My Favorite Question

Update for Feb 1-5

Late last week, I had the opportunity to visit my daughter’s classroom.  Her teacher is hosting parents and community members who are willing to share something they are an expert at in life.  She is hoping to help the kids see how one becomes an expert at something and hopefully inspire the kids to want to learn more about at topic they are interested in learning.

I shared how to make pancakes since that’s something I do with Ally almost every weekend.

I know.

It’s not exactly what I had in mind either when it came to what expertise I could share.   We had fun nevertheless!

The night before I was supposed to come in, I told Ally I was going to be able to do an expert talk in her class.  She was surprised, but not for the reason I assumed.

“Are you sure you have time to do this, Dad, since you’re a principal?”

“Sure!” I said.

“What do you do all day anyways?”

*record scratch*

Now this is my least favorite question about being a principal and for many reasons (My favorite question is a little later).

I think teachers can relate, too, because how could we possibly describe what we do all day?

(Here’s someone who tries to help others understand:)



I’ve tried to actually describe what I do as a principal each day and watch as the eyes of the person who asked me glaze over and wish they had never asked me the question.

I’ve tried keeping it short, too — “I get to help people all day,” (which is true, by the way) and they kind of look at me sideways like, He’s not telling me the truth.

The truth is what I do all day is try to answer one question.

I believe we are all working to answer this question, we just may not have articulated it before.

I didn’t really articulate it before either until I read an Educational Leadership article called “Trust, But Verify”.

There was a powerful paragraph in the article that helped me articulate my new favorite question. I shared the passage with three of my colleagues earlier this week and here it is for you:



“As professionals, we’re expected to seek better ways of educating children.”

Pretty powerful, in my opinion.  We are all called to work toward this expectation. This is why we do what we do.  This became the inspiration for my favorite question:


“Can we do this better for kids?”



Have a GREAT week!

-Herb


Articles Worth Reading —

“Program leaders hope to help autistic kids express themselves https://t.co/dQo9wVzxpg via DispatchAlerts”

“5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently. https://t.co/ZGwYDX17Ek https://t.co/KDVDSvHZnS”

“This Is What a Student-Designed School Looks Like https://t.co/NxFapXPJ0A

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Video Worth Watching —








Upcoming Dates —

Feb 1 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Feb 2 — ADE Kindergarten Registration Day
Feb 2 — BIT Meeting, 8am
Feb 3 — ADE Staff Meeting, 8am — Topic – Follett Shelf
Feb 3 — “Open Office Hours” – After school in the Media Center — I’ll be available to discuss House Options & Project Timeline.  
Feb 4 — Herb Admin meeting
Feb 5 — Yearbook Sale Ends
Feb 8-11 February Conference Week 
Feb 10 — Conference Evening
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 16 — Teacher Steering Committee Meeting
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting



Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting

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Take it or leave it: My advice for landing an interview.

Update for Jan 25-29
We have the great fortune of having some wonderful pre-service teachers in our building this school year. Each has jumped at opportunities to get their hands dirty and to get as close to the real experience of running their own classroom.
On Friday, one of the pre-service teachers wanted to chat about the hiring process in our district.  This is a smart move on her part since there is, in my opinion, a lot of work involved in preparing for the upcoming hiring season.
So for what it’s worth, here is my advice to pre-service teachers:
What do you stand for? The go-to answer is and should be “kids”. But I want to know what your vision for education is. Where do you see us heading in the next decade? Most likely you’ll be in this profession for three decades — Does your vision reflect someone who recognizes the challenges of the day? Do you consider how learning has and will change?
Can you make me better? I hire candidates who will push our learning community forward instead of those who “fit in”.  Educators need to be exposed to new ideas – We want to learn and grow from those in our community. What do you bring to the table?
Where’s your stuff? The first thing I do when considering a candidate is Google their name, search for them on Twitter, and look at their posts on Instagram. If I can’t find you on any of these platforms, that’s a red flag. Yes – If I can’t find you on social media, that’s a red flag. I am a better educator because of the personal learning network I have invested in through platforms like Twitter and Google+.  I have no doubt you ha e done some amazing things in your life and with kids – Make it easy for others to find it. Start a blog, share an article that changed your practice, post a picture of learning in action — You are responsible for building your own brand. Start building it!

