September 28, 2006





It’s hard to believe that time has passed by so fast.

The beginning of school has been a  blast.

There were bulletin boards to put up, lesson

plans to create, and rooms to decorate.  There

were faculty meetings, staff development meetings,

department meetings, and let’s not forget—team



Then the students came!  Hopefully, you’ve

connected with your students through team-

builders and created interesting lessons with the

end in mind. Yes, you are pretty exhausted.


But now is the time to reflect and put some

normalcy back in your schedule. Allow your work

day to be a work day. Formulate a plan to work

and spend some time on the weekends relaxing.

Include the time to relax  as part of your plan.

You will appreciate it and so will your students.



The First Six Weeks of School Already!




I was one of the recipients of the Teacher As A Researcher grant from Houston A+ Challenge. My inquiry group studied, “The Affect of Critical Friends Groups on Student Achievement.”


.My campus had multiple CFGs and each coach was a member of a school-wide inquiry group, as well as facilitating or co-facilitating their own CFG. I facilitated the inquiry group which met monthly (on a Saturday morning) to guide and support the work of all CFGs on campus.


Our time was spent engaging in teambuilding, sharing and discussing  articles, sharing the overview of their meetings, discussing next steps of their meetings, and reporting on their section of the grant.


You can find out more about our research on the NSRF website in the research section.

Text Box: Teacher As A Researcher




Articles for Study

1.Taking Time to Tend to the Good

              by Betty Bispling

2. Seventeen Reasons Why Football is Better     Than High School  by Herb Childress

3. Apples and CFGs in Harmony: A “Core”

            Curriculum by John Pieper

4.  Into the Light-Reflections from a New Coach by John Pieper

5. Serendipity by John Pieper

6. Through the Lens of a Critical Friend

      by Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick

Tim should be able to get you copies of these articles.


Save the Date


New Coach Follow-up Session #2

Saturday, October 28,2006

8:00 a.m.—12:00 noon

UH Hilton

Continental breakfast and parking provided


Coaching Facilitates Greatness is a weekly support newsletter from The Houston A+ Challenge for new CFG coaches. Questions and comments are welcome at 

Members of the Inquiry Group at Best Elementary

Text Box: First CFG Meeting

Sunset on the Cruise Vacation 2006





By now you should have had your first CFG meeting. How did it go? If it didn’t quite turn out like you expected, there are certain things you can to do to  make sure the second meeting is better.


Getting people to show up and continuing to show up can be a challenge. But how did you invite them?  I think that it is always special to send a formal paper invitation. I often use  Evite. (This an electronic invitation software that is easy to use and interactive.) You can make it cutesy  by picking different themes.  One benefit is that everyone can view the RSVP responses. (A small way of holding each other accountable.)  Evite will also send out reminders and thank you notes.


















Facilitation Tip #5

Find a special way to invite and thank your members for attending the CFG meetings.