Tony Sinanis's Blog (20)

Dr. King: We Can Do This Together

Dear Dr. King,



About a year ago I wrote you a letter asking that you begin a conversation about the current landscape of public education…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on October 28, 2013 at 7:39am — No Comments

Twitter: Starting Guide

Over the last several weeks I have had several opportunities to engage with other educators who are relative tech novices about the power of Social Media - specifically how Twitter has changed my world! Twitter has allowed me to personalize my professional development; Twitter has helped me establish connections (create a PLN -…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on July 28, 2013 at 9:16am — No Comments

Dear Arne Duncan

Dear Arne Duncan,



I hope this letter finds you doing well and that you are enjoying the start of summer! I am writing to you because I am…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on July 15, 2013 at 3:27pm — 1 Comment

Safe Haven

Safe havens - this is what every school needs to be for children! When children feel safe, they feel confident; and when children feel confident, they feel good; and when children feel good, their brains release endorphins; and when the brain releases endorphins our children are primed for learning!

Regardless of what curriculum, standards, resources or materials we use in our schools if our children don't feel safe, valued, respected and appreciated, they will have a very…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on July 5, 2013 at 10:53pm — No Comments

Principals Need PD Too

As I have started doing preliminary research for my dissertation I have discovered that high quality, relevant and sustainable Professional Development (PD) opportunities for principals (and building leaders in general) are limited. How is that possible? Principals are supposed to be visionaries! Principals are supposed to be transformational in their leadership! Principals are supposed to be responsible for the learning and growth for all those around…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on March 31, 2013 at 11:03pm — 1 Comment

Fight For Our Kids

When thinking about sound literacy instruction and the daily challenges that we face as educators, I cannot help but consider the significant divide that exists between what research tells us is developmentally appropriate for children versus what the state of New York (and many other states across the country) is telling us our children need to do to be considered college and career ready. …

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Added by Tony Sinanis on March 20, 2013 at 8:33pm — 1 Comment

What Happens When You Sneeze?

As an elementary classroom teacher (mostly 5th Grade), I was always worried about being out sick or attending a conference for a bunch of reasons - I wasn't sure if the sub would cover all the work, if the children would make good choices (i.e.- would they behave) and honestly, I always missed my kids. The feeling was usually mutual (depending on the class or time of year) and upon my return my kids would ask me to never be absent again because it wasn't…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on February 28, 2013 at 10:44pm — No Comments

If I Were Commissioner of Education

As I have been reflecting on my letter to Dr. John King, our esteemed Commissioner of Education here in New York State, I realize that I can no longer wait for a response as it has been over two months since I sent him the letter in the hopes that a conversation can begin about what is best for our students and school. Clearly, either he has not read it (I am…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on January 7, 2013 at 8:31am — 2 Comments

2012: Year That Changed The Game

I can hardly remember what my professional life (and personal life for that matter) was like a year ago... before I joined Twitter... before I started blogging... before I started my doctorate at Penn... before we were named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School... before I started being pushed so far out of comfort zone that being uncomfortable has become the new norm!

2012 has been an incredible year for me in terms of my professional development and growth as an educator, lead…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on January 2, 2013 at 8:20pm — 1 Comment

Dear Dr. John King

Dear Dr. John King,

As we close out the third month of this hectic and busy school year, I felt compelled to sit down and write you this letter on behalf of my son, my students, my colleagues, many parents and all of the dedicated and passionate educators throughout the great state of New York (and beyond). I know it has been almost a year and a half since you have taken over as Commissioner of Education in New York State and in that short time, you have brought about…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on November 29, 2012 at 9:23pm — 1 Comment

SLO: Squashed Learning Opportunities

New York State has recently required school districts to submit updated Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans, which are directly connected to the end of year evaluations for all teachers and building administrators. The plans, as described on the EngageNY site, are quite comprehensive and are intended to ensure that there is an effective…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on October 4, 2012 at 1:39pm — No Comments

