Whetstone Selected to DA Magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2016”

Whetstone Education has been recognized again for making a positive difference in education by K12 leaders who named it to District Administration magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2016.”

The winners were compiled from 2,100-plus nominations from the magazine’s readers over the past year. District Administration’s Readers’ Choice Top Products awards program informs superintendents and other senior school district leaders about products their colleagues around the country are using to help their districts excel in a variety of areas.

“It was inspiring to learn about the products being used in today’s schools and classrooms that are helping districts succeed,” says JD Solomon, District Administration’s editorial director. “All of our 2016 honorees should be very proud of this achievement.”

“Whetstone’s users — teachers, principals, district leaders — have played an integral role in shaping our technology,” says Libby Fischer, CEO of Whetstone Education “Being nominated for this award again underscores the success of these thought partnerships and the incredible work being done by users at Whetstone schools every day.”

To learn more about how Whetstone Education supports teacher growth email sales@whetstoneeducation.org or visit www.whetstoneeducation.com.

About District Administration
District Administration provides K12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendent Summits. For more information, visitwww.DistrictAdministration.com.

About Whetstone Education
Whetstone Education was founded in New Orleans in 2011 by educators looking for an efficient, streamlined way to manage teacher evaluation data and feedback. The platform allows school leaders to capture, organize, analyze, and share teacher data in an intuitive interface, making it easy to identify teacher trends, and take action to help teachers grow. www.whetstoneeducation.com

Digital Readiness Checklist

Many of our partners join Whetstone because they are tired of using multiple tools in their observation and coaching process, and want one place to do it all.

It’s hard to know if your district is ready to make the transition to an online system. We have created a five question checklist that will help you identify if now is the right time to transition to a digital solution.

Click here to download the Digital Readiness Checklist!

Want to learn more about Whetstone but are short on time?

Want to learn more about Whetstone but you’re short on time? Let us make it easy!

  • Check out our website – It’s a short intro to who we are and why leading schools like Uncommon Schools, YES Prep, KIPP, and Relay GSE all use Whetstone.
  • Request a video demo – We’ll send you a short video tour of Whetstone. No phone call required!
  • Schedule a 30 minute demo – Take a tour of Whetstone to see how the platform can help streamline your observation and coaching process.  
  • Try it for yourself – Like what you see? We will send you a link to the platform so you can see how easy and intuitive it is, and have your co-workers give their input.
  • Ready to say YES to Whetstone? Great! We’ll send you a contract and you’ll be on your way to using the platform this school year!

Find out how you can make the most of your coaching time!

Life Hacks for School Leaders: #5 – Stop Waiting in Line at the Airport

Leave policies at schools can be tough for people who live far from family and friends. Principal Ron Gubitz said that another time it’s tough to be a school leader is when “your friend is getting married and you want to travel on a Friday.”

While you may not be able to change your district’s vacation leave policy, there are lots of ways to be more efficient in airports, which translates to more time for you to do literally anything you want.

Step 1: Get TSA Pre-Check. You can save yourself 30-45 minutes (or more) spent in line at the airport by signing up for TSA Pre-Check, putting you on an earlier flight out that may not have been possible otherwise. It costs $85 and is good for 5 years. If you fly 5 times a year, you’ve just given yourself 750 more minutes to play with your kids, plan professional development, talk with students’ parents, or just take a little time to do some reading for pleasure.

Step 2: Check in for your flight online. If you’re not checking a bag, there is absolutely no reason to stand in line to check in at the airline counter. Almost every airline has an app where you can not only check in for your flight, but also get a digital ticket that doesn’t require you to print a paper copy.

Step 3: Gate-check your bags. This other airport hack may sound strange, but it has made the difference in whether or not I’ve caught a plane in time. If you are checking a bag for your flight, you don’t necessarily have to check it before you go through the TSA line. As long as nothing in your bag is prohibited in carry-ons, you can take that big bag through security and then check it at the gate. The gate agent might look at you funny, but you’re far less likely to miss your flight this way, and you’ve successfully avoided standing in a 100-person check-in line.

Connect with Whetstone at the Ed-Fi Summit

Whetstone will be attending the Ed-Fi Summit from Wednesday, Oct. 12 to Friday, Oct. 14 in Austin, TX. As a licensee of Ed-Fi Technology, Whetstone supports the push to “empower educators with the information they need to make better choices for their students.”

