"We had fun at school today!" #CultureMatters

Update for Sept 14-18


“We had fun at school today!”

This is a statement I know as a parent I hope my kids come home and say after school.  Last Friday, I think my staff – the adults in the building – were the ones who went home and said this to their family.

We did our first Friday Staff Olympics last Friday and it was a blast!  After being challenged by Brent Wise and Scott Morrison to do some sort of team building activity for my staff, I designed a simple but fun obstacle course using a few cones, a seat scooter, a trash can, cups, a giant inflatable ball, and a reception bell.

“If you build it, they will come.”

I created a video overview and sent it out to the staff the day before to build up the anticipation.  We could compete before school, during lunch and after school.  We could compete individually or as a team as long as it was relay-style.  We needed to time how long it took us to complete the course.

I was amazed at how different the day felt because we were doing something fun for ourselves.

  • Teachers chose to work in teams instead of doing the course individually. What’s that say about our attitude towards teamwork!
  • Most people hung around on Friday after school (Yes, on Friday, after school!) to compete; but they hung around to cheer on each other as well.
  • We worked together to figure out who would do which part of the relay, recognizing strengths and trusted each other to get the job done.

Most important was that we fed positive energy into the culture of the school.  The culture of any organization is important to its success.  As Todd Whitaker and Steve Gruenert write in School Culture Rewired (2015), 

Culture conveys to its members what they ought to celebrate, ignore, or anticipate. (Gruenert & Whitaker, 2015)

Culture is part tradition, part mindset, and part celebration. I feel like a large part of my role is to work to support these three components because, as Whitaker and Gruenert also point out, Leadership is everything.

Everything that happens in an organization reflects the leadership. (Gruenert & Whitaker, 2015)

This school year we will no doubt face challenges because, well, every school year brings new challenges. It’s just nature of the important work we get to do each day.  I am determined to continue to create opportunities to celebrate the successes that will help propel us forward and that feed our culture with positive energy.

Have a great week!


Articles worth reading

“Four Strikes and You’re Out” — Fun math game by Marilyn Burns you can play with kids.

“Change The Conversation–It’s Not About The Thinking” — Good article on the change process.

“Turn Traditional Units of Study into Deeper Learning Experiences” — Article that reflects the kind of work we moving towards doing with kids.

“The Power of Letting Students Figure it Out” — Who is doing most of the work in the classroom?  If it’s you, why?

Videos worth watching

This is a good interview with Austin Kleon about how dreams come true when you focus on a process of creating something.  It’s a long one, so watch it when you have a moment.  Kleon’s book “Steal Like an Artist” is a great short read.  I have a copy if you’d like to borrow it.

This one is just because it’s funny…

Upcoming Dates

Sept 14 – PTO General Meeting — Staff: Don’t forget to sign-up to host a snack and join us for the PTO Meeting!  See Jillian for more information.

Sept 15 — Teacher Steering Committee meeting, 3:45-4:30pm, ADE Media Center

Sept 16 — Parent EdCamp/Curriculum Night! 5:30-7:00pm;  see Heather or Herb for more details.

Sept 17 — Admin Meeting (Herb)

Sept 21 — Staff Development Day – No Students; Agenda to come…

Sept 23 — ADCC Staff Meeting, 3:45 ADE Media Center

Sept 24 — Picture Day

Sept 30 — Staff Meeting, 8:00am; Mumkin Pickup 4-7pm

Oct 5-9 — Fall Conference Week, Conference Night is Oct 7.

Oct 5 — PTO General Meeting, 7pm

Oct 6 — Building Improvement Team meeting

Oct 10 — Community Cardboard Challenge, ILC/Scioto Darby Campus, 9-12pm


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