Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Setting the Tone #savmp

When I was hired as Principal of @jseroadrunners my first thought was to my childhood, Roger Craig and the SF Giants at Candlestick Park! We were huge SF Giants fans growing up and would go to 20+ games a year, my dad was a 2nd grade teacher so we had the entire summer to play! I can vividly remember Roger Craig and all the 'slogans' he had throughout his tenure as manager. His most memorable was 'Humm Baby' which carried the team to a NL Western Division title in 1987. Roger would say 'Humm Baby' in interviews all the time, it use to give me chills as a little kid. 

The Giants put 'Humm Baby' on t-shirts, hats, cups, license plate frames and even the rain tarp cover! Roger Craig and the SF Giants were Setting the Tone for the players, front office and of course the fans. 'Humm Baby' could be heard/seen throughout the stadium, it was an amazing motivator for anyone connected to the team! 

I'll be starting my fifth year as a Site Administrator (third as Principal, spent two as an AP) and we've had a 'slogan' that has Set the Tone for John Swett Elementary the last two years.

I wanted something we could put on banners, t-shirts, a hashtag and most importantly something that drove each decision we made about kids. If our educational decision didn't jive with our motto/slogan, it probably wasn't pro student and we needed to have more conversation.

Our first motto/slogan started with a video I showed staff the day before school three years ago. 'Finding Greatness' would be our motto for the 12/13 school year. We also decided that 'Team Kid' would ALWAYS be our motto/slogan at John Swett Elementary.

Last year we watched this video and our motto became 'Make It Happen on Team Kid.' (Whatever It Takes was a close second)

I can't tell you how many thousands of times I've heard staff, parents and kids say 'Make It Happen' or 'Team Kid' throughout the school day. Our Superintendent repeats them as well, now that is success!

The past two years we've decided on the slogan as a staff. I've already thrown out some ideas for the 14/15 school year and the new motto/slogan has seemed to fit, #rasiethebar. We're also at an amazing place as a school/staff which is driving Raise the Bar as well. In 14/15 we'll be Raise the Bar on Team Kid for John Swett Elementary, I can't wait!

Also, I'm not comparing being a Principal to a Drill Instructor in the Marine Corps, but this is a good article about setting the tone at MCRD!

Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Ways I Use Remind at John Swett!

Note - This blog was also posted on the Remind blog as well, thanks for reading!
Since I’ve started using Remind as a Principal, nearly my entire staff and colleagues in our district have as well. That alone shows the power of free mobile messaging with your class and school community.
As a principal, I’d like to share five ways all school administrators can and should be using Remind:
1. Keep staff up-to-date
Instead of having an emergency phone tree with my staff, we set up a Remind class just for them. Now I can reach them all in an instant for emergency notifications, or just to tell them how awesome they are. Try it out Administrators, it’s so much easier than a phone tree!
2. Inspire ideas for parent support
I’ve been loving the Attach feature in Remind. This summer, especially, I’ve been sending messages to my parent community with a picture attached that reminds all our students to READ over the summer break. I’ve had such amazing feedback from parents! There are some great visuals on Twitter and Pinterest showing how much a child can benefit from just reading twenty minutes a day. Find one of those and attach to your message, parents will be blown away and kids will pick up a book for sure!
Photo credit: For The Teachers
3. Keep parents up-to-date on school events
Parents who didn’t initially sign-up to receive my messages flooded the office after two weeks of my Remind messages. ” How do we sign-up to receive the ‘text’ messages from Mr. Welcome? We’ve heard how useful they are and I always have my phone with me!”
4. Unify the school and district community
Since I’ve started using Remind as a Principal, nearly my entire staff and colleagues in our district have as well. That alone shows the power of free mobile messaging with your class and school community. I also sent a Remind message that contained a Google Survey about our Remind messages. Feedback is so important, and we’re always looking for ways to adjust what we communicate about, parents want to be informed!
5. Quick, easy, and free
The obvious reasons: Remind is free – Remind is super easy – Remind connects your community – Remind keeps your community informed – Remind from your phone – Remind from your browser – Remind from your tablet – Remind today to be sent out later this week – Remind can embed on your website/blog – Remind can Tweet – #enoughsaid
Bonus: The New App
I’m really looking forward to implementing the new App that Remind just released. Parents will really enjoy being able to create an account to organize all the messages they receive. With multiple students at John Swett plus our Middle School using Remind now, that adds up to a lot of messages, and organizing will be key!
Late last year when the Attach feature was released, we started to dabble into what types of photos or documents we could add to our outgoing messages. Remind has upped their game and now provides a ‘read’ receipt for each message with an Attach, now that’s handy! No more excuses, we’ll know who read their messages and who didn’t, I like it!
Your school community wants to stay informed and Remind is my communication tool of choice, try using Remind today!