has said it’s part of the agreement of the Every Student Succeeds Act and schools need to comply. Some members of Congress are saying that tests…

Virtual Learning Challenges

 When the pandemic first started and we were hunkered down at home, my tennis lessons were cancelled. My coach asked if I wanted to purchase a license for a virtual tennis site where I could watch videos to learn from instructors and practice drills on my own at home. It sounded like a good idea,…

Leadership in Challenging Times

 Those who know me are aware that politics is part of my personal life. My parents taught us kids about the importance of voting, and we saw it as a civic responsibility. We helped candidates doing things like knocking on doors and dropping off brochures at houses or helping at coffee hours. After I got…

Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone

With this pandemic still raging, I’ve been observing from the sidelines as the public weighs in on the safety of opening schools and as educators prepare for the new school year. I empathize with my fellow educators who are navigating uncharted waters that could change at any time. It is during these uncertain times when…

Empathy and a Book Worth Re-Reading

I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy recently. Empathy is so crucial especially for someone in a leadership position. We cannot know exactly what someone else is thinking or feeling, but we can try to understand, to listen, and to empathize without being condescending. It is said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a “blue…

Choices, Choices

I know that I appreciate having choices, and as a teacher, I found that providing choices to my students was an effective way of engaging them in their own learning. Rather than giving everyone the same assignment at the same time, students could choose from an array of activities that were designed to address skills…

What Should Schools Be Teaching in These Turbulent Times?

As a retired school principal, I don’t have the worries right now that many school leaders are facing. Yet, I am very concerned as I read comments on social media as well as articles about schools opening for the next school year. Teachers and parents want to know what the plan is, and so far,…

Conditions for Growth – A Metaphor

I posted this photo on Facebook with this caption: Last year we didn’t have as many white gingers blooming so Randy and I worked to get them growing again. I cleared off the old stalks that had died and Randy fertilized and watered more often. This year, the gingers are taller and stronger. The blossoms…

Just What I Needed ❤️

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote my last blog post. It’s not because I didn’t try; I’ve started and restarted one, but I just can’t seem to get it done. When I started blogging, I made it my goal to be positive even when the situation wasn’t what I hoped especially when writing…