“The Unimportance of Everything”


We’re at that point in the school year when “everything” seems important and urgent.

Emails, phone calls, meetings, lesson planning, progress reports, behavior — Put all of these together and you describe everyone’s upcoming week.

But if everything is urgent and important, how are we supposed to prioritize what we deal with first?

The answer is we can’t and the reason is because not everything is important.

None of the things I mentioned above happen all at once — We just spend our time thinking about them all at once, which makes us feel like “everything” is important right now.

Think about most of the events or stuff that happened to you last week where you thought it was the most urgent, important, news-breaking thing happening in the world.  I bet you’re like me and in looking back you realize that almost 100% wasn’t as urgent as you thought.

Take time this week to remind yourself that the most important thing happening is how you are choosing to respond to your events.  Give yourself permission not to react without thinking about what’s going on first.

Slow down.  Breathe.  Relax your shoulders. Focus on how you can leverage the “best you” to get the positive outcome needed in the situation.

Remember that not everything is important — Stay present in the moment.  Stay clear about what is essential so that you won’t get trapped by what is not essential.

Have a wonderful week!



Issue 58 Update —

As Dr. John mentioned this week in his State of the Schools address, it is our time to make a difference.  As a team, we need to step up and take action to be sure that everything is covered for the levy efforts.  We all have many things on our calendars but we need to be sure to make time for the students in our district.

November 5 is the last Lit drop – Pick up time is between 9 – 11 am at Heritage. I hope we have a huge ADE turnout to help!

Articles Worth Reading

 Upcoming Dates

Oct 31 — Hilliard Trick-or-Treat Night, 6-8pm

Nov 1 — KG Data Team day

Nov 2 — 1st Grade Data Team day

Nov 3 — 2nd Grade Data Team day

Nov 4 — November Newsletter; get items to Carla before Thursday!

Nov 5 — Lit Drop; pickup at Heritage MS from 9-11am

Nov 6 — Daylight Savings begin

Nov 7 — 2nd Grade Culture Show, 2pm in Gym

Nov 8 — Election Day; No School for Students — HILLIARD U DAY!!

Nov 9 — ADE Staff Meeting, 8am; 3rd Grade AIR Test, Part 1 (AM)

Nov 10 — 3rd Grade AIR Test, Part 2 (AM); 5th Grade Data Team day

Nov 11 — Hilliard Veteran’s Day Parade, 7pm; End of 1st K-5 Grading Period

Nov 16 — Spec Ed Team Meeting, noon; RTI Team Meeting, 3:30

Nov 23-25 — Thanksgiving Holiday, No School


“Working The Gap”


Last week, I wrote about “the edge” — The point where you can either give up or push forward; the point where you realize that failure is likely to happen.

This week, I had the opportunity to hear a Brian Kight talk about Building Skill at the last Community R-Factor meeting.

“Growth mindset”, “the power of ‘yet'” —  We’ve heard time and time again that being willing to have an open mind to new situations makes us learners who are eager to want to learn something new and to build new skill.

Brian Kight’s focus for the evening went deeper than this though.  Kight’s message emphasized the mechanics and the emotion it takes to move from being Automatic (Good) to Exceptional (Elite).

Here’s a summary of Kight’s message on the difference between Good and Elite:

Good = Comfortable, automatic, where 80% of people perform.

Elite = Exceptional, learning mindset, where few people choose to perform because they think it’s too much work or too risky.

Think back to the first two years of your teaching career (or to the first teaching experience you had if this is your first year). Think about the excitement you felt each day because everything was new and how that excitement is different now that you have experience. I know that we all still get excited about teaching, but the excitement is for different reasons. As experienced educators, we spend more time excited about a favorite unit or lesson and less time excited about learning something new.

See the difference? With experience, we exchange the excitement of learning something new and trying something that puts us way out of our comfort zone for the comfort of the familiar.

Which of the two descriptions match the energy level and curiosity need to be “Elite”? Which description match what is needed to be “Good”, comfortable and automatic?

This is why most of us, whether it has to do with our job or something that has to do with our personal life, resist change.  Resisting change is a reaction to having to walk away from the experience we have built over the years. That experience took hard work and, over time, has granted us comfort.

Seeking comfort is not necessarily bad. It could be argued that it’s human nature to seek comfort.

