Traditions

Once a month, the Compelled Tribe of Ed Bloggers has a common theme. This month happens to be traditions as we are preparing for the holiday season. I thought long and hard on this one, because I realized that I don’t have as many family traditions as I wish I had.  As a child, I longed for a Thanksgiving and Christmas scene like I thought every child had. The image in my mind for the holidays looked like something from a Norman Rockwell picture.  With a dad who was often in the hospital for kidney disease and a mother who worked swing shifts at the hospital as a nurse many holidays, our family traditions often fell short from my ideal.  When I grew up, I was bound and determined to make that Norman Rockwell image a reality with my own family. However, a divorce and split custody of my children shattered that dream as well.  For many years, I lamented the fact that I would never have a normal holiday with my family. Later I realized, there is no such thing as a normal holiday and that the Norman Rockwell picture was just that…a picture of what people wished for.

I bring this up because many of our students may feel that their home situations are “different” and that no one else could understand their situation.  That’s where we step in as educators. Part of our job is to help create school traditions and routines that create a safe, secure, and fun environment for our students, especially during the holiday seasons.  More importantly, we need to help them realize that their family traditions or customs are okay and that there is not a perfect or correct way to celebrate the holidays. The older I get, the more I realize that I did have fun holiday traditions with my family.  We always ate a meal together (even if it wasn’t on the holiday) and we often watched a movie (usually Ben-Hur for Christmas). When I see old movies playing during the holidays, I often think of my dad and realize we had fun traditions after all.  Most importantly, I always felt loved and safe at home.  That’s a tradition that I have passed along to my children (even with juggling holiday schedules between two households).  So, I guess the most important tradition of all…being together and being happy as a family is a legacy that has been passed on from one generation to another.

As educators, our students may have many traditions or no traditions at all.  But we can help make traditions and memories here and we can certainly make sure they feel safe and loved while at school. The hugs you give, the smiles you share, and the words of encouragement you express may be the one thing they hold on to during their holiday season.  Let’s make sure that with all the traditions we have at school that kindness, patience, and empathy are woven into each of them and demonstrated to all students.

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“Traditions are our roots and a profile of who we are as individuals and who we are as a family.” – Lidia Bastianich

“I prefer to choose which traditions to keep and which to let go.” – Theodore Bikel

“Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories.” – Miller Williams

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Eric Sheninger                           Vicki Wilson

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  • Monday, December 17: Students of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM, AT Meeting (Jones) 2:35 PM, PTA Luncheon in the lounge
  • Tuesday, December 18: IEP (Tanner) 8:15 AM, Achievement Team (Stromberg) at 2:35 PM
  • Wednesday, December 19: Pizza Party with the Principal 12:10-1:00 PM in East Commons (Top Sellers from each classroom)
  • Thursday, December 20: Staff Breakfast 8:00 AM in the LMC
  • Friday, December 21: iReady Window 2 Closes, Carols in the gym 3:15 PM, Staff Celebration after school at B. L.

 

  • Monday, January 7: School Resumes

Iron Sharpens Iron

Recently, I attending the annual MEMSPA (Michigan Elementary & Middle School Principals Association) conference. While there, I had the chance to connect with over 500 educational leaders from across the state. The keynote speakers each gave a needed bit of wisdom. Sean Covey, our opening keynote, gave a presentation designed to improve our practice. MEMSPA executive director, Paul Liabenow, and chief deputy superintendent of MDE, Sheila Alles, gave an update of the state of education in Michigan and shared a vision of where we are going. Kim Campbell showed the importance of keeping a healthy sense of humor as educators and closing keynote speaker and author, Jimmy Casas, inspired us to lead courageously from the heart. In addition to the keynotes, there were many inspirational breakout presentations led by principals sharing out best practices and innovative ideas.

There is a saying that “Iron Sharpens Iron” meaning that we sharpen or improve ourselves when we associate with people who push us and encourage us to be the best we can be. For me, the MEMSPA conference is a perfect example of this. Here are some ways that I was “sharpened” through my time at the annual conference.