Power of the Written Word - A Staff Newsletter is Important

After being appointed Assistant Principal of a local elementary school in the spring of 2005, one of my first purchases was the book What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker (if you are on Twitter, Todd is a MUST follow @ToddWhitaker). Although I wasn't a principal yet, I heard this book would offer some wonderful…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on September 27, 2012 at 12:30am — No Comments

Leader with Heart

From the moment our son, Paul, was born almost eight years ago, my goals as an educator began to evolve, grow and expand. I instantly wanted to do whatever I could to keep Paul safe, happy and fulfilled on every level. Initially it was difficult to see how this unconditional love for Paul would manifest itself in my classroom and shape me as an educator. However, six months later, after I began my first building administrative position, that parental love quickly molded me, impacted me and…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on August 9, 2012 at 11:19am — No Comments

Avoiding Auto Pilot

Have you ever gotten behind the steering wheel of your car and ended up somewhere without recalling much about the journey except where you started and ended? Do you ever go through a specific routine or experience (i.e. - getting ready for work in the morning) and before you know it you're done and ready to move on to the next thing without being able to recall everything you've done? I don't know about you, but that happens to me on a regular basis. I have a 25 minute ride to work that…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on May 22, 2012 at 10:26pm — No Comments

Assess and Coach NOT Test and Judge

Over the last several weeks, in light of all the standardized testing taking place in the state of New York, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the ideas of assessment and testing and how important they are in the world of public education. In New York State we have reached a point where our children are sitting for at least 6 days of standardized testing in grades 3, 4 and 5 in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. As if that weren't enough, the results from these tests…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on May 12, 2012 at 6:25am — No Comments

Test? Assessment? Neither!

Two weeks ago the children in grades 3, 4 and 5 in our school participated in the New York State English Language Arts Tests. These tests spanned a three day period and lasted somewhere between 90 and 180 minutes each day depending on the individual child and their specific needs. The tests, which have been administered in some way, shape or form for over a decade in NY state (Grade 4 students have been taking these tests since the late '90s), are given to assess how our students are…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on April 29, 2012 at 12:26pm — No Comments

Changing Education One Tweet at a Time

This evening I had the pleasure of participating in the weekly #PTChat facilitated by Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza). What does PTChat stand for? Where did this chat take place? How long did the chat last? What was discussed? Well, the answer is simple... everything took place in my own Twitterverse while sitting on my couch! The power of Twitter can best be described in one word - AWESOME! This social media/micro blogging site helps me to connect with like-minded educators to…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on April 22, 2012 at 7:24pm — No Comments

Isolation Island to Island of Instructional Leaders - Power of Twitter

It was late January and our family was preparing for our son's upcoming surgery (that's a whole other type of Isolation Island). Being that there was ample stress permeating our lives, both my wife and I took the opportunity to unwind with some reading each night after tucking the little guy in. I was finally catching up on some professional reading when I came across an issue of Scholastic Administrator. I was immediately intrigued by the cover that featured a man holding a phone in…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on April 14, 2012 at 9:12am — No Comments

Evaluating Teachers on Students' Standardized Test Scores

As instructional leaders we dedicate our days and nights to learning so that we can be empowered with the necessary information to make the decisions that are in the best interest of our children. The decisions are not always easy to make because dozens of variables must be considered in anticipating the outcome; many times decisions are made collaboratively to help promote and foster a joint vision and common goal;…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on April 12, 2012 at 7:23am — No Comments

Teachers, Not Programs, Have the Greatest Impact on Children

With the introduction of the Common Core Standards (CCS) and Teacher Evaluation System (APPR) there has recently been a lot of talk about the resources and materials our teachers are using in their classrooms. Many educators and instructional leaders are focused on making sure that the classrooms are filled with various programs, materials, etc. that are aligned to the rigors of the CCS (I hesitate to use the word rigor at this point). Furthermore, when looking at APPR and its…

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Added by Tony Sinanis on April 9, 2012 at 10:56am — No Comments

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