I was a classroom teacher for four years at Gaston Middle School in Gaston, NC where I taught 6th-8th grade remedial reading, 8th grade ELA, and coached track.  In 2000 I was a member of the first class of Fisher Fellows and founded (along with Tammi Sutton, Kimberly Travis,  and Michele Stallings) KIPP Gaston College Preparatory.

In 2009 our first class of students graduated and 100% of the graduating seniors earned two or more college acceptances.  My wife and I moved to Boston where I work with KIPP principals nationally and serve as a coach and developer at KIPP Academy Lynn.

I am a new dad so posts are sporadic and dependent on Tallulah’s sleep schedule.  This blog started, t0 paraphrase Annie Dillard, help me figure out what I think.

To save you the trouble of googling here are a few articles that hopefully illustrate that these posts are grounded in real experience in a real school that tried very hard to do right by kids, parents, and teachers and often succeeded:




3 Responses to “About”

  1. Dan Currie Says:

    Hi Caleb,

    I enjoyed what you had to say about the importance of following a brainstorming activity with an evaluative one. Right now I’m teaching about “Right is Right” from Lemov, and would love some resources for doing that.

    I am also coaching a new teacher and the Planning Conferences template is working very well. I especially like the fact that it requires teachers to throw their “pet activities” out the window and not to think in terms of “what will the Homework be?” but “how will the kids master the objective?” However, since I’m also a classroom teacher, I’m strapped for time during the day to have long meetings with my teachers. Any ideas on how to combat this?

    I’m also wondering if you know anything about unit organizer routines. I’m reading a lot about them. I don’t know the big deal.

    Dan Currie
    KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy

    • mrdolan Says:


      It’s thrilling to know there are lots of folks out there now trying planning conferences that we can learn from.

      The beautiful and terrible thing about planning conferences for me has been their depth. The teacher and I struggle with a sense of incompletion if after 45 minutes we have nailed down the aim and criteria for success but it seems that’s often how long it takes.

      One thing I have heard Jon Saphier suggest to make the conferences shorter is to have teachers bring either the materials (texts, videos, problems) and/or their aims to the meeting. He also suggests that since the planning conferences improve a teacher’s capacity to effectively plan the process should get shorter over time. Of course he also suggests that a full time coach manage something like 4-6 people and you are a full time teacher attempting to do this.

      I am currently tracking my time with this tool that Nate Smalley sent to me. http://www.officetime.net/ I am hoping to uncover enough waste that it will free up more time for observation and planning conferences. I am encouraging a few teachers I work with to do similar time inventories to discover where their time goes.

      Probably the answer about time is something the AA creed (accept the things you can not change). Planning conferences are going to be far less frequent than I want and I probably need to frame it that way to teachers or train more people on staff in how to conduct them.

      I have taught Right is Right based on some lessons of Dave’s. The materials are on KIPP share. I’ll email you as well. It’s a high impact move that we saw teachers immediately put to use. The RBT site actually has video of Meredith Moore from KIPP using Right is Right.

  2. antiedubba.com Says:


    I am a graduate student in the literacy specialist program at Teachers College and have taught at a KIPP school myself. I read a portion of your blog in a class last week and particularly loved the post about what makes data ‘data’ and how we use it. It’s refreshing to know someone in the charter world values the qualitative stuff!

    I also keep a blog on education, but it is tailored toward literacy and my experiences both as a teacher and a student, but always through the lens of a learner.

    It would be great if we could link our blogs so readers from each could link to the other’s blog straight from each site. I know WordPress has a fancy way of making this happen. My blog can be found at http://www.antiedubba.com.

    Let me know what you think.


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