New Ideas: With each new session I attended and each new speaker I heard, I gained new ideas or insight for doing the same things in a slightly different way. When we fail to connect with others, we are limited to our own ideas and experiences. I’ll be the first to admit that most of my best ideas, weren’t my ideas! They were from mentors, authors, speakers, and colleagues that shared an idea that I adapted to my own practice or building. As many have said, “The smartest person in the room is the room“.

Challenge My Thinking: Some of my favorite educators and some of my best friends are those that challenge my thinking. As much as I love it when people agree with me or tell me I had a great idea, I gain more insight from those that stretch my thinking or challenge me. I’ll never forget the time that I was sharing out why an idea would not work, when a friend and colleague pointed out to me that I was focusing on barriers and not solutions. Jimmy Casas reminded us in his presentation that educational leaders should never be “the lid”, but should help find ways to make things happen at school!

Inspire: My “Why” in education is to inspire others. I want to inspire teachers to be the very best they can be, I want to inspire students to reach their full potential and I want to inspire all educators to find or reignite their passion for their calling in this noble profession that we share. To inspire others, I need to remain inspired myself. How do I do this? l read books from inspirational authors, I associate with friends who encourage me to be the best version of myself, and I attend conferences (like MEMSPA) to “fill my bucket” with inspiration.

Connect with the BEST: Spending several days with principals from across the state is energizing, but these are not just any principals. The principals who attend the conference are those that have chosen to improve their practice, take a risk and present in front of their peers, and are open to new ideas.  They are the movers and shakers in our profession. In my opinion, they are the best of the best! That’s who I want to learn from, interact with, and be like. Now there are many great educational leaders that do not or cannot attend the conference. But the ones who are there have made a conscious choice to learn, share, and improve! It has been said that we take on the traits of those we surround ourselves with. If that’s true, I’m glad to be surrounded by my MEMSPA colleagues!

Getting “sharpened” at the annual MEMSPA conference is only the first step. Once iron is sharpened it needs to be used. Now comes the next step of taking what I’ve learned and using the inspiration I’ve received and applying it to my own practices and sharing with our building team. I hope I can continue the process of iron sharpening iron and help ALL those I work with to find their inspiration and be their best!

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“Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you.” – John Wooden

“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but themselves.” – Colin Powell

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Jonathan Swegles                               Cyndi Nickel

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  • Monday, December 10: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, Achievement Team (Trantham) 2:35 PM, iReady Window 2 Opens, Santa Shop Opens
  • Tuesday, December 11: Achievement Team (Kaufman) 8:15 AM, District School Improvement Committee at Central Office 5:30-7:30 PM
  • Wednesday, December 12: School Improvement Team Meeting 8:15 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:30 PM, Lunch Monitor Meeting (voluntary) 2:35 PM, PTA Cookies with Santa in East Commons 6:00-8:00 PM
  • Thursday, December 13: Collaborative Learning Time 7:50-8:50 AM
  • Friday, December 14: Santa Shop Closes

 

  • Monday, December 17: Student of the Month Assembly (EMPATHY) 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, December 18: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, December 19: Pizza Party with the Principal 12:10-1:00 PM
  • Thursday, December 20: Staff Holiday Celebration in LMC 8:00 AM
  • Friday, December 21: iReady Window 2 Closes, Carols in the gym at 3:15 PM

A Friend

One of my favorite moments in the Superman cinematic universe is from the 1978 film by Richard Donner.  In the film, when Superman makes his dramatic first appearance rescuing Lois Lane, she asks the question, “Who are you?“. Now, he could have given a number of responses. This guy has quite the credential list and has a huge background story to tell. He’s been called The Man of Steel, The Man of Tomorrow, and The Last Son of Krypton.  Instead, his very simple response to the question, Who are you? is “A Friend.”

It’s interesting to me that his simple response was all she needed to hear. A friend implies that he is here to help, that she doesn’t need to be afraid, and that he cares. In fact, even his name is not given. His role and his actions were what was important. I think of how many times that we get caught up in titles, names, and credentials, when what’s really important is what we do and how we act. In this case, it was the role of “A friend”.