What’s your elevator speech? If you had 30 seconds to pitch why you are the best candidate, what would you say? What is going to grab my attention?
Can I see you teach? Record a lesson and post it to YouTube or Vimeo. Share the link with your reflections in the comments of the video. 
Do you have a life? Do you have interests, hobbies, or other experiences that connect you with others? The best ideas for curriculum come from living a life. Be ready to talk about how these experience helped you understand the learning process.
Are you for real? Don’t be anyone but yourself. Don’t be someone you think you should be. I know you want the job, but have faith that you will be where you are needed. My first interview was a mess. I followed the advice of an article a little too verbatim and looked like a doofus. My second interview went four rounds and came down to me and another person. The other person got it. I was frustrated but I kept faith in the idea that I will end up where I am needed.  Eventually I landed a classroom position that wasn’t even on my radar. I am who I am today because I kept a positive attitude towards opportunities.
Best of luck to all of the pre-service teachers out there! It can be a tough process, but have faith. Be resilient in the face of obstacles. Our students will need someone who will fight for them – The best way to know if you have what it takes is to fight for yourself.
-Herb
Articles Worth Reading —
A look at the research that made an impact in 2015, from the benefits of well-designed classroom spaces to the neuroscience behind exercise and math ability.

“How I Took Control Over My Own Professional Development”
@teachthought 
“How do you know when students are learning?” 
Upcoming Dates —
Jan 25 — Yearbook Sale Begins (Ends Feb 5)
Jan 26 — Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45 DCR
Jan 25-Feb 26 — Calkins Writing Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 28 — “Lunch and Learn” w/ J. Adams, 11:30-1:00. More details Tuesday PM!
Jan 29 — K-5 Interim Reports
Feb 1 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Feb 2 — ADE Kindergarten Registration Day
Feb 2 — BIT Meeting, 8am
Feb 3 — ADE Staff Meeting, 8am
Feb 4 — Herb Admin meeting
Feb 5 — Yearbook Sale Ends
Feb 8-11 February Conference Week 
Feb 10 — Conference Evening
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 26 — End of K-5 Grading Period

Serving Others & Making "Change Work for Us"

UUpdate for Jan 18-22


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Last year on MLK Day, I wrote about the energy of our words and how leaders like Dr. King continue to guide us towards a better world through words that were spoken decades ago.


I thrive on the words of others — Their ideas shared through blogs, videos, and Tweets make me a better educator.  But an idea isn’t much without action.


And Dr. King wasn’t just about ideas either — He was about action.  He was about taking steps to create a better future for all.  


When Dr. King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”, he was calling on all of us to take action towards making a better life for others.  He was asking us to commit to leadership in the form of service to others.


For me, it means to act in this time of rapid change in the field of education.  It means committing to creating a learning experience that lifts up the very best of what we have to offer as educators and connecting that to the interests, learning styles, and natural curiosity of each of our students.  It’s recognizing that we will never truly arrive and that we will always need to evolve with the world.  


Six years ago this April, the first iPad was released.  Think of how dramatically teaching and learning has changed within these past six years.  


Now consider that our kids are currently experiencing the worst technology they will ever know.


The writing is on the wall — Change is inevitable and it does not follow any rules, protocols, or timelines.  

What lies ahead in the next six years?


Last week, President Obama delivered his last state of the Union address to Congress and had this to say about change:


“We live in a time of extraordinary change — change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet, our place in the world. It’s change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families.
It promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists, plotting an ocean away. It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality. And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.
America has been through big changes before — wars and depression, the influx of new immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, movements to expand civil rights.
Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future, who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, who promised to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears.We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the dogmas of the quiet past. Instead we thought anew and acted anew.
We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more people. And because we did, because we saw opportunity where others saw peril, we emerged stronger and better than before.
What was true then can be true now. Our unique strengths as a nation — our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery, our diversity, our commitment to rule of law — these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.”