The Ed-Fi summit is a gathering of companies, organizations, and state and district leaders with an interest in making it easier to share data to give school leaders a complete picture of performance. Organizations that license the Ed-Fi technology can also integrate their data with the Ed-Fi dashboard which helps schools see all their data in one place.

If you are attending the Ed-Fi summit and would like to schedule a meeting with our CEO, please email allison@whetstoneeducation.com  

Life Hacks for School Leaders: #4 – Hire Someone to do a Low-leverage Task

Just because you can assemble furniture, doesn’t mean you have to. As a school leader or teacher, your time is much better spent on high-leverage tasks like analyzing student work to identify misconceptions than on putting together your latest purchase from IKEA.

IMAGINE: you’re seated comfortably at your couch, re-writing lesson plans to incorporate new questions to push students to think analytically. Across the room, someone else deftly assembles your new kitchen table.

It’s not a dream! There are a bunch of services and apps out there that solve this problem for you. Taskrabbit is one service available in many cities that gives you your own personal assistant and handyman/woman. Here are the six categories of help they offer:

  1. General Cleaning
  2. General Handyman
  3. Moving Help
  4. Delivery & Shopping
  5. Furniture Assembly
  6. Lift & Shift Furniture

Taskrabbit is competitively priced, so if you have the means, consider it. Don’t want to use Taskrabbit, here are a bunch of alternatives.

Life Hacks for School Leaders: #3 – Get Toilet Paper Delivered to Your Door

I asked principal Ron Gubitz for a list of errands that are hard to get done when you’re a school leader. His first reply to me was “EVERYTHING.” When he finally made a list, I was struck by this one: “Buying ANYTHING from a store ever.” This item struck me because there is such a simple answer: online shopping.

You can find ANYTHING online and have it shipped to you in a matter of days. At the Whetstone office, we’ve set up monthly Amazon shipments for staples like printer paper, toilet paper, and La Croix. If you can do it for the office, why not at home? Set up monthly Amazon deliveries for pantry staples like paper towels, aluminum foil, band-aids, and kleenex. Beyond the ease of having these items come right to your door (in two days if you have Amazon Prime!), keeping your cupboards stocked with auto-deliveries will shorten the length of your trips to the store when you absolutely have to go.

Life Hacks for School Leaders: #2 – Your Phone is also a Bank

If you haven’t yet switched to online banking, now is the time. If you are a school leader or teacher, your time is far too valuable to go out of your way to get to the bank and sit in your car waiting for the ATM. And, in 2016, there is almost no reason to go to an ATM! Most major banks now have phone apps that allow you to do pretty much anything you would do at an ATM — including depositing checks — from anywhere. Need cash? Get cash back the next time you’re at the grocery store or pharmacy and combine two errands into one.

In addition to replacing the ATM with your phone, save yourself even more time by setting up your recurring payments. Just do it. Sending a check to your landlord or mortgage company each month may not seem like a huge lift, but beyond writing the check, it requires you to keep checks, envelopes, and stamps stocked, and remember to send it. Teachers and school leaders have better things to do. If you set up recurring payments through your bank’s online platform (and almost all banks have one), you can pay every bill — rent, health care, electric, water, etc. — without even thinking about it. If you estimate that it takes about 5 minutes per bill to read the bill, write the check, address the envelope, and put it in the mail box , then you can give yourself back 20-30 minutes a month (add 30 minutes if you have to go to the store to get envelopes or stamps) to spend with your family or tie up loose ends at work. Why wouldn’t you give yourself this time back?

Whetstone to Attend the Utah Digital Teaching & Learning Bootcamps

Whetstone will be attending the Utah Digital Teaching & Learning Bootcamps from Monday, September 26 to Thursday, September 29.

This event supports the Utah Digital Teaching & Learning Grant Program and the goal of leveraging education technology to its full potential in the state. Attending the event are district leaders from across Utah supporting their schools by providing them with digital tools and resources to support their student and teacher-based performance goals.

We look forward to meeting these leaders and discussing how Whetstone can support their digital initiatives. If you are attending the bootcamp and want more information, please contact allison@whetstoneeducation.com.