As educators, we all have names, credentials, and titles. Those may mean a lot when giving a presentation, going to a conference, or publishing a book, but our students aren’t interested in any of that. They want to know if we will be a guide, a mentor, and even a friend. All of these roles can be summed up in the word “Educator“. When I think of the best educators I’ve worked with, all these roles all apply. There’s power in the word educator, because it embodies all the best traits students look for and deserve. I hope that when students, staff and parents think of me, they will look past the titles and credentials and know that I am an educator who is here to serve and here to help.

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You’ll Believe A Man Can Fly

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“If I had to chose a superhero to be, I would be Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.” – Stephen Hawking

“What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and maturity to use that power wisely.” – Christopher Reeve

“One thing that I do know is that you are here for a reason!” – Jonathan Kent to young Clark

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Dorothy VanderJagt                           Paul Liabenow

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  • Monday, December 3: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Empathy/Kindness) 9:05, 3rd Grade to Lansing
  • Tuesday, December 4: Achievement Team 8:15 AM, Grades due in by 11:59 PM
  • Wednesday, December 5: PTA Board Meeting 2:30 PM, Jon at MEMSPA
  • Thursday, December 6: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM (Led by Kristen B), Jon at MEMSPA
  • Friday, December 7: Report Cards go home, Jon at MEMSPA

 

  • Monday, December 10: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, Santa Shop Opens, iReady Window 2 Begins
  • Tuesday, December 11: Achievement Team (Kaufman) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, December 12: School Improvement Team 8:15 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:30 PM, Santa Shop Evening Shopping with Santa & Mrs. Claus 6:00-8:00 PM
  • Thursday, December 13: CLT 7:50-8:50 AM 
  • Friday, December 14: PTA Skate Night at Riverside 6:00-8:00 PM

 

  • Monday, December 17: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, December 18: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, December 19: Pizza Party with the Principal (Top Fundraiser from each classroom) 12:10-1:00 PM in East Commons
  • Thursday, December 20: Staff X-Mas Celebration 8:00 AM in LMC (same format as last year)
  • Friday, December 21: iReady Window 2 Closes, Christmas Carols in the Gym 3:15 PM

Right Now

Each year during the Thanksgiving break, I write a post of gratitude. Often I reflect on the moments and people in my life that have helped shape who I am today. However, this year, I want to be completely in the moment and share out my gratitude for people and events that I’m grateful for right now.

Right now, my daughters are young adults that are busy with their high school activities, work, and friends. I’m thankful that on Thanksgiving morning, they took the time to wake up early and go with me into Detroit to serve with Meals on Wheels.

Right now, I’m exhausted but happy that my friend and fellow principal, Lawrence, took me to a rock concert last night as a thank you for serving as a mentor to him. I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to connect both at work and outside of work.

Right now, I’m reading the book “Uncommon Leadership” by Debbie McFalone. I’m thankful for the inspiring messages and straightforward advice the book gives and the same messages and example that are given by Debbie each time I see her.

Right now, I work in a district where I feel empowered as a leader and in a building where I feel joyful to come to school every day. Our jobs are never easy, but always worth it. I’m thankful that we support one another through tough times and celebrate the good times together.

Right now, I’m feeling good that I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds since the start of the school year. I’m thankful for those that have supported and encouraged me and I’m praying for willpower through the holiday season to stay active and healthy!

Right now, I’m writing a blog post on gratitude that I will share with our Buchanan staff and also with my friends in the Compelled Tribe of ed bloggers. I’m thankful for the team of educators that I work with each day and for the team of educators that I’m able to connect with in my Professional Learning Network online.

We all have wonderful memories that we cherish and experiences that we are thankful for. But take a moment to look around you and stop, smile, and share what is good in your life at this very moment. What are you grateful for right now?

