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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

Cascade Educational Consultants is an educational consulting firm committed to high-quality equitable teaching, learning and serving environments for all students to succeed in school and in life. Click here to learn more about our services...




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Leading to Reform: October 1, 2014

This week we focus on how states are changing the name of Common Core, how districts get around the ACT challenge for all kids, ways to be more creative and a quick fix on how to keep kids learning. Some great jobs as well.Common Core By Any Other NameAs the national debate over the Common Core K-12 academic standards rages on, most of the states that originally adopted them are standing by the standards,
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Leading to Reform: May 12

Welcome to welcome reform for the second Sunday in May. This week we look at the need for becoming a leader before you are one, Latinos gains in education, the plight of unions being influenced by teachers that need to get busy living, and innovation and the Silicon Valley. As always, we link to to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Watch for
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Leading to Reform: April 28

This week we examine Andy Rotherham’s take on Gifted Education. We also look at resilience in children, a teacher leader webinar, and principles for “followership” – in case you are finding people aren’t. As always we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Do People Really Know What Gifted Education is?This week,
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Leading to Reform: April 28

This week we examine Andy Rotherham’s take on Gifted Education. We also look at resilience in children, a teacher leader webinar, and principles for “followership” – in case you are finding people aren’t. As always we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Do People Really Know What Gifted Education is?This week,
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Leading to Reform: April 21

This week’s how to find some optimism coming out of the events of last week, dealing with email, the best and worst principals and a few trends in leadership. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.A Week for Grit and Optimism Last week was a new experience and a long, hard one leaving me glad it is behind us. Alan Borsuk
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Leading to Reform: April 14

This week’s LTR highlights a documentary “The Dream is Now,” the drumbeat about if school districts really matter anymore, if standardized tests are effective, and college access – what many don’t know about it these days. We also link array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.The Dream is Now – Fixing Immigration It is
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Leading to Reform: April 7

This week’s newsletter is back from spring break. All of us working with Leading to Reform are excited about the new web site and where it is going, stay tuned. This week’s letter highlights how to design work place satisfaction, Milwaukee’s ed reform, Wisconsin merit pay plans working, and characteristics of weak leaders As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning
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Leading to Reform: March 24

This week’s newsletter highlights leadership and Millenials, Larry Cuban’s thoughts on technology, teacher preparation in Milwaukee and a reminder about leadership and collaboration. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Leading to Reform will be taking some time for Easter with the next issue coming out on our new
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Leading to Reform: March 17

This week’s newsletter highlights shared purpose, gains for kids in KIPP Schools, young American’s and technology plus 10 tips on school climate and another reason to pay attention to The Whole Child Initiative. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Most now forwarded by readers. Purpose is Good. Shared Purpose
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Leading to Reform: March 10

This week’s newsletter highlights that innovation at the beginning looks different, opening up principal preparation, identifying good and bad teachers, and minimizing any career regrets. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform, most of those links are now forwarded by readers. The Front of Innovation is DifferentInnovation
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Leading to Reform: March 3

Leading to Reform’s back office back from his break from the midwestern winter. A regular blog and web site – coming soon. This week’s newsletter highlights things successful leaders do on weekends, revising the SAT to catch up with the ACT, civic mission of schools, shifting from management to leadership. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological
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Leading to Reform: February 10

This week’s letter highlights that leadership helps us think differently about public education, that youth are more optimistic than many, data on second generation immigrants, becoming informed about vouchers, and hope for all us that may fall between introverts and extroverts. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. What
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Leading to Reform: February 3

This Week’s letter highlights that Leadership is about getting results, The Otis Redding School of Management, how reform and progress in education reform being driven by the executive branch. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Most now forwarded by readers. 7 Reasons a Positive Leader Gets ResultsIf you were given four
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Leading to Reform: January 27

This week’s letter highlights that leadership is more about collective action, a policy wish list, and Wisconsin moving forward in ed reform and leadership possibilities in Apple. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform, most of those are now forwarded by readers.Don’t Go it Alone: The Need for Collective ActionHow many
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Leading to Reform: January 20

This Week’s letter highlights A+ leaders who lead and manage, celebrity leadership, valuing teachers, and hiring practices that lead to success or failure. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform -- most of those links now come from reader suggestions.Making the Grade in Leadership and ManagementLeadership and management
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Leading to Reform: January 13

This Week’s letter highlights how important it is that leaders speak the truth, the increasing use of student data to determine tenure and pay and the predictability of organizations and nations. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Most now forwarded by readers. Stay in with us in 2013. A regular blog and web site –
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Leading to Reform: December 28

This week’s Leading to Reform ends 2012 with a look at the next generation of education leaders, a case study on losing creativity and what you need to know about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Keep Your Eyes on These 30 Millennials in Education At more than 78 million
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Leading to Reform: December 16

This week’s Leading to Reform highlights a year end reflective perspective 2012 comes to a close. We will look at reform work, game changing leadership, a ethical approach to RTI, prospects for more state’s increasing school funding and a new proposal to split up urban school districts. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership
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Leading to Reform: December 9