However, we also need to recognize that the world is ever-changing and because of that we must adjust.

Go back to the feeling of resistance to change.  Let’s say you agree that this resistance is a natural reaction — You’ve worked hard to build the skill that has given you the experience necessary to be successful.

How do you convince yourself to accept that our world changes whether we like it or not and that we too must change?

When I think about how I would respond to this question, I think about what it was I did to get where I am now. 

What did it take for me to reach my goal of being a building principal?

Hard work.



Facing adversity.

What has been needed of me to perform as a building principal?

Hard work.



Facing adversity.

So, what is it exactly that I would be giving up if I embrace change?


I’ve realized that “change” is just an opportunity to learn something new using skills that I have gained through experience.

This not only provides me with comfort, but it helps me take on new challenges.

This is how I need to approach work that is in the “Gap” — The space between Good and Elite.  I need to have a Beginner’s Mindset and view the world and work I do with fresh eyes and with excitement.

We have very little to lose staying “Good” at what we do; we also have very little else to gain.

Let’s commit to being Exceptional at a skill or habit that directly impacts the work we do for kids.  Let’s get great at change and work hard in the Gap between Good and Elite!

Have a GREAT week!


Articles Worth Reading

Upcoming Dates


24 – Design Team Meeting, 8am at DCR; State of Schools (Darby), 6-9PM

25 – 3rd Grade Data Team day; FIRE DRILL, 2:15pm; State of Schools (Davidson), 6-9PM

26 – 4th Grade Data Team day; ADDC STAFF MEETING, 3:45 at ADEState of Schools (Bradley), 6-9PM

28 – BAC, 8am if needed.  Please send your agenda items to me or Karen O by Wednesday!

31 – Hilliard Trick or Treat night



1 – Building Improvement Team meeting, 8am; Kindergarten Data Team day; RIMP Deadline; SLO Deadline

2 – 1st Grade Data Team day

3 – 2nd Grade Data Team day

5 – Lit Drop, pick-up lit at Heritage MS between 9-11am

7 – 2nd Grade Culture Show, 2pm

9 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am

10 – Mental Health and Wellness Team meeting, 8am; 5th Grade Data Team day

16 – Spec Ed Team meeting, 12 noon; RTI Team meeting, 3:30pm

22 – 5th Grade Talent Show, 1:20-2:20

23-25 — Thanksgiving holiday


Click here for the Elementary Assessment Calendar for 2016-2017.




Board of Education Meeting – October 24, 7pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – October 27, 7:30pm at Tharp

Community Information Meeting – November 7, 7:30pm at Station

The Edge



By the 11th mile, I was done.  The tank was empty.  My legs felt like cement.

Yet, there were two more miles to go. As I rounded the corner ready to push through the rest of mile 11, the road before us was one long incline.


By this point, I had already failed one of my two goals I wanted to meet during my first half marathon — There was no way I was going to finish in 1 hour and 50 minutes.

My other goal was to finish the race without stopping and now I had this inclined road in front of me, taunting me to just start walking or give up all together.

This was my Edge.  This is where I could choose to let the situation break me or when I could choose to push through this next unforeseen challenge even though my body felt maxed out.

At the top, a friend who was watching the race with the other spectators saw me and yelled out, “How are you doing?  You got anything left in the tank?”

I was clear in my answer: “Nope!”.

“Come on, man! This is it!  You need to get faster each quarter mile at this point!”.

Strangely enough, this encouragement worked.

This pushed me completely out of my zone for what I thought I was capable of doing.

I found what little energy I had left and pushed through the last mile and helped me achieve my goal of finishing the race without stopping.

My “edge” was pushed further ahead of me as a result of finishing the race.  I knew the minute I crossed the finish line all of the things I would do differently in my training to get the results I wanted.

I know for certain that would not have happened if I hadn’t pushed myself past the edge.

So, how often do we find ourselves at the edge of something when we are ready to just give up or give in to less than desirable results? 

How are we training our minds to overcome this response?

How can we get better at facing unexpected challenges?

For me, it’s intentional practice and it’s accepting feedback when I know I need it to keep pushing.

