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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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What's Alternative About Alternative Education?

A 2006 report by the American Institutes for Research cited a number of characteristics of effective alternative schools, supported by quantitative and qualitative data:Program philosophies emphasize that it is the educational approach rather than the individual student that needs to be changed to accommodate learning differences among at-risk students.Program administrators and staff subscribe to
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Thinking on the Right Side of the Brain

I just completed a professional development experience that took me further outside my comfort zone than I have ever dared to tread before. I learned how to draw. Being a teacher that had a difficult time drawing a recognizable model of the solar system for my class, it is easy to question my wisdom in selecting this course for my professional growth. As it turned out, I gained some unexpected new
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Public Engagement Through Teaching and Learning

We all stand to gain tremendous resources, expertise, and support from having a broader base of constituents working toward a shared vision of public schools as vibrant centers of learning which radiate a positive, safe, and caring environment within which all students thrive. Rather than relegating "outsiders" to the sidelines, schools need to nurture mutually beneficial relationships with parents,
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Labels Change When They Become Personal

I had an experience recently that has opened my eyes to an old perspective in unexpected ways. With the loss of Learn and Serve funding at the federal level comes the elimination of my position as the Service-Learning Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. As a result, I was informed at a recent meeting that I have been placed on “at-risk status.” While I was fully
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Embracing the Conversation

There is no shortage of hype and animated conversation surrounding the much-anticipated release of “Waiting for Superman.” While I’m not inclined to add to the hype, I feel compelled to comment on the reactions that I have observed over the course of many conversations over the past few weeks. It seems to me that two camps have emerged…those who are committed to defending the
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School Climate Matters

Significant bodies of work have established the importance of school climate in achieving our educational goals. A positive, safe, caring environment that fosters meaningful learning develops more successful students and productive citizens. The evidence of the impact school climate has on positive student outcomes is abundant. The Search Institute, for example, documents the following outcomes related
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Achieving Civic Outcomes

While school and district mission statements often include vague statements about the necessity of citizenship as a component of the educational process, the actual implementation of civic education is often lacking in how to do this effectively. If we are to move the concept of citizenship beyond voting, paying taxes, and obeying the laws, we need to explicitly state that the goal of education is
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High Quality Instruction Transforms

Recently I had the opportunity to present at the Wisconsin Promise Conference, which brings together educators from across the state to gain effective strategies for ensuring every child graduates. I began this interactive session by asking participants to explore the knowledge, skills, and dispositions our students will need in order to be active members of a global community in the 21st century.
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