This Week’s letter highlights working with parents, the growing impact Common Core is having in schools, teacher collaboration and finding the right level of nice. As always, we to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Parents as Partners – Seek First to Understand, Rather than Be UnderstoodI hear many suburban school leaders and board
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Leading to Reform: December 2

This Week’s letter highlights Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed”, ways a teacher can improve in one day, getting enough sleep, school boards struggeling with minor changes, and new unionism. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Paul Tough’s Visit to Marquette University Tackles How Children SucceedThis
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Leading to Reform: November 18

This week we highlight the pending cuts in federal funding for public schools, impact of soft skills on college readiness, the importance of focusing on early reading and a more optimistic view on hiring for 2013 college graduates. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Note: We are taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday.
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Leading to Reform: November 11

This week’s post highlights the Presidential election and its impact on education reform, the unreported increase in homeschool in many districts, and a set of articles on blended learning. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.The Election and Education: Look Down (Ballot) Not Up Andy Rotherham, an education analyst (co-founder
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Leading to Reform: November 4

This week’s letter highlights an invitation to an Alverno Meeting about Schools That Defy the Odds on November 14, election news with an emphasis on education reform, how technology is changing how students learn — not for the better, and the case for growing senior leaders within the organization. As always, we link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum
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Leading to Reform: October 28

This Week’s letter highlights the importance of good elementary schools to turning around struggling high schools, a Madison Judge delaying the inevitable in Wisconsin, why leaders need to find their purpose and how Florida now leads education reform advocated by President Obama and Governor Romney. As always, we link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum
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Leading to Reform: October 21

This Week’s letter highlights a an article about why school reforms fall apart, the pending release of Wisconsin's school report cards, and new evidence that enrollment is down in the Milwaukee area and it is not due to fewer kids but rather families choosing virtual charter schools. As always, we link as always to an array of columns and articles spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership,
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Leading to Reform: October 14

This Week’s letter highlights how leadership is more a matter of subtraction rather than more, things Steve Jobs teaches us, finding time for poetry in a leader’s day, civic mission of schools, after school programing and what California can learn from the Chicago Public Schools drama. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and
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Leading to Reform: October 7

This Week’s letter highlights some uncovered Steve Jobs leadership antidotes, rules for success in school and life, a primer on Obama and Romney’s education promises, student engagement and how leaders can sustain and prevail. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Untold Steve Jobs StoriesMuch has been written about
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Leading to Reform: October 2

This Week’s letter highlights where people are getting their news, a great urban school in Milwaukee, that good leaders handle stress, and the unacceptable pace of educational reform. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.How Do You Get Your News? Depends on Where You LiveThe Pew Charitable Trust found that where you live
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Leading to Reform: September 24

This Week’s letter highlights that innovation means walking away from what is in place, the impact money will have on Wisconsin’s reforms, and if you want to understand education visit schools. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Innovation Means Walking AwayMoving from leading a school district to leadership development
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Leading to Reform: September 16

This week’s letter highlights the ongoing saga of wasted energy in Wisconsin,the Chicago teacher’s strike, a John Dewey perspective on higher education, how best to invest in technology to really impact student learning and traits of good bosses. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Learning as Freedom In March,
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Leading to Reform: Quarterback Coaching, Leading Creatives and the Achievement Gap

This week’s letter highlights the shifting target of the achievement gap, how good work finds good leaders, teaching NFL Quarterbacks, new pathways to teacher licensure in Wisconsin, and what it takes to lead creative people. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Good Work Finds Good LeadersSuccessful leaders don’t
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Leading to Reform: Quarterback Coaching, Leading Creatives and the Achievement Gap

This week’s letter highlights the shifting target of the achievement gap, how good work finds good leaders, teaching NFL Quarterbacks, new pathways to teacher licensure in Wisconsin, and what it takes to lead creative people. As always, we link to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform.Good Work Finds Good LeadersSuccessful leaders don’t
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Leading to Reform: Labor Day Edition

This week’s letter highlights similarities of the Democratic and Republican Education Platform, Learning to Read by third grade, and leadership and Labor Day. Also, I have included a follow-up from readers on the merit pay debate.We are smack-dab in the middle of Political Convention season in America. Education is emerging in both party’s platforms. Look at the platforms and decide for
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Leading to Reform

This week’s letter highlights the release of ACT Scores, the latest Gallop Poll on public opinion about America’s schools, and my annual favorite – the Beloit College Mindset. There is also a teaser on Merit Pay in Wisconsin – with a new push for merit pay in Wisconsin School Districts.The ACT Results are out and Wisconsin students remain among the tops in the nation on the
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Activating Inclusion

Inclusion and participation of youth with disabilities in school, employment, social, community, and leadership activities is vital to their future success and achievement of their life goals. Inclusive schools are higher achieving schools; places where young people develop the skills they need to live fulfilled adult lives. Read the full post at Special Olympics Project UNIFY.
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Continuing the Journey Of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Day will be marked on January 16. This national holiday gives us an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. His life symbolizes a time in history when out of confusion; mean spiritedness and conflict came a vision of better possibilities.This holiday is evolving into a day of community service. Working in service to others helps us to
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Grappling with Standardized Testing and No Child Left Behind

Across the country, public schools engage in the yearly ritual of standardized testing. There isn’t a U.S. household with school-age children that hasn’t experienced a standardized test.Most educational “experts” agree that testing is just one measure of how well students comprehend and apply knowledge. I think we can all agree that high standards are a worthy goal.However,
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An Inclusive Positive School Climate is a Good Thing

A positive inclusive school climate improves student achievement and a sense of belonging. This year, more than ever, school leaders need efficient, low cost and effective ways to boost school achievement. Paying attention and leading on a positive inclusive school climate is a strategy that pays off long term for youth, faculty and school districts – with stronger student learning achievement
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Do You Know of an Inclusive School?

