In It Together

Update for Sept 29 – Oct 3

I don’t like to make promises, but I promise you I will try to show gratitude for the work you do for kids day in and day out. So let me start by saying thank you. Thank you for helping me throughout the entire week. Your help and support made a huge difference for me.

I have to be honest. Last week was one that took a lot of my time and energy. However, the best part of last week was actually how “busy” it really was. Last week helped me see that we have folks within our learning community who will step up and say, “How can I help?”.

It’s that kind of response to challenges and difficult situations that allow us to realize our potential for taking on future challenges.  I am confident that, together, we will be able to continue our work in creating a learning community that works for the kids we serve.

Thank you for a great week!

Reminds / Upcoming Dates —

EdCamp Logistics –
On Monday, I will be contacting students who have yet to turn in an EdCamp Session choice or students who will need to make a 4th choice due to sessions being full.  I hope to get session confirmations to student by Tuesday.
Data Team Dates –
We will be starting our half-day release times for Data Teams on the following dates:
·       Oct 22 – 5th Grade, half-day AM; 4th Grade half-day PM
·       Oct 23 – 3rd Grade, half-day AM; 2nd Grade half-day PM
·       Oct 30 – KG half-day AM; 1st Grade half-day PM (This is a switch in order to coordinate 1/2 time teachers’ schedules).

More information will be coming to you in the near future. I just wanted to get these dates out to you.
Interims – Oct 3
I would like for you to take this opportunity to communicate with parents how their child is doing so far with the material you are focusing on at this time in the year. Just like you, I believe that supporting the growth and success of each of our kids is the most important aspect of the work I do. Please turn your interims into my mailbox by Wednesday, Oct 1 so that I have a chance to review each of the interims.  I appreciate your support. Please see me if you have any questions.
Why is he in here? — 
I’ve had a couple of folks ask my why I am in classrooms nearly every day.  I appreciate that others may be wondering too, so I wanted to share with you my response.
The work that teachers do is the most important work that is being done within our learning community. Seeing the instructional best practices and strategies that are being utilized by teachers is the best way for me to support the work you do. It’s like checking the heartbeat of the building.
When I walk into a class and stick around for a bit, I always try to see things from the students’ perspective. I use a framework of four questions that I ask from the perspective of the child that helps me form an understanding of the learning experience:
  1. What is important for me to do in today’s lesson? (Learning Target)
  2. What​​ must I learn to be able to do it? (Lesson-sized chunk of content knowledge & skill)
  3. How will I be asked to show that I can do it? (Performance of understanding)
  4. How well will I have to do it? (Success criteria or “look for”)
Upcoming Dates –
Mon Sep 29, 2014
Submit items for BAC agenda to Herb by the end of the day.

Wed Oct 1, 2014
Interims due in Herb’s mailbox
12:30-1:30 Special Education Department Meeting

Thu Oct 2, 2014       
Mumkin Delivery
5:30pm – 6:30pm Market Day

Fri Oct 3, 2014       
K-5 Interims Due
Newsletter Home
8am – 9am Building Advisory Committee Meeting
After school – ? Setup for Warrior Dash

Sat Oct 4, 2014
Warrior Dash! 10:00am – 2:00ish (Grade-specific start times).  Here is more information about Warrior Dash — DASH INFO

Tue Oct 7, 2014       
8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg — Team members – Please be ready to share examples of PBIS in other buildings (A Google search will provide many examples).  We will be working on finalizing the “matrix”.  Thanks!

Fri Oct 10. 2014       
9:30-11:00am Kids’ EdCamp

Mon Oct 13, 2014   
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE
6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg
7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Thu Oct 16, 2014       
Spirit Day
6pm – 8:30pm Tailgate Party

Fri Oct 17, 2014        Central Ohio In-Service Day – No School for Students 

Videos That Inspire-


Articles Worth Reading — 

“What Our Fear Actually Inhibits”via +George Couros

“Lead with the heart” via

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Building Capacity to Lead

Update for Sept 22 – 26

This week was an amazing example of what happens when we allow ourselves to be creative in order to provide unique learning experiences for kids.

