Within You

Update for Mar 28-Apr 1

Today during Easter service, our pastor discussed how big moments don’t necessarily change everything immediately. He talked about the fact the Resurrection didn’t change that the Romans ruled the Holy Land. He also connected that argument to current events such as the presidential race or the terrorism in Belgium.  

The sermon made me think about a quote from Steve Jobs during a commencement speech at Stanford University in 2011:

Big moments take time to have a lasting effect that changes our world; this could be argued for any religion.  In many ways, the changes and impacts our various faiths have on the world continues to happen but at a pace we are not used to.  

One reason that was offered up today is that whatever our faith is, we could all agree that it is a deeply personal connection that happens within us.  

Therefore, the change we expect to see actually happens much slower than we anticipated because it has to live within each of us first before change begins to take shape.

For me, the two messages from Dr. Anderson and Steve Jobs have similar implications for what I do in my role as principal and I hope they connect with you in the work that you do.

First, big moments often don’t make sense in the moment, nor can they predict what will immediately happen next.  They do, however, make sense looking back when you are reflecting on progress you have made.

Second — and this one has been a big one for me for the past 5 years — Whatever I believe in my heart is right for kids has to happen within me first before it can happen through me.  

Try as I may, this is something I experience almost as much failure as I do success; but I am deeply committed to making what I believe come through in what I do each day, in every single interaction, and in every single moment.  

I’ve found out that this is increasingly challenging for folks in roles like mine — Apparently people pay close attention to every word, mannerism, body language and expression I exhibit! But I am not letting that deter me because I know that getting this right is a personal mission worth investing in.

As we gear up for the remaining months at school — and the energy level from the kids that comes with it — I challenge each of us to reflect on two thoughts.  

First, how do the big moments that have happened to you this year resonated with you? How have they changed you?

Second, what is it you believe is right for kids and how you are going about making that happen?  How are you bringing others along? Are your actions pushing others away? 

Is what you believe and what you have reflected on happening within you?

Have a GREAT week back from break!  Let’s do this!


Articles Worth Reading

Eight Big Ideas Behind the Constructionist Learning Lab — http://stager.org/articles/8bigideas.pdf?utm_content=buffere8a1c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Learning Before You Innovate http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6154 via @gcouros — This one is worth reading closely!

 Average’ gets his ire up http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/03/average-gets-his-ire-up/ via @harvard  —

A quote from this article:

“I care a lot about people finding their own path, and I think the world’s a better place if we let people figure out their passions and what they’re good at and give them the knowledge and skills to do that, but our education system isn’t designed to do that — it rounds you out and makes you interchangeable with everyone else.”

This is why we are doing what we are doing!  Because passion and interests matters for kids; because “rounding” kids out is not an education system built on personalization.

Funny Video from this Weekend —

I love the theatre of politics, and this year has been a blockbuster in that regard!  If you haven’t seen this moment yet, check it out! (This is not an endorsement; it’s just something I appreciated):

And of course, the Internet reacted:


Only in America!

Upcoming Dates —

Mar 31 — Staff Olympic Trials – Throughout the day; more details to come
Mar 31 — Kindergarten Parent Workshop, 6-8PM

Apr 1 — Class Pictures in Gym; Staff Picture, 8:40AM, Location TBD
Apr 4 — School Community Meeting: “Press Pause, Get Your Mind Right”
Apr 4 — PTO Meeting, 7PM
Apr 5 — Herb meeting out of building AM
Apr 5 — BIT Meeting, 8AM
Apr 5 — Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45, ADE
Apr 6 — ADE Staff Meeting: R-Factor Training – R4
Apr 7 — Herb meeting outside of bldg AM
Apr 8 — KG to Franklin Park Conservatory
Apr 12 — 3, 4, 5 ELA State Testing (AM)
Apr 12 — Connection Time w/ Herb (Email-Schedule limited due to testing)
Apr 12 — Tech/Media Planning day w/Teams
Apr 13 — Spec Ed Team Meeting, Noon
Apr 13 — RTI Team Meeting
Apr 14 — PD w/ Dr. Donna: “Connecting Classroom Language to Student Success”
Apr 15 — School Community Meeting: Walk-a-thon Kickoff
Apr 19 — 3, 4, 5 Grade Math State Testing
Apr 20 — ADDC Staff Meeting, 3:40 ADE Media Center
Apr 21 — 4th Grd (Soc St), 5th Grd (Sci) State Testing
Apr 21 — Herb Meeting AM
Apr 22 — Interims Go Home
Apr 27 — ADE Walk-a-thon (during related arts time)
Apr 28 — Transfer Meeting


“Words": The First Ingredient of a Culture Recipe

Update for Mar 14-17

This is not a political statement – It’s a hypothesis about the effect our words have on others.