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Image from “Right Now Magazine” in Australia

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

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Rick Wormeli                               Andrea Stringer

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  • Monday, November 26: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM, Pat Pepple recognized at the Board of Education Meeting for Support Staff Person of the Year! 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, November 27: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, November 28: Battle of the Books Meeting 8:20 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 29: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, All Admin Meeting 1:30 PM, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
  • Friday, November 30: Records Day (Optional Report Day)

 

  • Monday, December 3: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Empathy/Kindness) 9:05 AM, 3rd Grade to Lansing
  • Tuesday, December 4: Achievement Team 8:15 AM, Grades due by 11:59 PM
  • Wednesday, December 5: PTA Board Meeting 2:30 PM, Jon at MEMSPA conference
  • Thursday, December 6: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM (Led by Kristen B), Jon at MEMSPA Conference
  • Friday, December 7: Report Cards go home, Jon at MEMSPA Conference

 

  • Monday, December 10: Santa Shop Begins, iReady Window 2 Opens

Excellence not Perfection

Last summer, I heard international speaker, Dr. Adolph Brown, speak with a group of educators and he shared his vision of chasing excellence and not perfection. He demonstrated how perfection is an illusion and theoretically if we reached it, we would never have to improve again. In contrast, the pursuit of excellence is attainable and something that we should be engaged in.  Another statement that I heard this summer, from a teaching candidate was “You don’t have to be bad to want to get better“. This is how I want to approach the pursuit of excellence for myself and for our team.

Too often, educators get beaten down with testing statistics, public perception, and challenging parents. I don’t want to add to teachers’ plates by continually saying “Do better“. Yet at the same time, I don’t want us to ever settle for mediocrity.  We are better than that. So instead of chasing perfection, I prefer to pursue excellence.  I don’t believe anyone went into this profession for fame or fortune.  They came into it to change lives.  For that, we NEED to pursue excellence for ourselves, our school, and our students. As a principal, I need to balance that line of keeping spirits up and of pushing people to continually improve. That starts with me.  I need to model risk taking, continuous learning, and a positive attitude. It may start with me, but excellence doesn’t happen without the teachers who make the magic happen in their classrooms.

Teaching is hard work and it takes a special person to live the life of an educator. One of the things that makes our job so special is that it changes with each new student we receive, with each new idea we are exposed to, and with each new challenge we face. Teachers can’t afford to stand still and rest on their laurels, we have to continually grow and improve. Together we ALL need to let the illusion of perfection go and push ourselves to reach the excellence that comes to all educators who are willing to work for it.

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“Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.” – Ralph Marston

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – John W. Gardner

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Jon Harper                                        Amy Fast

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  • Monday, November 19: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 20: REED (Ringler) 8:30 AM
  • Wednesday, November 21 – Friday, November 23: Thanksgiving Break

 

  • Monday, November 26: Students of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM (GRIT), Recognition of Pat Pepple at the Board Meeting 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday, November 27: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, November 29: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
  • Friday, November 30: Records Day (Optional Report Day)

 

  • Monday, December 3: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, 3rd Grade to Lansing
  • Tuesday, December 4: Grades due by midnight
  • Friday, December 7: Report Cards go home

 

  • Monday, December 10: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, Santa Shop Opens in the East Commons, iReady Window 2 Opens
  • Wednesday, December 12: School Improvement Team 8:15 AM

The Problem with being Profound

The problem with being profound is that it rarely happens.  Even though I’ve been blogging for several years now, I still have feelings of “What will I say this week?” and worry about whether it’s poignant, relevant, and has some wit to it.  When I was first introduced to the idea of educational blogging by Ben Gilpin he warned the audience not to focus on being profound, but rather to keep plugging away at it.  Not every post will be riveting, and not every entry will be a grand slam.  However, we should keep at it and keep working on improving communication and the sharing of ideas.

As I thought about this (and my lack of an inspirational message), I thought about the challenges that teachers face in creating exciting and relevant lessons each and every day.  Research shows that the average teacher facilitates 900 lessons a year.  That’s a lot of time to be “on the spot” and engaging!  And while it’s great to have those magic moments when your lesson is awe inspiring and perhaps life changing for a child, many of them may simply be covering the curriculum.  They won’t all be grand slams, but a good teacher will do their best to make them all relevant, engaging, and meaningful. Teaching 900 lessons a year isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the dedicated, creative and constantly improving professionals that I believe most teachers are (or aspire to be).