What we did as a learning community to celebrate International Dot Day was an act of brave creativity. We trusted each other to coordinate 900+ students into one large dot in the middle of the field we share with Darby Creek Elementary. I appreciate how we modeled for our students what it looks like to collaborate and create something that is bigger than ourselves. What started as an idea turned into reality because we were able to work together and recognize this was going to be a special moment.
What I hope each of you take away from International Dot Day is this —
  • If you want to try something new, go for it. 
  • If your kids want to try something new, tell them to go for it. 
  • When you have an idea that puts kids at the center of something that will deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them, go for it.

Give your kids and give yourself permission to take a risk and to try something new.
You never know what might happen.

Reminders/Upcoming Dates

EdCamp Logistics
·       If you haven’t sent home your copies of the “Kids EdCamp Session Catalog”, please do so on Monday.
·       Be prepared to collect session choices from students. It would be helpful to keep the choice forms in order as students turn them in to you.  You can send the choice forms down to the office each morning.
·       We will be entering the choice form information into a Google Form that will allow us to organize the information.
Data Team Dates
We will be starting our half-day release times for Data Teams on the following dates:
·       Oct 22 – 5th Grade, half-day AM; 4thGrade half-day PM
·       Oct 23 – 3rd Grade, half-day AM; 2ndGrade half-day PM
·       Oct 30 – 1st Grade, half-day AM; KG half-day PM
More information will be coming to you in the near future. I just wanted to get these dates out to you.
Interims – Oct 3
I would like for you to take this opportunity to communicate with parents how their child is doing so far with the material you are focusing on at this time in the year. Just like you, I believe that supporting the growth and success of each of our kids is the most important aspect of the work I do. Please turn your interims into my mailbox by Wednesday, Oct 1 so that I have a chance to review each of the interims.  I appreciate your support. Please see me if you have any questions.
Why is he in here? 
I’ve had a couple of folks ask my why I am in classrooms nearly every day.  I appreciate that others may be wondering too, so I wanted to share with you my response.
The work that teachers do is the most important work that is being done within our learning community. Seeing the instructional best practices and strategies that are being utilized by teachers is the best way for me to support the work you do. It’s like checking the heartbeat of the building.
When I walk into a class and stick around for a bit, I always try to see things from the students’ perspective. I use a framework of four questions that I ask from the perspective of the child that helps me form an understanding of the learning experience:
  1. What is important for me to do in today’s lesson? (Learning Target)
  2. What​​ must I learn to be able to do it? (Lesson-sized chunk of content knowledge & skill)
  3. How will I be asked to show that I can do it? (Performance of understanding)
  4. How well will I have to do it? (Success criteria or “look for”)
I look forward to being in your class this week and to the professional conversations that follow!
Upcoming Dates –
Tue Sep 23, 2014
Scheduled Team Time w/ Herb – Let me know if your team would like to meet during your planning time!

Wed Sep 24, 2014   
Biometric Screening – Preschool Conference Room
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE

Thu Sep 25, 2014       
Picture Day! (Gifted Classroom) – It’s Picture Day — a day of needed patience and organization. Please help the learning continue in the intermediate hallway by helping your students minimize the noise.

Wed Oct 1, 2014
Interims due in Herb’s mailbox

Thu Oct 2, 2014       
Mumkin Delivery
5:30pm – 6:30pm Market Day

Fri Oct 3, 2014       
K-5 Interims Due
Newsletter Home
8am – 9am Building Advisory Committee Meeting

Tue Oct 7, 2014       
8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg

Fri Oct 10. 2014       
9:30-11:00am Kids’ EdCamp

Mon Oct 13, 2014   
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE
6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg
7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Thu Oct 16, 2014       
Spirit Day
6pm – 8:30pm Tailgate Party

Fri Oct 17, 2014        Central Ohio In-Service Day – No School for Students

Articles Worth Reading –

“Before You Move Onto the Next Big Thing… | The Principal of Change”

Smiling So Much It Hurts

Update for Aug 15 – 19


This story is one of those stories that we live for.

IMG_20140912_144015788.jpg  


Last Friday morning, Mrs. Kim Dornburgh, a 3rd Grade teacher at Alton Darby, came to me to ask a favor. With a smile, she gave me her “Dream” bracelet that our Superintendent, Dr. Marschhausen, had given to all Hilliard City Schools staff.  I was confused for a second – Was she turning in her dream?


