≡ Areas of Focus

We are hoping that July and August find you away from your computer and bring you some beach, pool, hiking, or curled up in a chair with good reading materials time. Since “beach reading” should be on your agenda wherever you are, we list this month the current best selling books on the New York Times Best-Seller Lists (fiction and non-fiction) plus a few others that look interesting to us. 

When you are ready to turn your focus to planning for the 2021-2022 school year, the Just ASK 2021 Summer Reading List we are sharing with you in this month’ Mentoring Memo features the all-time most read issues of five Just ASK newsletters and briefs as well as links to dozens of other Just ASK web-based resources. You don’t want to miss this extraordinary library of our most popular newsletter issues… Read Now!


Facilitator's Handbook Why Didn't I Learn This in College? Book Workshops Workshop




Ten Success Stories in the Age of Covid-19

In this issue Bruce writes, “During these pressure-filled times I have found myself reading about the impact distance learning has had on our educators. It saddened me to realize how life has changed so dramatically for so many individuals. Many personal stories I read were heart-breaking and unsettling. I decided to contact some individuals to see how they were coping with teaching (and learning) responsibilities under these extraordinary circumstances. I especially wanted to know if there were things that they were doing that were working in terms of what they have learned, how their students were responding, and how current conditions were impacting their state of mind. A few of the thoughts they shared with me are listed below:

  • “I had to figure out some ways to lighten my work load. I was exhausted all the time.”
  • “I agonized over my inability to teach all the standards I was supposed to include in my lessons – until reality set it.”
  • “My lessons changed when I read the statement, ‘Whenever a child learns critical thinking, a conspiracy theory dies’.”
  • “Administrators are becoming mental health counselors and self-care resources for teachers.”

Read the latest issue to see how ten educators explain their thinking and actions they took. 

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How Leaders Think Matters More Than What They Do

The issue of EmpowerED 3.2.1 titled “How Leaders Think Matters More Than What They Do” is now available. Marcia writes “I’ve always been a leadership geek digging into and getting lost in research studies, dissertations, articles, books, and blogs both inside and outside of education. I’ve always believed that effective leadership is effective leadership regardless if you’re a company CEO or an educational leader. The similarities of the ASK construct (attitudes, skills, and knowledge) far outweigh the differences of the discipline.” She cites three books:

She further writes, “The common link among these and other experts is that great leaders are great learners and thinkers. They learn, grow, and change from evaluating their impact on others. That’s all about thinking more than it is about doing more.” Read now!

Access the archives and subscribe to EmpowerED 3.2.1


Planning and Teaching Mini-lessons

Heather writes, “Whether instruction is delivered in person, in a hybrid model, or remotely, it is important for our students is experience predictable structure with clear expectations and routines. When there are established structures, routines, and procedures in place, teachers can focus on teaching, assessing, and coaching students and students can spend their time in productive ways with sustained attention on reading writing, and thinking at higher levels. One way to do this is through carefully constructed and thoughtfully executed mini-lessons. ” Read this issue now!

Access the library of Making the Standards Come Alive!

Distance Learning Collection

The Just ASK Team has written new articles and updated some older ones as 2.0 versions to support our many colleagues who are tasked with creating positive and productive learning experiences from a distance and/or in hybrid or face-to-face environments that are ever evolving. A special thanks to Marcia Baldanza for sharing so many powerful stories from her work as a professor, K-12 educational leader, and mom and for providing us with dozens of amazing and helpful links. Feel free to share with colleagues near and far. 

Click here to access the collection





Just ASK uses a common language and concept system to provide a systemic approach to teaching, learning, and leading in the 21st century. Thousands of educators across the country are using our publications and products, attending our institutes, and participating in our onsite workshops. Their application of their learning has led to more students learning more, more of the time!