So going back to my baseball analogy, I thought it was more important to get a lot of hits than the occasional grand slam. My original intent in creating this blog was to communicate with staff in a more dynamic way and to share some of my philosophy and experiences in an effort to make meaningful connections.  In the same way, teachers’ lessons aren’t all going to be grand slams, but if most are hits and the targeted objectives are covered in a meaningful and engaging way, it will lead to a winning scenario for our students.  Keep swinging away!!

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“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.” – Charles Bukowski

“The simplest questions are the most profound.” – Richard Bach

“The most profound statements are often said in silence.” – Lynn Johnson

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Mike Domagalski                         Shanna Spickard

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  • Monday, November 12: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 13: REED (Pisko) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, November 14: REED (Trantham) 8:15 AM, Lock Down Drill 2:00 PM, PTA Board Meeting 2:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 15: CLT 7:50-8:50 AM, Jon to ABC Negotiations 1:30 PM

 

  • Monday, November 19: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 20: REED (Ringler) 8:30 AM
  • Wednesday, November 21 – Friday, November 23: Thanksgiving Break!

 

  • Monday, November 26: Student of the Month Assembly (GRIT) 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 27: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, November 28: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM
  • Friday, November 29: Records Day (Optional Report Day)

Redemption for Clementi

A month or so ago, I wrote a blog post called All the Right Notes. In the post, I shared how the composer, Muzio Clementi, was a titan in his day and that he had even mentored Beethoven. But unlike Clementi, who played all the right notes in all the right places, Beethoven broke the rules and became a legend in his field. Some of the feedback I received on the post, was that I had discounted how great a composer Clementi was.  One person noted that every serious piano player was familiar with his work. Even my daughter let me know that I “really dissed the guy”. I started thinking that maybe I was looking at Clementi, the composer, through the wrong lens.

As an educator and former coach, my ultimate goal is that my students or athletes reach their full potential. I don’t want them to be as good as I am, but to surpass me. The more successful they are, the more successful I am. As educators, we always base our success on what our students do and not what we are doing. Looking through the lens of a mentor and teacher, Clementi was the true hero of the story. He provided the foundation and encouragement that allowed his student to reach incredible heights. We must never forget that behind every successful person is someone who taught, encouraged, and believed in them. Many times, that person is a teacher!

Blogging has always been a great way for me to organize my thoughts, share my beliefs, and hopefully inspire other educators. In this case, it also was a vehicle for me to get feedback that stretched my thinking and prompted me to look at things through a new lens. I still admire Beethoven for breaking the rules and not playing all the right notes, but I have a newfound admiration for Clementi who as a mentor and teacher inspired greatness in his student. That’s what all great educators do!

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“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry

“Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest is being a good teacher.” – Maggie Gallagher

“Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.” – Joyce Meyer

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Tony Sinanis                                 Joe Sanfelippo

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  • Monday, November 5: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM (GRIT)
  • Tuesday, November 6: Professional Development Day 8:00-11:00 & 12:30-3:30 PM
  • Wednesday, November 7: Furniture Committee 8:15 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 8: Staff Meeting with special guest speaker 8:05 AM, Barnes & Noble Book Fair 5:30-7:30 PM

 

  • Monday, November 12: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 13: REED (Pisko) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, November 14: REED (Trantham) 8:15 AM, Lock Down Drill 2:00 PM, PTA Board Meeting 2:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 15: Collaborative Learning Time 7:50-8:50 AM, Jon to ABC Negotiations 1:30 PM

 

  • Wednesday, November 21 – Friday, November 23: Thanksgiving Break

Own Your PD

Recently, I was talking with someone who isn’t an educator and she stopped me during one of my stories and asked what PD was? In the world of education, Professional Development is such an integral part of our school year, that we sometimes forget that other professions may not have ongoing training. My conversation was about how often I hear people say that the PD they receive is not relevant to what they need. Let’s face it, teachers have different areas of focus, different levels of experience, different strengths and weakness, and also different passions. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that district or school PD will meet the needs of all educators. That’s why I’m a strong proponent of taking control of one’s own education and professional development. Below are some ways to “own your PD!

Twitter: This is the quickest and easiest way to develop professionally. Yes, you can use it to post the great things your students are doing, but it’s also a wonderful way to connect with other educators from around the world and gain ideas and inspiration for your own classroom. It’s a wonderful cycle of connecting, learning, and sharing that makes everyone better…and it’s free!!