Each day I know I am going to be faced with challenges at school.  I know that there will be predictable Events and many that are unpredictable.  To prepare for this I focus on two skills everyday:

  • I remind myself, everyday, that Pressing Pause and thinking about the Outcome I desire is a skill that I need to continuously strengthen.
  • I remind myself, everyday, that I need to listen to what others are saying — Not hearing what they are saying, but listening to what they are saying.  I work hard to do what Stephen Covey calls listening “with the intent to understand”. This in turn is feedback for me to be a better leader.

Building skills into habits is hard work.  It takes intentional practice everyday.  It pushes you to the Edge, but with the right mindset and the willingness to be open to feedback, you can eventually turn skills into productive habits.

Have a GREAT week!


Upcoming Events

Oct 17-20 — Conferences; Late Night is Wednesday.  PTO will be providing dinner!

Oct 19 — Spec Ed Team meeting, 12 noon

Oct 20 — Fire Safety Awareness assemblies (see email from Joanne); Music Enrichment Show, 1:20-2:20

Oct 21 — COI Day; No School for students.

Oct 25 — 3rd Grade Data Team day

Oct 26 — 4th Grade Data Team day; AD/DC Staff Meeting, ADE Media Center, 3:45pm

Oct 28 — BAC Meeting, if necessary

Oct 31 — Trick or Treat Night in Hilliard

Nov 1 — RIMPs due; SLOs due; BIT meeting, 8am; KG Data Team day

Nov 2 — 1st Grade Data Team day

Nov 3 — 2nd Grade Data Team day

Nov 6 — Daylight Saving day

Nov 8 — Election Day/Hilliard U Day!

Nov 9 — ADE Staff Meeting

Nov 10 — 5th Grade Data Team day

Nov 11 — Veterans’ Day; End of first grading period.

Nov 23-25 — Thanksgiving Holiday!




Managing Your Space


Our R-Factor training tells us that we are in control of our own 20 square feet.  When we take care of our own space, we then positively influence the culture that connects us all.

So what happens when problems, issues, and other stuff start to crowd your space? 

What do you do when it’s hard to move in your space?

You have to Step Up.

Stepping up means to Respond in the moment. 

The Past is over – There’s nothing you can do about it.  The Future hasn’t happened yet, so you are only left with Now. 

The Dalai Lama puts it another way:


So if we commit to Now, we begin to clear out the other junk that is taking up our space. 

When have have the space within our own 20 square feet to move around, we become better thinkers, decision-makers and doers.

We have to remind ourselves of the following, each and everyday, in order to maintain our 20 square feet:

  • Let go of what happened in the past; learn from mistakes or bad memories, but don’t let them control you.
  • Don’t fear the future — Most of the time what actually happens is ten times better than we had anticipated.
  • Respond to predictable Events with actions that are intentional and aim to change the pattern.  If your Response doesn’t change, the Outcome won’t change.
  • Waste no time on blaming, complaining, or defending.  Bring a solution-focused mindset to the challenges you face.

Redefine what’s possible.

Manage your space with intention, purpose, and with skill.

Have a GREAT week!


Tweets Worth Checking Out —




Upcoming Dates —


10-14 — Gifted Testing; Spirit Week –>


10 — PTO Meeting, 7PM

14 — Chapter 1 Craft Moves book talk starting in S. Firestone’s room at 8am

15 — AD/DC Warrior Dash, Starts at 4PM.  We need help! — Sign-up HERE

17-20 — Fall Conference Week; Late Night is Weds, Oct 19.

18 — Literacy Framework Refresher Course @ Britton, 3:45

21 – COI Day

24 – State of Schools (Darby), 6-9PM

25 – State of Schools (Davidson, 6-9PM

26 – State of Schools (Bradley), 6-9PM

28 — BAC Meeting — Agenda items to Karen O by Wed, Oct 26.  If no items, then no meeting is necessary.

Click here for the Elementary Assessment Calendar for 2016-2017.



Board of Education Meeting – October 10, 7pm at Bradley High School

Community Information Meeting – October 11, 7:30pm at Crossing Elementary

Community Information Meeting – 13, 7:30pm at Bradley High School

Community R Factor Training – October 16, 7pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – October 18, 7:30pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – 20, 7:30pm at Davidson High School

Community R Factor Training – October 23, 7pm at Darby High School

Board of Education Meeting – October 24, 7pm at Darby High School

Community Information Meeting – October 27, 7:30pm at Tharp

Community Information Meeting – November 7, 7:30pm at Station