Kim told me that her student had seen me wearing my “Dream” bracelet and said, “When I grow up, I want a dream like Mr. H”.  Without hesitation, Mrs. Dornburgh recognized a great opportunity to lift this student up.  


Kim had it all worked out.  She would give me her bracelet to give to her student when he was least expecting it.  I agreed, but only if she would email Dr. Marschhausen to let him know about the story.


So on Monday, as I am talking with a teacher in the hallway, I see Dr. Marschhausen walk by. When I caught up with him, he told me he received an email from Mrs. Dornburgh about her student wanting a “dream” and wanted to come by and drop off a bracelet to her.


What happens next is one of those moments that we live for.


A little later, I got the bracelet from Mrs. Dornburgh and went to find her student who was working in another room. I found him and asked him to come out into the hallway.  I told him that I had heard about his conversation with Mrs. Dornburgh about wanting “a dream”.  I showed him the extra bracelet and said, “I’m giving this to you so that when you wear it each day, it reminds you to work hard to make your dreams come true.”


He stood up a little taller, his eyes lit up, and his smile went from ear to ear.  


What happens next is one of those moments that we live for.


Here is what Mrs. Dornburgh shared with me about what happened next:


I had the opportunity to share my “Special” students story with my classroom.  I did not know how they would react.  


As it turns out, when we went to the gym for PE, “A-” was a minute or so late and this is what transpired.

Student: “Hey ‘A-’, what’s that on your wrist?”

‘A-’: “A bracelet like Mr. Higginbotham’s.”

Other kids: “Wow, ahhhhh,  cool, Can I see?”, etc.

The entire class surrounded him with love and support.


40 minutes later… “A-” was still smiling.  He hugged me and said, “My face hurts”.


I said, “Are you OK?”  He said,  “Yeah, you smile a lot when you are so cool… My friends think I am cool.”  


This is one of those moments we live for.


Moments like this happen every day at our school. We live for these moments and need to celebrate them and share them with anyone who will listen.


What stories will you share?



Upcoming Dates —


Monday, Sept 15 — International Dot Day! *See email for details — Staff members should wear your new Gold 212 shirts.


Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:45-12:00pm CO Building Visit

Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE
Thu Sep 25, 2014 Picture Day (Gym)


October
Thu Oct 2, 2014
Mumkin Delivery
5:30pm – 6:30pm Market Day

Fri Oct 3, 2014
K-5 Interims Due
Newsletter Home
8am – 9am Building Advisory Committee Meeting

Tue Oct 7, 2014
8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg

Fri Oct 10. 2014
9:30-11:15am Kids’ EdCamp

Mon Oct 13, 2014
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE
6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg
7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Thu Oct 16, 2014
Spirit Day – Wear your favorite team gear!
6pm – 8:30pm Tailgate Party

Fri Oct 17, 2014
Central Ohio In-Service Day – No School for Students
Video That Inspires –



Articles Worth Reading –


A Two-Gear Construct for Envisioning Blended Learning | Edutopia http://edut.to/1qtxSSu




How can we all keep the kindergarten spirit? http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/10826  via @8Amber8

Recovery in Education

Update for Sept 8-12

This week’s update is a guest post from Mr. Thom Wendt.  Please let me know if you are interested in being a guest blogger.  We are a community of learners and I would love to share your story of learning.



If you walk the planet for very long, you will be recovering from something.  We recover, or are in recovery, from hardships like ailing parents, the loss of a mother, a sick child, the loss of a pet, a rejection from a date, a lost game, a financial setback, a disappointment in a friendship, unspeakable hurts, and countless others.  We are creative beings and can learn a great deal from how nature creates, recreates and recovers itself in some of the most fascinating ways.  Life’s blessings and hardships allow us to experience our ultimate creation; ourselves.

As I approach 35 years of experience in education, I reflect on how my career has been created over time.  How in the beginning I was not aware of what I did not know, and as a result, I had less stress about the work I was doing.  I did not know that I did not know what needed to be done to leave my mark, or make a difference in the life of a student or colleague.  As I reach departure from a career that has encompassed a great deal of my identity, I realize that by the time I became efficient in knowing how to do my job, the time has come to check out of my profession according to the rules.  Now in my final year, every day a comment or observation is made about my retirement.  It is bittersweet, as I recreate how I will continue to teach, lead, serve, or survive.