I’ve always been a believer in the power of words.

Lincoln, King, Lennon and McCartney continue to inspire me: Lincoln for his prose like style speeches seen in the Gettysburg address and second inaugural address; King for his oratory style that evokes emotion and hopefulness; and Lennon and McCartney for their ability to rapidly evolve their music and lyrics.

Last Friday, I was mesmerized by the live images of a rally in Chicago for presidential candidate Donald Trump because of how quickly it was getting out of control and becoming uncivilized. However, I wasn’t surprised and here’s why: I believe that leaders set the tone.

I believe that Tim Kight is right when he talks about how Leaders establish the Culture that influences Behaviors that get certain Results.  I also believe that the words we use and the messages we send directly influences the culture we are trying to build. When I think about some of the themes and rhetoric of the Trump campaign, I would say that much of it has been focused on exclusion, blame, and fear.  Those themes created the culture that influenced the behaviors that resulted in the violence we saw in Chicago on Friday.

Last Sunday evening, I got to take my kids to see the new Disney movie Zootopia

First, it’s worth the price of admission.  It has all of the elements a good Disney movie: great characters, funny scenes, and an engaging story line. Second, it and has a wonderful message about perseverance, acceptance and being aware of our biases and stereotypes. The writers did a great job of developing those themes without slowing the movie down for kids. 

I went into that movie not really knowing much about it, but I did know that I could expect there to be a positive universal message — That’s the result of a culture that has been built by Disney.

I come away from this weekend with two reflections.  One reflection is actually just another reminder that our words and the messages they send matter. They drive the culture we are trying to build.  

The other reflection is that we need to surround ourselves with words, messages and people that support and affirm Above the Line behaviors.  We need to work to find away to push out negativity or find t’s source so that it can be addressed.  

The next time you find yourself reacting out of anger, frustration or suspicion, press pause; think about what’s really going on.  Slow down and get your mind right because how you react and what you say next contributes to the culture we are trying to build and get the results we seek.  

Be a builder! 


Articles Worth Reading

Validating the Learner and Nurturing their Passion for Learning https://shar.es/1Y0hqF

The biggest regret from a 41-year career in education reporting (and a lot more) wpo.st/TYdL1
Why Every Student Needs a Teacher Champion  — THIS IS A VIDEO I WATCH AND RE-WATCH TIME AND TIME AGAIN!!!
Middle School Maker Journey: The Making of a Mantra by :

Upcoming Events

Mar 15 — Hilliard U Day — No SCHOOL (Students)
Mar 16 — ADDC Staff Meeting, DCR Media Center 3:45
Mar 17 — Elementary Student Transfer Request Forms Due
Mar 18-24 — Spring Break — NO SCHOOL
Mar 25 — Holiday — NO SCHOOL

Opportunity or threat?

Update for Mar 7-11

What’s new or different can be perceived two ways: An opportunity or a threat.

New ideas, new people, or new places can cause folks to think about what’s possible or what’s avoidable.  

When you go to an event, birthday party, wedding, or get-together  and walk into a room full of people, do you find yourself thinking “I wonder who I’ll meet?” or “I wonder how fast I can get out of here?”.  When faced with a new challenge or idea, are you thinking “Oh yay!” or “Oy vey…”?

I know that I have to be mindful of how I am perceiving the “new”. My perception shows in my facial expressions, my body language and what I say.  If I want my staff, parents, and students to think “opportunity” instead of “threat”, I need to model the behavior I hope to see in others. I have to remind myself to think “I get to” rather than “I have to”.

Some opportunities cause us pain, heartache or frustration, but we have to remember it’s all a part of life — There’s always a lesson in the pain.  We need to learn from each moment, good or bad, in order to continue to get better at life. Thinking of life’s events as opportunities rather than threats can help us accomplish this.

Here’s to new opportunities this week! 


Articles Worth Reading

Interest-Based Electives: Engaging Students With STEAM Explorations http://edut.to/1PZWznV

20 Strategies for Motivating Reluctant Learners http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/03/03/20-strategies-for-motivating-reluctant-learners/

Innovation To Best Practice http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/12331

Upcoming Dates

Mar 7 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7pm
Mar 7-11 — OLSAT (Gifted), Grades 1 to 5 by recommendation
Mar 9 — Special Ed Team Meeting, 12pm
Mar 9 — Spring Concert, 7pm, Bradley HS — Rehearsal at Bradley in the AM.  Details will be shared soon via email!
Mar 10 — PD Series w/ Dr. Donna: “Discovery Approach”, 3:45 at DCR
Mar 15 — Hilliard U Day — No SCHOOL (Students)
Mar 17 — Elementary Student Transfer Request Forms Due
Mar 18-24 — Spring Break — NO SCHOOL
Mar 25 — Holiday — NO SCHOOL