I am committed to making “change work for us” in education.

What actions will you take to move education forward?

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb



Articles Worth Reading — 


“What Teachers That Use Technology Believe” http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/technology/teachers-use-technology-believe/ via @teachthought


“Supporting Young Artists in Our Schools” by @staceygoodman http://edut.to/1W5v7WK


This is one of the better articles I’ve read in a while.  Well worth the read! — 

“You Don’t Need New Ideas, You Need a New Perspective” http://99u.com/52479 via @99u


Something to think about — 




Upcoming Dates —

Jan 19-Feb 29 — Scholastic Reading Inventory window (Grades 2 to 5)
Jan 20 – ADDC Staff Meeting, 3:45 – DCR Media Center: R-Factor Training
Jan 23 & Feb 20 — NUMATS (gifted) test (by invitation/recommendation only)
Jan 25 — Yearbook Sale Begins (Ends Feb 5)
Jan 25-Feb 26 — Calkins Writing Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 29 — K-5 Interim Reports

Feb 1 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Feb 2 — ADE Kindergarten Registration Day
Feb 5 — Yearbook Sale Ends
Feb 8-11 February Conference Week
Feb 10 — Conference Evening
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 26 — End of K-5 Grading Period

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Always Building

Update for Jan 11-15

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/30/102035155_696b3275fb_b.jpg

When I host families who visit our school for the first time, I treat it like I’m on an interview.  

One of my favorite education leaders, Todd Whitaker, says that induction starts with the interview.  This is my chance to sell our building’s culture and initiatives. When I tour with a family, I want them to experience our culture and I want them to know about what we are working on as a building community.

I do this knowing that the family might not even end up being a family that attends our school.  But there is something bigger at play here than a building tour.  

It’s about building our brand.  It’s about celebrating our accomplishments and our work.  It’s about connecting visitors to our culture.  

I do this because I believe we are Always Building Culture.

This Friday, I shared a note with our staff that a recent visitor sent to me. She and her family had toured Alton Darby in mid-December, just before winter break.

The family was planning on relocating from St. Louis and wanted to tour schools in the Central Ohio area before making a decision about where to relocate.  

Here’s what she wrote:



As you can see, the family decided to move to a different school district in Central Ohio, but I believe there was a reason why she took the time to write me and positive note anyway.  I believe it’s because I committed to helping the family experience the culture we have built.  

We may not have gained a family, but we may have gained one more person who will indirectly help us build our brand and our culture.  If she ever talks about her experience at Alton Darby, chances are she’ll share something positive.

As Tim Kight reminds us, the work we do each day “creates the culture that drives the behavior that produces the results” we hope for – Students who are ready to confidently take on any opportunity that comes their way.

Each of us plays a role in creating our building’s culture. Each of us drives behavior that produces results.  The tone we set through our actions has a direct effect on our culture.  

How are your actions supporting our district and building initiatives?  Are there actions you are taking that go against what we are trying to accomplish as a district and as a building?

Do you come to school each day ready to build?

————–

#ADCCulture Challenge continues this week!  It’s not a competition between others — It’s about challenging yourself to positively impact our culture and to connect with others. Have fun!