School leaders realize that inclusive schools engage all children and youth, resulting in higher student achievement. That leads to success post high school and beyond. We are looking for inclusive schools.We have all seen schools that are struggling to be inclusive. Places where adults and youth and students with and without disabilities all seem disconnected. Places where there are clear differences
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Solutions For Student Engagement in Every School in the Long Run

The Federal Government has a new calculation for high school graduation rates. We want students to graduate but we want them to learn in school. In the short run, schools will try to raise their graduation rates. In the long run, perhaps we could endeavor to apply the solutions to engage all students so they run to school and are learning by:Youth Leadership – young people reflecting the range
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Growing Democracy in Wisconsin and Beyond

If you have been watching the news or following events on Twitter, you already know that my home state of Wisconsin has clearly been a hot bed of democracy in recent weeks. Regardless of your views of events in the Badger State, what is true is that we are witnesses to democracy in action. I say that democracy is a learned belief and must be practiced — so it gets stronger.Every educator in American
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Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Call to Service

Over the years, many may view the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the frame of civil rights. However, his life symbolizes the power of service and volunteering, not only to heal racial and civil rights issues, but also to look at a way of shared responsibility and improving the lives of all. Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams wrote that much of Dr. King’s service
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Youth Take the Lead in Greendale to Confront Bullying

Every district, school, and teacher leader knows about, and stops bullying when they see it. Those who look the other way need to develop the courage it takes to stand up for the rights of others and honor the dignity that everyone deserves. In Greendale, youth are taking the lead and are speaking out. Students are standing up for one another in a united effort to reduce and eliminate bullying in their
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College Success Can be Verified Rather Than Just Trusted

What if there was an easy to understand and clear set of educational benchmarks that could help determine whether a student is on track for success in post-secondary education? When I learned about the College Board College Readiness Benchmarks last summer, I knew right away, this was just such a tool.There are few that can argue that a high school diploma — on its own — is not enough for
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Teacher, Principal Leadership Provide a Path for Youth to Create a Good Life

Project Unify & Special Olympics Blaze a Pathway In July, I was fortunate to work with teacher leaders, volunteers, youth, and principals at the 2010 Special Olympic National Education Conference with the Special Olympics National Games in Nebraska sponsored by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. During the conference, Teacher and School Leaders plus volunteers – many were educators or community
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A Year End Message for Teacher Leaders

As the school year comes to a close, teacher leaders may reflect on their work - looking mighty for the positive, can-do attitude focused on the needs of youth and children in the Schools they serve. Each day, teacher leaders see their students grow academically and emotionally, both in and beyond the school setting. Students who are connected to their teachers learn more, and are more engaged and
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Balancing Leadership with Capacity

In a prior blog post (link) on building partnerships within the school and community the importance of leadership is vital to the development of these relationships. This post will explore the attributes of effective leaders and the environment that allows productive environment to develop.The adult leaders must balance the need to provide strong leadership with the need to disseminate authority and
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Building Teacher, Youth and Parent/Citizen Leadership Focused on Student Learning and Engagement in their School – So Student Learn More!

Recognizing leadership capacity and a disposition towards student learning, youth voice, and engagement in school is a primary responsibility of District and school leaders -- if they are focused on student learning and engaging youth with adults in the school setting -- so the students want to work harder and learn more. I believe District and school leaders will be more effective if they work with
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Teacher, School and District Leaders Rethink Schools for Social Justice for All Learners

The Greendale Schools’ leadership team is focused on developing leadership capacity and a disposition towards social justice in schools by expanding our knowledge, skills and disposition about how to create and develop more teacher and school leaders in the district.This winter, I have been reading "Leading for Social Justice – Transforming Schools for all Learners". The concepts in this
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MLK and Responsibility to Others

On the third Monday in January, we pause to recognize and honor the life and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.It is a day Americans can use to reflect on the struggles over discrimination, equal rights and segregation that helped make the world a better place for all of us today.Dr. Marvin McMickle recently said that we are remembering the suffering and sacrifices of another generation. Adding,
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Teacher Leaders Build Better Schools for Youth

Recently, a team of educators from the Greendale School District including teachers, the curriculum director, a building principal and I led a presentation on teacher leadership at a Learn and Serve Grant Program sponsored by Teri Dary of the Wisconsin Department of Public Education in Madison, Wisconsin. Underlying this work is the core belief that leadership is a learned skill. Understanding the
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