Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Saw Common Core in Action Yesterday! #savmp

Common Core Common Core Common's what we talk about at every staff meeting, every district office meeting, principal meeting and throughout the day. As I blogged about yesterday, our staff is totally pushing the envelope and rocking with technology and moving their classrooms forward!

Yesterday about mid-morning I saw yet another example of this in action. @MrsRocheJSE class went to @tbonebusch class for Music and brought their laptops (they're 1:1) with them. Mr. B was going to work on Tongue Twisters in music and had the students collaborating with him on a Google Doc (we're a Google Apps district as well!) they could all work on together.

The kids are always engaged during music.....hands down.....but yesterday absolutely blew my mind with how focused they were and the level of multi-tasking and Common Core that was going on. The teacher was using his SMART Board to project the Google Doc and the kids were collaborating and brainstorming in real-time with him. Obviously the power of Google Docs allows the students to continue their work back in class or at home. The teacher then recorded the students (increased fluency) with their Tongue Twisters (archived assessment) and can build upon those next time.

I have a principal coach that meets with me twice a month and Robert was actually with me yesterday during this class. I turned to him and said....."This is so fun and so Common Core!" There was a big smile across his face and he was nodding incessantly! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

True Power of Connecting #savmp #edcampmarin #northbaycue

The True Power of Connecting has been so evident for me lately and I wanted to blog/share! Taking over John Swett Elementary (@jseroadrunners - as Principal last year (where I was a student) has been such a rewarding experience in so many different aspects. Coming into a California Distinguished School and then moving the school forward seemed daunting and exciting all in one!

Last year was definitely a foundation building year with Educational Technology development, equipment acquisition and training for staff! We hit the ground running with 'Wired Wednesdays' for staff and really pushed the envelope across campus with Professional Development and injecting new ideas at any opening and showing the true power of Rigorous and Relevant learning!

Then, I attended @EdcampMarin #edcampmarin with @MrsRocheJSE and @CKolb01 for an amazing day of learning/connecting in Ross! We still talk about that day and the springboard that it launched in so many different aspects.

I met @mrsfadeji + @ecsaibel + @awesomecoachv + @kfostertweet and many more EduAwesomeAdmins that we continue to connect with on a daily basis.

During @EdcampMarin we learned about @NorthBayCUE and their upcoming event in Larkspur! I put this out to my staff and six teachers joined me for a great day of learning + sharing + collaborating that we still talk about today!

The connections made that day are still being felt and the learning that took place. @CAshleywilliams + @MrsFountain1 + @jenny_derby + @mbessonette and many more as well, love all your podcasting goodness on @audioboo it's so powerful and engaging for kids!

Keep up the learning, growing, sharing, blogging, tweeting and making it all exciting for kids!

Just an FYI about ALL our amazing John Swett teachers who are on Twitter and Tweeting......the ENTIRE STAFF, you can see their handles below!

TK -
Ms. Neely - @DNeely2590
Ms. Ficher - @MsFischerJSE

Kindergarten -
Ms. Hoy - @jsemisshoy
Ms. Wheeler - @s_wheeler1
Ms. Hull - @MissHullJSE

1st -
Mrs. Briscoe - @BriscoeJSE
Mrs. Djajaksuma - @MRSDJ_JSE
Ms. Williams - @MsKyWilliams

2nd -
Mrs. Lastrico - @mlastrico
Mrs. Alderman - @lilmissfish
Mrs. Gargaro - @AmieGargaro

3rd -
Mrs. Stephenson - @MStephensonJSE
Mrs. Navarro - @BNavarro_101

4th -
Mrs. DeWeerdt - @JenniferDeWeerd
Mrs. Wood - @Sarahwood712
Ms. Leonard - @MsLeonardJSE

5th -
Mrs. Roche - @MrsRocheJSE
Mrs. Kolb - @CKolb01

PE -
Mr. Crane - @jsepeguy

Music -
Mr. B - @tbonebusch

Learning Center -
Mrs. Lopez - @TeamJSE_LC

Principal -
Mr. Welcome - @jseroadrunners

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time Management #savmp

Time Management is huge for a site administrator, here's my list in no particular order!
  • Make your phone your computer during the day, must be mobile.
  • Utilize Evernote for as much as you can, makes you more mobile.
  • Be visible everywhere and as much as you can. You'll save time with discipline issues, answering teacher questions and interacting with students.
  • Build a great relationship with your Office Manager and then trust them 100%! Put them in charge of all Purchase Orders, your schedule, etc. 
  • If it's not something from district or have a deadline, and it's not linked to student engagement or pushing your school can wait. Focus on what directly impacts the kids/teachers in the classroom, that's where a school makes their money!
  • Get to school early and before anyone else arrives. Walk your campus first and then take care of all the 'office' stuff that needs attention, then you can be visible during the day and more mobile without being 'stuck' in your office.
  • Keep your desk clear of clutter/paper, if it's not in front of you it's not super important.
  • Have fun, we work with kids!

Monday, October 7, 2013

This Week With Jake

Communicating + Building Community #savmp

"How is school, how are things?"........"BUSY!" For all my Principal friends this is a common conversation at any point in the year, but it seems more so lately. The transition to Common Core is huge for everyone right now and then add everything else and it makes for a BUSY recipe.

The SAVMP program has definitely encouraged me to stay connected (with Peter DeWitt my mentor @PeterMDeWitt) and blog about the school year and how to grow as an educator. One of the biggest contributors to my increased communication as a Principal has been utilizing Twitter throughout the day. I started tweeting last year for our school (@jseroadrunners) and have really ramped it up this year and the increased level of communication with my teachers and parent community has been outstanding.

Thirteen of our twenty teachers are on Twitter and active users throughout the week. What's really struck me lately is they're not only communicating with the families in their class, but with each other throughout the day. 

- Taking photos and tweeting a fun science experiment or writing activity!
- Giving each other shout-outs or a RT on something fun!
- And of course I'm tweeting all their greatness throughout the day which is lots of fun and engages them and the parent community in a whole new way! (One of our 1st grade teachers said it very well in a tweet last week @KyreeW6) 

It's also so important to remember that the face to face communication cannot/should not be replaced (said very well by Peter DeWitt here!) This past weekend was the Martinez Education Fund 5K/10K race for Education. My wife and kids came with me to the Saturday night pasta feed and it was great to see families outside of school and be able to communicate in a different way. Yesterday morning was the race and it still amazes me how excited kids get to see their Principal/teachers outside of school and doing normal activities! 

It was a blast to run the race and of course I was tweeting before/after! (My wife won the 10K, I won my age group in the 10K and we were first in the double jogger category as well :)

Start line....

The Welcome family feeling good, two miles to go....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Team Kid #savmp

This mornings post began about PD and the Week 8 assignment.......then I began multi-tasking with my Twitter feed, the NY Times (government shutdown), school email, Audioboo, Feedly and other principal related duties that never sleep and everything shifted course.

I then checked the Patagonia Tumblr page for all their outdoor goodness and had a slight epiphany.

Is/was life easier before all this cool technology, ways to communicate, being available 24 hours a day, the nonstop emails, paperwork that doesn't go away or go anywhere, incessant questions about traffic and parking and other non-educational related topics?

I then go back to our motto at John Swett Elementary....... 'Team Kid!' This is our focus, this must be our focus, this is where our energy needs to go, to the kids.

What are you doing for Team Kid at your school? Wish the U.S. and California Department of Education would adopt this slogan, the kids would all be better off and more adequately funded.

This banner is from last year and we're in the process of updating with our new slogan for the year. 'Make It Happen on Team Kid....coming soon!