Library of Just for the ASKing!

bruceJust for the ASKing! is a monthly e-newsletter that addresses the needs of all those who strive to be instructional leaders. Authored by Just ASK Senior Consultant, Bruce Oliver, each issue provides information that can provide immediate food for thought and serve as a resource in promoting professional learning in faculty meetings, collaborative teams, and coaching and supervisory sessions. The over 150 issues available in the library are organized into focus areas that are on your mind right now. Feel free to reproduce this e-newsletter for non-commercial use.

Bruce Oliver, the author of Just for the ASKing!, lives in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he was a teacher, a professional developer, and a highly acclaimed 16-year middle school principal. He is also the author of Points to Ponder and a co-author of Creating a Culture for LearningYour Guide to PLCs and More. In addition to his publications, Bruce has led workshops in several states including Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin and made presentations at multiple state and national conferences.


The 2021 Opening of School Checklist is aligned with the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL). My colleague Marcia Baldanza, an ASK Group author and assistant professor at Marymount University, wrote several issues of Professional Practices for Educational Leaders  focused on examining each of the 10 PSEL standards and providing powerful and practical implementation strategies. In preparing the 2021 Opening of School Checklist I reviewed her work so that I could include a notation indicating which PSEL standard is addressed by each entry.

What Do We Stop Doing, Keep Doing, and Start Doing?

At Just ASK, we hope to:
STOP ourselves and our colleagues from trying to return to “the way it was” and focus instead on creating a “new normal” aligned with the needs of 21st century learners
KEEP providing tantalizing tidbits and words of wisdom that help us all keep our eyes on the goals of student and staff learning and well being
START more collaborative endeavors, promote better use of technology (beyond worksheets), and work harder to convince all educators that the keys to deeper learning are student connection-making, application of their learning, and the social-emotional well being not only of students but of staff.

In this post Bruce writes, “A great deal has been written about how we should approach this school year. Our decisions range from “I never thought of doing it that way” to “I don’t want to make that mistake again.” It’s a whole new ball game. As we deliberate about what we will be doing in the future, it may be prudent to apply the “stop, keep, start” method by asking: What should I stop doing, what should I keep doing, and what should I start doing? To that end, in addition to the 2021 Opening of School Checklist, we provide in this post selected examples from those writings that we think are likely to provide you food for thought as you make your teaching and learning plans. Do not miss the great ideas provided by practitioners and researchers.


Just ASK Opening of School Checklist

The Just ASK Opening of School Checklist is by far the most popular issue of Just for the ASKing! This annual issue enumerates the actions that need to happen before students arrive for the first day of school and for the first weeks of school. Download and print this checklist to keep track of task completion.


Just ASK Closing of School Checklist

This annual checklist builds on the extraordinary popularity of our Opening of School Checklist. It provides a list of tasks that can help you end the school year on a positive note. 

2021 Special Edition Closing of School – Where Do We Go from Here? 


Just for the ASKing! Issues are filed in these Areas of Focus:


Instructional Leadership

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 Creating a Culture for Learning

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Best Practice in Instruction

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 Making Assessment a Learning Experience

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Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners

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