Thursday, August 15, 2013

The rock, with moss, in the river #leadershipday13

Time and again whenever I meet with Principals they always ask, how do you spread the usage of technology across your campus, so fast and with so much depth? Unfortunately there isn't a formula for all admins to follow and then reach their desired outcome. My analogy has always been about the rock, with moss, in the river! I believe in absorption and those around you (teachers) soaking up the goodness that you feed throughout the school day. 

- Don't tell your teachers they should blog with their class, the principal should start a blog for the school and be the author. 

- Don't tell your teachers they should Tweet, the principal should Tweet to parents and all the great learning that is going on in your school. Marketing + marketing + marketing!

- Don't tell your teachers to use voice (Podcasting) with their students, the principal should make announcements, interview students, pump up the school spirit across campus.

Then, after a couple of months.....the rock, with moss, in the river starts to digest all the goodness that is around them. Teachers start asking questions and you start a Wired Wednesday PD time after school for just fifteen minutes twice a month to show teachers how to set up their own blog/Twitter/AudioBoo account. Teachers start teaching each other and the excitement grows exponentially. And finally, a teacher approaches you about doing ALL of these things with their kids and they want your permission. Permission? Success!



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Being Together Before Needing to Be Together #SAVMP

The 'before kids arrive' time of year is so much more fun and exciting than the 'when kids are gone' time after the last day of a school year for me as a Principal. Teachers are always on campus and around before the first Professional Development Day/Work Day, but having 'all' staff together is very rare.

For two straight days our ENTIRE staff was together for an optional Writing Strategies workshop that produced amazing feedback, team building, excitement to be back and we were all together before needing to be together! I'm excited about this time with staff because it puts us ahead of the game with seeing each other again, telling stories about summer, planning curriculum with colleagues and of course team building with each other.

Thank you Roadrunners for all your hard work and dedication! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Educational Hymn of a Tiger Principal?

I read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua about a year ago and just got the book back for a friend who was borrowing. There were MANY parts of the book that I really enjoyed and agreed with, and many ideas from the author that I would not utilize with my own children or students at school. (The return of the book has gotten me thinking again)

With that being said we're two weeks away from starting school and (my fourth year as a site administrator) I'm constantly thinking about Rigor in our school. If you've read the book you understand the level of Rigor the author employed with her own children, and the results they achieved as well!

Many thoughts are circulating as we plan for the year.

  • What will be the long term impact of Common Core?
  • Are we anywhere near the level of Rigor that is needed for todays world?
  • What projects/skills are being used in school that are not Rigorous or Relevant?
  • How much Rigor is too much, so important to find the balance. 
It's actually a great read and will make you mad and laugh and question what you're doing. Recommended reading to all Principals trying to move their school forward, will change your mindset and arouse many questions!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Vision + Philosophy of Education #SAVMP

My vision is for EVERY Roadrunner at John Swett is to be connected, constantly thinking about thought provoking questions, developing a deeper appreciation for the natural setting of our campus, teachers bringing their classes outside to learn with their devices and parents continuing to support the school and their child!

I want to be collaborating with 4th/5th graders on their own Google Documents, and visiting their own Google Sites where they present their digital projects. I want teachers to be comfortable with 'letting' go of their classrooms, and asking students for technology help if needed and appropriate!

I want learning to happen anywhere anytime and for my colleagues and teachers to start talking about ideas that garner funny looks. (Usually I'm the 'radical' thinker and get the 'alien' look from people) The world has/is changed/changing and our schools for the most part have not. 

When I became an Assistant Principal my goal was to be the Un-Assistant Principal. Same thing happened with my Principalship, I strive to be the Un-Principal.....not doing the job like it 'has' been done or like everyone else is doing was/is always the goal. Our world is different, we want teachers to be different, students to be different, the leader MUST be different, way too much status quo.

Innovation innovation innovation!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Why Do I Lead #SAVMP

Elementary school has always been a part of my life since I 'went' to school with my dad at an early age. My father taught 2nd and 3rd grade for just under forty years and it was always such a treat to go with him and hang out with the big kids. Seeing the excitement my dad had for teaching and learning always stayed with me as I grew up and thought about a career.

The conversations with my dad as I got older stayed with me as well, especially when I was fortunate enough to have my 'own' classroom of 5th graders at the age of twenty-four.

  • "Only kind words allowed"
  • "Work hard and be nice to people"
  • "Talk to kids like they're people, not like their kids"
  • "Ask lots of questions"
  • "Make sure you smile and have fun Adam"
  • "Be creative and try new things, even if people look at you funny"
As my career progressed and thoughts about administration came around, my dad was still teaching and his former principals folded into the conversation. 
  • What makes a 'good' principal?
  • What type of leaders did my dad have throughout his career?
  • How come dad never looked to administration?
Then, the opportunity came.....I was fortunate to become an Elementary Assistant Principal and my dad surely gave me input on what type of leader I should be, and that he knew I could be. I wanted to be that administrator/leader that my dad never had during his teaching career. 
  • Always supportive of teachers.
  • Spoke with kids like they're people, not kids.
  • Be visible in classrooms .
  • Have fun and show people you're having fun!
Then dad lost his long battle with cancer and I lost my mentor/friend/father. Then a very short time later, I was fortunate to get my first Principalship and I truly believe I'm making my dad proud! 

I lead for many reasons, and the biggest influence on my leadership was/is my dad!

Thank you to @gcouros for starting this #SAVMP program! Already excited about the leadership reflection that has happened, and for all the learning to come!