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb


Articles Worth Reading — 


How To Get Your Kids Interested In STEM (Without Forcing It On Them) (via @LifehackerAU) http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/01/how-to-get-your-kids-interested-in-stem-without-forcing-it-on-them/


An Educator’s Gift to Their Learners: Seeing Each One of Them http://wp.me/pKlio-25E via @jackiegerstein


How Showing and Telling Kids ‘I Believe in You’ Can Empower Them at School http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/01/07/how-saying-and-showing-kids-i-believe-in-you-can-empower-them-at-school/

Video Worth Watching — 

Upcoming Dates — 

Jan 12 — Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45, DCR
Jan 13 — Special Ed Team Meeting, 12:00
Jan 14 — Author Visit, Steve Harpster
Jan 18 — Martin Luther King, Jr Day — NO SCHOOL
Jan 19-Feb 29 — Scholastic Reading Inventory window (Grades 2 to 5)
Jan 23 & Feb 20 — NUMATS (gifted) test (by invitation/recommendation only)
Jan 25 — Yearbook Sale Begins (Ends Feb 5)
Jan 25-Feb 26 — Calkins Writing Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 29 — K-5 Interim Reports

Feb 1 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Feb 2 — ADE Kindergarten Registration Day
Feb 5 — Yearbook Sale Ends
Feb 8-11 February Conference Week
Feb 10 — Conference Evening
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 26 — End of K-5 Grading Period

My #OneWord is You.

Update for Jan 4-8


I aspire to be a servant leader for my students, staff, and community.

Greenleaf.org describes servant leadership this way:

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

I see this description through the lenses of three different stakeholders that all end up shaping how I try to carry out my role as a principal.

For my students, this means striving to evolve our practice to continue to support the learning journey of each of our students. It means recognizing the changes in our community, our state. our country, and our world and adapting how we develop learners.

For my parents, this means providing them with opportunities to not only gain knowledge about how they can help their child as a learner, but it also means helping parents connect with the school through fun.  We know parents want to be proud of our learning community and I believe school pride can be built through fun events like our Warrior Dash, Spring Concert, Art Show, and various other grade-level celebrations that take place throughout the year.  

For my staff, it means helping each and every one of you grow professionally. I do this because I believe Todd Whitaker is right when he says it’s not programs, technology, interventions, or furniture that makes a difference for our students — It’s people.  People make the difference for kids and always will.  It’s you who makes our school a great place to be.  It will always be you.

My #OneWord in 2016 is YOU, but it is bigger than that one word.  Because being a servant leader means your word is my word.  Your professional growth focus is my professional growth focus. Our kids’ dreams, curiosities, and aspirations are mine, too.

Happy New Year!  Now let’s go and make the world a better place!

At your service,

Herb


Articles Worth Reading —


How I’ll be learning in 2016 http://wp.me/p2KVKA-KL


Be a Change Agent http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5897 via @gcouros




If You Want Innovation, Start with Purpose | John Spencer http://sumo.ly/dVlb via @spencerideas




Upcoming Dates —


Jan 4 — Students Return; ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Jan 4-Feb 3 — Winter Literacy Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 6 — Staff Meeting, 3:45pm — Focus will be R-Factor Training presented by Boettner, Halley, and Raterman.
Jan 8 — ADE Family Game Night, 6:30-8pm
Jan 12 — Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45, DCR
Jan 13 — Special Ed Team Meeting, 12:00
Jan 14 — Author Visit, Steve Harpster
Jan 18 — Martin Luther King, Jr Day — NO SCHOOL
Jan 19-Feb 29 — Scholastic Reading Inventory window (Grades 2 to 5)
Jan 23 & Feb 20 — NUMATS (gifted) test (by invitation/recommendation only)
Jan 25 — Yearbook Sale Begins (Ends Feb 5)
Jan 25-Feb 26 — Calkins Writing Assessment window (Grades K to 5)
Jan 29 — K-5 Interim Reports


Feb 1 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Feb 2 — ADE Kindergarten Registration Day
Feb 5 — Yearbook Sale Ends
Feb 8-11 February Conference Week
Feb 10 — Conference Evening
Feb 12 — Parent/Teacher Conference Comp Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 15 — Presidents’ Day, NO SCHOOL
Feb 23 — K (AM) & 1st Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 24 — 2nd Grade (AM) & 3rd Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting
Feb 25 — 4th Grade (AM) & 5th Grade (PM) ½ Day Data Team Meeting

Feb 26 — End of K-5 Grading Period