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Teacher Feature



    It's about time you got to know all of our wonderful VIVA Teachers. Every few weeks we'll highlight an outstanding teacher, share their story and feature their upcoming projects. Want to be a Read More »

What Teachers Are Saying

Because of the emphasis on stakeholder feedback, both of my principals have done staff surveys for feedback on their performance. I also gained skills in online collaboration and had real-life writing examples to use with students. — Beth Hillerns, Teacher, Minnesota: 360 Degrees of Leadership Principal Evaluation

Teacher Blog Posts


Parents Beware! Of Unnecessary, Invalid and Unreliable Test Scores

By Judy Smizik Are all of the tests our children taking at school necessary? Are the results valid and reliable? Should our kindergartners be assessed on reading skills? Our tests today reflect the Common Core State Standards, but are the standards developmentally appropriate? These are questions parents need to ponder when reviewing their children’s test […]


Let’s Fix Inequality in Public Education

By Allan Fluharty A central tenant of education is to prepare students to participate in a democratic society. We want them to value a diversity of thought and culture, as well as a commitment to equity and justice. Unfortunately, I do not see equality and justice in public education in Illinois on several levels. Families […]


Design for Safety

By Mark Anderson We talk a lot about the physical design of schools on this blog, as we know that the physical environment can have a great impact on learning. In this article on CNN from Paul Caron from last year on designing schools for safety in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, here’s some principles of […]

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Current Events & Policy

VIVA Teacher Speaks Out on Chicago Teachers Union’s Common Core Vote

Freeda Pirillis, a first grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools, was a member of the very first VIVA Idea Exchange, Voices from the Classroom. For the last three years, she has been working with the Chicago Teachers Union to develop Common Core curricula. As she describes in this story on Chicago Public Radio, she was […]

Idea Exchange Updates



Actions Speak Louder

By Jennifer Reinhardt After reading Rick Hess’ recent blog post “10 School Reform Phrases That Should Trigger Your BS Detector,” I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity versus jargon and what exactly we mean when we say “teacher leadership” or “teacher voice” within our own organization. How do we distinguish ourselves from the “sugarplum visions fueled […]

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