Blogging: Blogging is a powerful tool to help reflect on beliefs, share successes and failures, and explore new learning. It becomes even more powerful when we connect with others and read one another’s posts. It can  be validating to hear that others have had the same struggles and inspiring to hear about the successes and ideas of others…and it’s free!

ED Camp: This is something that really needs to be experienced to be understood. In a nutshell, ED Camps are the opposite of a traditional conference. The participants choose what is discussed and focused on and everyone’s expertise is showcased (if they wish). Participants list topics on a board at the beginning of the day and whether they would feel comfortable sharing out.  Participants then simply attend the sessions they are interested in. If a session is not what you expected or needed, you simply walk into a new session. The sessions are free flowing, interactive, and self-selected…and most ED Camps are free!

TED Talks: These popular videos that promote the ideas of “Technology, Entertainment, and Design” are easily accessible on YouTube and cover topics from the power of positivity, to brain research, to building relationships. TED Talks are short and sweet with high impact and exploring almost every topic an educator could wish….and it’s free!

Reading: Whether it’s an article, a blog post, or a book, educational reading is a surefire way to expand your thinking, challenge your beliefs, and inspire your heart. The more reading you do, the more you can discuss with others and share resources. I’ve always liked the idea of a professional book exchange area for teachers in schools. While the books in my office are always available to borrow, I think it may be time to start a teacher library.  More to come on that…..and that format is very inexpensive!

Conferences: As much as I love connecting with my online Professional Learning Network (PLN), I prefer meeting with people in person. I love to hear the stories from people as I look them in the face and see their expressions. I love the energy in the room when educators from all over the state or country are present. Conferences can be an expensive form of PD, but the experiences and relationships that develop can be life-changing!

We often talk about the importance of “Voice and Choice” for our students in the classroom. They are also important for Educators when it comes to PD. District and Building PD will always be a part of our experience as educators, but make sure that it is  the basement and not the ceiling of your professional learning. Technology has made connecting  with others easier than ever. That combined with a passion to learn and grow will help you to own your PD and take charge of your learning!

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“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for by ardor and diligence.” – Abigail Adams

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Rick Jetter                                    Rebecca Coda

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  • Monday, October 29: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, October 30: Achievement Team (Trantham) 8:15 AM, REED (Stromberg) 2:35 PM
  • Wednesday, October 31: Halloween Costume Parade Grades 1-4 at 3:15 PM
  • Thursday, November 1: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM
  • Friday, November 2: Staff Celebration 4:30 PM – ???

 

  • Monday, November 5: Celebrate Monday 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 6: Professional Development Day (No Students)
  • Wednesday, November 7: Furniture Committee 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, November 8: Staff Meeting with Special Guest Speaker 8:05 AM, Barnes & Noble Book Fair 6:00-8:00 PM

I Took my Band Off

This summer at the National Principals Conference, I had the opportunity to meet Jay Posick. I had been inspired by Jay for the past several years through social media and was excited to finally meet in person. During our time together, Jay gave me a wristband for the “Principals in Action” group. I’m a part of the group through social media and on Voxer along with principals across the country. The band was a nice souvenir from the conference and a reminder was written on the band to “Get out of the Office” and see the great things happening in classrooms.

I wore the band for the remainder of the summer and into the start of the school year. Then I was invited to a gathering with administrators. I’m probably known as the guy who gets excited about everything (Teaching like a pirate, Twitter chats, even my weekly blog). I’m sure it can be a bit much at times. I started thinking as I prepared to go to the event that I would get a few eye rolls for sporting my Principals in Action band. Another group and another thing I would be recommending to people. I just wanted to be another guy at the party, so I took my band off.

Once the band was off, it stayed off for quite a while. I thought about putting it back on, but then I felt like a fraud. Was I really a Principal in Action or just wearing a band to show that I had met with Ed Leaders at the conference? I certainly wasn’t living out the ideals of the group to be bold and courageous by taking my band off, for fear of a few eye rolls. I hesitated even writing this post, because it showed how easy it was to dampen my enthusiasm. Then I started thinking that it was less important that I took the band off and more important that I put the band back on.  So, that’s what I did!

