Author: Jess B Buller

Passionate about growing minds. Eager to change the world. Man of vision.
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Principal Shadows Student, Gets Schooled

A Day in the Life of an 8th Grader

I had just finished my morning coffee. Looking out of my office window, I saw AC entering the building with his sister. I popped up from my desk, met him at the door and asked, “Are you ready?”

“Yep,” he eagerly replied.

From there, we proceeded to breakfast in the cafeteria. I could tell he didn’t know quite what to think about the fact that his principal had dressed in ‘regular’ clothes and was planning to follow him around school the entire day. I wondered how students and teachers would react when they saw me in class.

To Reach the Child Who Hungers for Purpose

Digital vs. Analog

Many of my colleagues in the field believe Every Student Stem. By upbringing and by trade, I am not a programmer. A gamer-at-heart perhaps, but not a programmer. Yet I believe in that mantra as well.

It is silly for us to view today’s student as anything but a ‘STEM’ student. As a parent I often times find myself comparing my 4-year-old’s vocabulary to mine at his age. His frequent use of the terms profile and wi-fi astound me. When he fires up our XBOX 360, I must ask him to make sure he signed out of his brother’s profile and signed in with his own in order to avoid deleting anything.


My parents never said those kinds of things to me. We didn’t connect around Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo or King’s Quest on our Tandy 1000. I spent my childhood on a bridge between analog world and digital world – a bridge that my parents saw no use in crossing. A bridge that many saw no use in crossing.

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A View From Below

Ground Control to Major Tom

I am now in my sixteenth year at ground level in education. Although I always try to view things from above, the fact remains that I am knee-deep in the field. What the Marines might affectionately refer to as…well…you know.

10,000 feet above gives me a lot of perspective but below is where reality settles in. Above is where the problems are really visible. Below is where the problems are really really visible. Below is where you get to speak with the students and the teachers and the administrators and the parents and begin to see the problem from their perspective.

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Not What, Not How…but WHY

Change Must Start With The Need

Ask most students why they attend school and you will probably hear any of the following:

Because mom and dad make me.bored-child_2784027b

I like to hang out with my friends.

Being at home gets boring after awhile.

Ask most students if they would attend school if they didn’t have to and you would likely hear:


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The Gift of Allegory


Forty-nine versions of the film exist. Each one as newly interpretive as the next. In most of the films, Godzilla faces another creature. In the rest, beast vs. man.

I gave Elaine (yeah…Never Summer co-brain, Elaine) the 2014 Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe version of Godzilla for Christmas. At the time of this post she doesn’t know it yet, so…

If you have followed us on Twitter, you have noticed an occasional #Godzilla or #UnleashGodzilla. We use them to remind ourselves of our mission. Our mission to wreak havoc on EdWorld. Our mission to spew metaphorical fire and destroy the old to make way for the new…in a good way, of course. (We are very nice people)godzilla-2014-pic

The allegory continues…

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The New Scarlet Letter

Something’s Gotta Give

Educators abound spend 90% of their time prepping students for state exams, and the other half of their time is spent complaining about them (my apologies to Yogi Berra).

The main complaint from teachers (and parents, and some legislators, and…) is that state exams zap too much valuable instructional time. The time spent in testing sessions is draining to students and ultimately results in a loss of class time.

The bigger argument against the way we mass assess our students (and the one that goes largely unvoiced) is that it does relatively little to prepare students for life and their future ahead.