Starr Sackstein Discusses Going Gradeless as a Teacher and School Leader — #FocusED

by | Feb 11, 2021 | 0 comments

This is Season 1, Episode 3 of FocusED, and it features guest, Starr Sackstein. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, provided as a professional development experience for Delaware teachers and leaders. Don’t miss what Starr says about going gradeless in a traditional grading environment…and so much more. Enjoy.

Starr Sackstein is the Author of Such Great Educational Leadership Books for Teachers and School Leaders

Starr Sackstein was a Teacher Center teacher and ELA teacher at Long Island City High School in New York. She also spent nine years at World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, New York, as a high school English and journalism teacher where her students ran the multimedia news outlet As a teacher, she completely got rid of grades, teaching students that learning isn’t about numbers, but about the development of skills and the ability to articulate growth.

Starr also has experience as the Director of Humanities (Business, English, Library, Reading, Social Studies, and World Languages) in West Hempstead, New York. It was from this experience that she wrote From Teacher to Leader: Finding Your Way as a First-Time Leader Without Losing Your Mind.

She is the author of many books (I’m not going to list them all). Here are a few of her titles: 

Teaching Mythology Exposed: Helping Teachers Create Visionary Classroom Perspective 

Blogging for Educators, Teaching Students to Self-Assess: How Do I Help Students Grow as Learners?

The Power of Questioning: Opening Up the World of Student Inquiry

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School

Hacking Homework: 10 Strategies That Inspire Learning Outside of the Classroom co-written with Connie Hamilton.

Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empower Students to be the Experts with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

From Teacher to Leader: Finding Your Way as a First-Time Leader without Losing Your Mind in 2019 (DBC). 

Assessing with Respect: Everyday Practices that Meet Students’ Social and Emotional Needs (ASCD), which just came out in March of 2021. 

Hacking Learning Centers in Grades 6-12: Teaching Choice and Providing Small Group Learning Opportunities in Content Rich Classes co-authored with Karen Terwilliger which is set to come out in 2021. 

At speaking engagements around the world, Starr speaks about blogging, journalism education, bringing your own device to school, and throwing out grades, which was also highlighted in a recent TEDx talk entitled “A Recovering Perfectionist’s Journey to Give up Grades.” In 2016, she was named one of ASCD’s Emerging Leaders.

In recent years, Starr has spoken internationally in Canada, Dubai, and South Korea on a variety of topics from assessment reform to technology-enhanced language instruction.She is now a full time consultant with the Core Collaborative, working with teams on assessment reform and bringing student voice to the front of all classroom learning. She is also the publisher with Mimi and Todd Press, helping other authors share their voices around making an impact for students such as Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation by Cobb and Krownapple. Most recently, Arrows: A Systems-Based Approach to School Leadership by Rosebrock and Henry.


Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next. 


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