As educators, it can be intimidating to stand against the status quo, to put ourselves out there, and to take risks. Being out front can often lead to eye rolls or chuckles from others and sometimes you may be like me and take your band off. That’s okay. What’s important is that you try each day to be your best, find your courage, and put your band back on!

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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

“Better to be a nerd than one of the herd!” – Mandy Hale

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Jay Posick                                 Lindsy Stumpenhorst

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  • Monday, October 22: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, IEP (Medellin) at Grant 2:45 PM, Intervention Cycle 1 Begins
  • Tuesday, October 23: IEP (Trantham) at Randolph 8:15 AM, REED (Stromberg) 2:35 PM
  • Wednesday, October 24: Furniture Committee 8:15 AM in the LMC
  • Thursday, October 25: Staff Meeting 8:05 in the LMC, Picture Retakes in the morning in East Commons, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
  • Friday, October 26: School Improvement Meeting 9:00 – 12:00 (Team subbed out for morning), Jon to ABC Negotiations 1:30-3:30 PM, Monster Mash Dash 6:00-8:00 PM (This is a combination of our Annual Fun Run & Boo Bash events)
  • Monday, October 29: Student of the Month Assembly (Responsibility) 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, October 30: Achievement Team (Trantham) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, October 31: Halloween Parade for grades 1-4 at 3:15 PM
  • Thursday, November 1: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM

Dr. Office vs Emergency Room

Once upon a time, people went to a family doctor. They got regular check ups and stopped into the office when they weren’t feeling well. The waiting room was pleasantly stocked with the latest magazines and comics and appointments were always mostly on time. The doctor knew their patients personally and followed up with them to make sure they were staying in good health.

Fast forward to the present day and many people don’t have a primary care physician. If they are sick, they drive to the nearest emergency room and wait their turn as patients with more urgent needs are attended to and where care is dependent on the level of trauma of the patients. It’s a hectic scenario and one that changes day by day.

Now, both of those scenarios are extremes and represent the idyllic picture we often have in our mind of the family practice and the fast paced world of the ER that is portrayed on television. When thinking of a school classroom, I think many people still have the mental image that would match the doctor’s office. Neat, tidy, and each person getting the attention they need in the order they arrived. The reality is that classrooms are more often like the emergency room. People with higher needs or trauma are often attended to first and the scenarios change day by day. Teachers aren’t family doctors anymore they are trauma informed first responders.

The amazing thing is that teachers make everyone feel like they are at the family doctor’s office, even though they may be working like they are in a triage unit. They make each child feel special, cared for, and meet the needs of ALL students whatever their needs. It may not feel like that to the teacher who feels like they just worked a shift in the ER, but they keep the tradition of educational excellence alive for each student, every year that they teach.  The old schoolhouse, just like the old family doctor’s office may be a thing of the past, but the spirit is still strong in every teacher that works in the modern classroom and our students are better because of them!

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“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Mistakes and pressure are invetibale; the secret to getting past them is to stay calm.” – Travis Bradberry

“I turn pressure into motivation to do my best.” – Ben Carson

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Spiri Howard                                   Brad Currie

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  • Monday, October 15: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, Reading Proficiency Reports go home with Students
  • Tuesday, October 16: Achievement Team (Kaufman) 8:15 AM, Fire Drill 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday, October 17: Students Dismissed at 12:10 PM, Parent-Teacher Conferences 1:00-4:00 PM & 5:00-8:00 PM
  • Thursday, October 18: No Staff Meeting, Students Dismissed at 12:10 PM, Parent-Teacher Conferences 1:00-4:00 PM & 5:00-8:00 PM
  • Monday, October 22: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, October 23: Achievement Team (Stromberg) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, October 24: Furniture Committee Meeting 8:15 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 PM
  • Thursday, October 25: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, Picture Retakes in East Commons. PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
  • Friday, October 26: Monster Mash Dash 6:00-8:00 PM
  • Wednesday, October 31: Halloween Costume Parade around the school 3:15 PM