I may joke about my age or experience, but seldom see myself as old.  My friends and family shake their heads that I single-handedly moved six ton of of gravel one day this summer with a wheelbarrow and shovel, and wanted to go for a quick slalom water ski afterwards.  It is my goal to leave knowing I owned every second that this world could give.  I know hard work (bullheadedness) is in my DNA from watching my father as a farmer and laborer in gainful employment for 72 years.  My father is like the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree.

 I recently discovered the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree and realized the lessons it can provide us, as we are mere infants in comparison.  The Bristlecone Pine is the oldest single living organism in the world.  They live in California and one has been dated to nearly 5,000 years old.  It has been alive since before the Pyramids and 3,000 years prior to the time that Jesus Christ walked the Earth.  They only live in the harshest of conditions.  Freezing nights, hot days, little rain, barren soil, pelting sandstorms: all are a requirement of their success.  They attain a great age not in spite of their harsh environment, but becauseof it.  A harsh environment is what turns a regular Bristlecone Pine Tree into an Ancient one.  The dense and resinous wood created by the harsh conditions make it resistant to disease and fire, the two great killers of all trees.  The only way to become an Ancient Bristlecone Pine Tree is to go through harsh conditions.

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine – The California Environmental Legacy Project



On a much smaller scale, I have witnessed how as educators, we have at times endured great challenges and hardships.  And as I look over my career and the school experience my sons have endured, I see some scars and gnarled practices.  Like personal recovery, the audacity of hope is what sometimes sustains us to face the next day.  As I observe where we are headed, I would rename “educational reform” to “educational recovery.”  Moving toward innovation, student interest, the whole child, teacher autonomy, shared leadership, collaboration, relationship building, the arts, recreation, and the joy in life long learning, allow us to recreate and recover what lead us to our passion in teaching.  

All those initiatives have been present, in our DNA, and in some cases, laying dormant.  They will emerge in a new form like fresh flowers in spring.  Like Death Valley, even a little rain will allow dormant seeds to recover and survive for awhile in the harsh environment.  So we must bloom where we are planted and embrace the beauty in recovering what lies within and ahead.  I will move on to a new season.  You will carry the torches of those who have left before you, and leave your mark.  We may be a million miles from a million dollars, but no one can spend the wealth we have co-created in touching the lives of children.

Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk captures so much of what I have witnessed and value in our profession.  It will reaffirm what you already know to be true about what is gnarled and what constitutes a recovery or rebirth!

Sir Ken Robinson, How to Escape Education’s Death Valley


Thom Wendt is an Intervention Teacher at Alton Darby Elementary.

Up-coming Dates

Mon Sep 8, 2014
Mumkin Sale Ends
Team Time with Herb – During your team’s planning time. 
This is voluntary, so please let me know if you would like to meet at this time.

6:30pm – 7pm PTO Executive Mtg
7pm – 8pm PTO General Mtg

Tues Sep 9, 2014
9:00am – 10:00am Mrs. Shively’s students’ Community Outing
Data Team / IAT Process Overview Meetings for 5th, 4th and 2nd Grade Teams during your planning time.

Wed Sep 10, 2014
Data Team / IAT Process Overview Meetings for 1st and 3rd Grade Teams during your planning time.


Fri Sep 12, 2014
Mumkin Orders due

Mon Sep 15, 2014
International Dot Day!
Teachers help me out put the color shirt for your grade level in your newsletters next week. We can wear our new staff shirt. We will start calling grade levels at 9:15. 
Fifth will lead followed by fourth, third, second, and first and then Kindergarten.

Wed Sep 17, 2014
10:15am-11:30am District Building Visit

Fri Sep 19, 2014
Mumkin Order Money due

Wed Sep 24, 2014
3:35-4:20 ADE/DCR Staff Meeting at ADE

Thu Sep 25, 2014
Picture Day


Thu Oct 2, 2014

Mumkin Delivery

5:30pm – 6:30pm Market Day


Fri Oct 3, 2014

K-5 Interims Due

Newsletter Home

8am – 9am Building Advisory Committee Meeting

Mon Oct 6, 2014
Global Read Aloud begins! — Click here for more information.

Tue Oct 7, 2014
8am – 9am Building Improvement Team mtg

Fri Oct 10. 2014
9:30-11:15am Kids’ EdCamp